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


Build staff and client loyalty

Generating staff and client loyalty is key to building a long lasting brand that everyone wants to be a part of.

Most of the time we're so busy with the day-to-day operation we tend to lose sight of the goal we had set. The message gets lost and with it your staff and customers.

It's important to take a step back and look at the 5 aspects of the business which will generate loyalty for your brand:

1: Define the vision and the mission

A vision is the goal you're setting for your business, the mission is how you will achieve that goal.

The clearer the vision, the clearer your brand becomes. People cannot fall in love with something that only exists in your head. Create a vision for the year and define a mission per quarter. Make sure your staff and customers are included in that vision.

2: Who are your customers and who do you want to attract?

It's important to really understand your database so you're able to target your marketing. This way the message you're sending out will be a great deal more focused on those specific customer groups which will in turn increase conversion.

3: Consistent message across all your platforms

Too many messages KILL the message. By defining your strategy you'll be able to keep a monthly theme. The way you deliver the content may differ in accordance with the platform you're using but you must ensure you do not confuse the customer with too many varied topics.

Each month you should think: what is my theme and what can I create around it for each platform? (Platforms: Social media, website, emails, text and in salon)

4: Manage your ORM (Online reputation management)

Is how you deal with each of the reviews or comments about your brand. Keep professional, remain positive and ensure you create a way to manage them daily. This is one of the most important aspects of the day to day running of your business.

5: Your opinion matters

If you adopt the mentality: “your opinion matters” you can create brand loyalty from both staff and customers. 

Generating loyalty goes way beyond the loyalty card, it's a mentality you adopt by being very clear about your goals. I was offered a loyalty card the other day but was not asked how my treatment was - what is the point of that?

By not assessing whether or not I enjoyed my experience their marketing effort becomes pointless.

Passion breeds passion, vision breeds communication. The clearer your passion and communication, the more you generate loyalty.


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

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

Become Commercially aware