Grooming policies in your Spa/Salon

From hairdressers to beauticians or from new to existing businesses, the rules can vary when it comes to grooming policies. Grooming guidelines can become an issue if not addressed properly, and ultimately reflect on your brand. In a way, there is no right or wrong, as it all depends on what you allow within your business. However, there are 5 key elements you should consider to ensure your salon’s image is at its best.


The Branding

It all comes down to the brand image you have, or want to create: Will you be strict? Relaxed? Will you have a particular uniform? Allow your employees to wear what they want? Modern? Old fashioned? Traditional? What colours does your brand represent?

In hairdressing, things are a lot more relaxed, from clothes to tattoos and piercings. A hairdresser has more freedom regarding grooming standards.

In the beauty industry, things tend to be more traditional and slick. It’s tradition to have your hair tied back, display hardly any piercings, and hiding tattoos is more or less the norm. However, over the past few years, there has been a shift in how strict rules have become and as a salon owner, you must be careful not to discriminate who you employ or have employed. It’s all down to the clients you have or want to attract (what will they find acceptable?).

Remember that it is your brand that you are projecting. Small details like tattoos and piercings can make an impact on the customers’ perception of your salon or spa.

Quick Tip | Do you ever look at your team the way your clients do? Get a mystery shopper in and ask them about the uniforms and what they see.


The budget

The budget you set for uniforms can be what defines who wears what. For example, a beauty salon might decide to supply the tops, but not the pants as there is an extra cost to that: “Supply your own black trousers”.

While this method does work for budget purposes, the idea of black trousers is very different for every person and next thing you know, you have leggings, black jeans, etc. So, again, can your brand be represented in such manners?

It’s important that you link the budget you set for uniforms to what your brand wants to give as an image. Make sure you review this budget every year, as uniforms will need changing from time to time. There is nothing worse for your salon or spa than to be represented in dirty uniforms.

The Procedure Behind Grooming Policies

Whether you are a hair or a beauty salon, you must establish your grooming policies.Mention if you are strict, relaxed, don’t mind tattoos, piercings, or don’t want any of that. A simple explanation of what you expect from your staff regarding grooming should be written down in your SOP manual.

Make your employees read your procedure and sign it. You want them to be aware of what is acceptable and what isn’t. For instance, even if you accept tattoos and piercings to a certain extent, think about if you have a limit in mind? What is not acceptable? Your procedure must reflect your thoughts. If you don’t take this simple measure, you are leaving the door opened to everything.

Quick Tip | You can put the grooming guideline as a part of the contract which makes the reinforcement of it a lot easier. And don’t forget to be as specific as possible regarding tattoos and piercings.

If you already have uniforms in your salon, specify how many your staff is entitled to, add in your request for them to be clean and ironed (you will be surprised how this is the most common issue) and what your staff is responsible for when caring for a uniform. For instance, do they have to pay for a new one themselves if they are misusing them?

For those who have managers, you must also have a procedure for them. What do you want your manager to wear and how do you want them to represent your brand? What is acceptable and what isn’t? In all, a simple grooming procedure facilitates the communication and ensures your team meets your standards.


The interview process

The best time to introduce grooming policies is during the interview. To talk about uniforms, tattoos and piercings straight away ensures that potential staff members know what to expect. They will understand the importance you give to your salon’s image and you can consider their understanding as a verbal contract as such.

Ask your applicants if they have something to say about your policy, tell them they will be signing a grooming guideline procedure – make it a big deal. If they don’t agree with your policies, you best know now. If they have a tattoo behind the ear and you want them to put their hair back at all time, discuss your policy on it.

For example, one of the staff issues I’ve had to deal with on behalf of a client, was when someone decided to put contact lenses that made her look like a cat. As a very relaxed hairdresser, she had a point. No one had ever told her anything about staff grooming. Be careful and set limits even if you don’t see the necessity for it.


The follow-up

Whether you have a new business, you’re about to open, or you’ve been opened for 20 years, if your policies aren’t applied, you’re allowing any issue to happen. For example, if the tattoo behind the ear was a no go and you made sure your staff knew during their interview, then you need to make sure your standards are met. I have seen staff (especially in Hotel Spas) where employees can’t start work without first seeing a manager who checks if their overall appearance meets their requirements. Grooming is that important to them.

To once again take the tattoo behind the ear example, if it appears and you have no procedures in place, then you don’t stand much of a chance at getting your employee to hide it. With a procedure, however, you can reinforce it and potentially put that staff member on performance management (after 3 strikes). You can then follow that up with disciplinary actions, if needed.


In all, it’s human nature to defy your boss and try and see how far you can take things! If you are not on it, they won’t be either. Set your expectations straight away, and you will be the one with the upper hand. Remember that staff grooming policies are meant to represent your brand and how your customers perceive it. To ensure your salon’s image is at its best, you must make your grooming policies a priority.


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer, Judge, Coach & Mentor

Become Commercially aware


The mindset paradox

I want to feel good everyday, of course I do.

But there are some days when I look at everyone enjoying themselves on social media and having a better time than me and it gives me a sense of pressure that I should feel good all of the time....

So how can I overcome that and change my mindset?

I mean, I read all the books, listen to podcasts of some amazing mentors, public speakers, ted talks and sit on seminars of motivational speakers, but there are some days where I just can't change my mindset or don't know how to.

I have 2 daughters and as they grew up, by the time I got to work I had done ½ day already...

I remember the guilt when my daughter, who was probably around 7 years old, told me whilst eating her cereals as I was doing my make up, packing their lunch, ensuring that they had their clothes ironed, and listening to my oldest daughter talking french for a homework that was due, and I quote: “today mummy, I am going to be a Greek goddess!..”

Her cute smile sends a knife to my heart, smiling back at her with a mixture of panic and stress, thinking to myself, Valerie you really need to make sure you read the school notes!....

Not wanting to disappoint my gorgeous girl and having snapped back at her “can you remind mummy about these things next time you little 7 year old you?” (it’s a lot easier to shift responsibility at this stage than trying to admit to myself that I have missed out....), not wanting to resign to the fact that I might be loosing that one, not wanting to look at the clock as I know it's 7.30 am and we need to leave in 15 min, I run to the cupboard, find a white sheet, cut the middle of it, enough for my daughter's little head to fit in, frantically find a belt and ta dah, a greek dress is born.... add a three flowers,  take a ruler and create the most brilliant (if I may say so myself) sword with aluminium paper... the ruler/sword is placed in the belt, et voila: a Greek ghost looking goddess with yellow flowers and an aluminium sword is ready to go!....

I am truly unsure if a greek goddess is meant to have a sword, never mind an aluminium one, but at this stage, she was so happy that I didn't care, I got away with it!.... As a teenager now I am sure it would be a different matter...

Off we go, school gates, feeling guilty from looking at other children with amazing elaborate costumes of definite greek goddesses, commuting at rush hour (say no more) and trying not to be late, I get to work and on the way to my cupboard of an office (it was a cupboard with no windows and no air), I have 12 conversations that add 12 things on my 80 to do list of priorities....

I have yet to have coffee nor to even take my coat off, that I am greeted with stressed managers and demands.  

Now don’t get me wrong, as a senior manager or owner, you need to be able to handle all sorts, but understand that it’s 10 am, I have been up since 5.30 am, haven't even had time to think about my mindset and would have double dared anyone to ask me to seize the day and be the best that I can be, because by then, it's not the day that I wanted to seize!

I am not against any of this, it's important to listen to these talks and do everything you can to change your mindset but what I am saying is that some days, it purely adds to the pressure I already feel.

Sometimes I wake up and the sheer volume of things that needs to be dealt with doesn't make me smile... being in a business managing staff and operations can be lonely, difficult and stressful... I don’t want to go and feel the grass, I don’t want to smell the roses, I have enough on my plate thank you very much...

I feel that over the past couple of years, the wellness industry has generated a great positive impact on the way we behave, from being far more aware of the food we eat to the exercise that we take on.

I know now, having older children, that it is important to look after yourself but it is equally as important to set yourself realistic and measurable goals as it generates less pressure upon how to change your mindset.

Sometimes we are victims of things that are out of our control and have to deal with them somehow, and that is ok because it becomes your priority at that point.

Sometimes, we have down days and it is being able to recognise those and let them go as it will not always be like that.

Throughout the years, I found that the more I created habits to fall back on and taken control of my time, the more I could create better days for myself and those around me.

I learnt that a mindset is cultivated from the thoughts you generate but also from the processes you have in place, as small as they are, because in the long run they will make a difference to the bigger picture and your wellbeing.

I yearned to understand how to change my mindset and realised that it is important to take some time out of your day or situation. I do that with my 15 minute power nap or close my eyes time to switch off from everything and everyone around me (try it, it's amazing, at first set an alarm then your body will need just that to recharge).

The 3 Ps: Plan, Prepare, Present was taught to me a while back and I apply this to everything I do.

Planning generates less stress (greek goddess and all), prepare reduces difficulties and present allows your to communicate better to those around you and yourself for that matter. 

Creating a mindset for yourself can be difficult, as much as changing habits, but it is the small details that will make the bigger picture in the end.

Thanks to all my time management and procedures, I now have time to feel the grass and smell the roses and appreciate it, but the days I don't feel like it, I don't beat myself up about it, I don't look at my social media as everything is planned and scheduled so it runs itself but most of all I know that I have solid foundations to fall back on, so never feel guilty about feeling down anymore and able to let that day go to start a better one the next.

As well as procedures and habits, consistency needs to become your best friend when you want to change your mindset. Be consistent at being kind to yourself and the changes that you are making....

In the meantime, I read all the school notes that were handed in, never got to have the most elaborate costume in the school however..... I think that deep down I prefer an aluminium sword made from a ruler......


The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones
— Confucius


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Judge, Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer & Coach for the Beauty Industry

Become Commercially aware