How to Create a More Inclusive Salon Environment  

“Gender-free pricing and gender-free consultations are a must for our industry to usher in a new era of inclusivity and gender-affirming practices within the hair world,” says Jamie DiGrazia, Sam Villa ambassador, Redken artist, owner of Logan Parlor Salon (@loganparlorhair), and founder of Hair Has No Gender (@hair_has_no_gender). How salon professionals craft their messaging and train their staff is vital to creating safe beauty spaces where everyone feels not only heard, but safe, seen and celebrated. 

DiGrazia spoke in-depth about gender-free pricing in the latest issue of AHP Indie Stylist magazine; read it here

For a collective take from DiGrazia, Sam Villa (co-founder and chief creative officer of Sam Villa and global artistic ambassador for Redken), and other hair professionals on gender-free pricing, head to the Hair Has No Gender website

So how can salons join the movement? DiGrazia offers the following tips: 

1. Pronouns—To ensure everyone feels safe, supported, and advocated for, simply ask the salon team and clients to share their gender/pronouns as often as they'd like. Pronouns change and expand in the queer community; offering the space to share helps normalize the practice. There are many places to share personal gender pronouns and ask for someone else's: 

  • Digitally on the salon’s website and in the booking system, on social media, and on email signature lines. 
  • In-person at the salon or over the phone when booking an appointment, ask for names and pronouns. Salons and stylists may also offer and wear name tags or pronoun pins. 

2. Gender-free pricing—Basing a service menu on factors such as time, cost of goods, technique, or hair length can be more convenient for booking, maximize your schedule, grow your customer base, and most importantly, allow clients to feel safe, seen, and celebrated. 

3. Gender-affirming consultations—There is a time to have gender-free consultations to see hair shape for just what it is, gender aside, and there is also a time to have gender-affirming consultations. Only the client can decide to share how they would like to express their gender through their hair; creating a safe space for them to communicate is key. Gender expression plays a huge factor in hair, and each person can only share what that means to them. This will be unique to each guest—it’s important to keep an open mind and encourage creative freedom from social constructs for both the stylist and guest.   

  • Honor and offer pronouns—A stylist should share their pronouns first so the guest knows how to address them, and asking a guest how they would like to be addressed will ensure a comfortable experience for everyone.  
  • Gratitude—Giving thanks for the opportunity to serve a guest, for their business, or for a referral goes a long way and establishes rapport for the stylist-client relationship.   
  • Practice active and deep listening—Active listening requires a stylist to listen attentively, understand what someone is saying, respond and reflect on what's being said, and retain the information for later. This keeps everyone engaged in the conversation and it's an essential building block for a trusted professional relationship. Consider sitting eye level and not talking through the mirror to create more connection and so a guest will feel comfortable opening up about what they want for themselves through their hair.  
  • Consent—Ask questions such as, “Can I ask you a few questions so I can offer you some suggestions?” and “May I touch your hair now?” 
  • Gender-inclusive language—Use gender-inclusive language while talking about the shape of the hair and when offering compliments.  
  • Suitability—Focus on the three elements of shape: perimeter, silhouette, and texture, and ask open-ended questions about each for clarity and to determine options. Ask thoughtful and inspiring questions to connect and collaborate, such as: 
    • “How do you want to feel, what vibe are we going for?”  
    • “What do you want to enhance?  
    • “Is there anything you want to see less of?” 
    • “Do you have any inspiration photos or references of styles you can share?” 
  • Offer a professional opinion—Not only on the creation of the style, but on styling with tools and product/treatment suggestions as well. It’s important for guests to understand how to maintain and recreate their style from home. 

DiGrazia says it’s also important to advocate! 

  • Call your state representatives about your state's gender discrimination bills.  
  • Research and vote in all elections, both local and federal. 
  • Donate or fundraise for human rights organizations. 
  • List businesses on the Hair Has No Gender Service Finder here
  • Sign the petition to include textured hair in state board cosmetology testing standards here

Creating more inclusive imagery is also important—the above model was cut with a Sam Villa Signature Series Razor (straight and texture blades). 

  • Straight graduation of the sides, top, crown and back 
  • Scooping graduation in the nape 
  • Trimmer over comb on the sideburn area—carve in a hard bold line to disconnect 

“Artists take requests to help serve someone's gender expression through hair, however they envision it…what an honor,” says DiGrazia. Learn more about Hair Has No Gender here.

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