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What is a Salon?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A salon is a facility which offers beauty services. Salons provide a wide array of services to men and women, and they can be found in many regions of the world. Growth in the salon sector tends to be constantly expanding, as more people grow interested in beauty services and new services are developed to expand the existing customer base. Employees at a salon, known as aestheticians or cosmetologists, depending on the types of services they offer, usually require a license from the government in the area where they work.

Some salons prefer to focus on a specific type of services. Hair salons are a classic example of this. At a hair salon, customers can get hair cuts, hair color, and various hairdressing services. Salons in urban areas may also focus on hair of a specific ethnicity. African American hair, for example, cannot be handled in the same way that Caucasian hair is, and salons which specialize in Black hair care do a brisk business in areas with an active Black community.

Salons can also specialize in services such as nail care, skin care, and so forth. Others offer a more wide array of services, allowing people to come to one location to satisfy an assortment of beauty needs. Services at a salon can include manicures and pedicures, facials, body wraps, body polishes, waxing, hair threading, makeup, and beauty consultations. Salons may also offer tanning, for people who want to maintain a deep tan during the months when the sun isn't available to do the job.

Spa services may also be made available at a salon. Spa services can include massage, along with spa treatments such as mud baths. High-end spa/salons may provide packages which allow people to purchase a bundle of services for an event such as a wedding, with some spas allowing wedding parties to take over the salon for a day to get an array of beauty services before the wedding. Wedding packages may also be available at smaller establishments, along with packages for birthdays and beauty parties.

Salons operate in different ways. Some lease out “chairs” to their employees, with each person in the salon actually working as an independent contractor who makes rental payments for the chair to the salon owner. The lease may come with access to a reception person who answers the phone and takes appointments, and the employee is expected to bring equipment and supplies beyond the basics to the salon for work. Other salons pay their employees an hourly wage or make payments based on the services they've provided to customers within the pay period.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By discographer — On Mar 21, 2014

@turquoise-- Salons are now taking up more and more of the services offered by spas. My spa used to only do manicures, pedicures and waxing. Now they also do facials, body wraps and massage. I actually like this because I usually try to get multiple treatments in the same way. It's nice to be able to take care of my waxing, manicure and facial all in the same day.

By turquoise — On Mar 20, 2014

@ddljohn-- A spa offers services like massages, skin treatments for detox and weight loss, facial treatments and various therapies. A spa usually has multiple treatment rooms, and things like saunas and pools.

A salon provides services like manicures, pedicures, waxing, hair cuts and simple facials and massages. Sometimes the services of the two overlap, but they are different businesses with different facilities.

When I go to a salon, I want my manicure and pedicure done as soon as possible so I can leave. But if I go to a spa, it will usually be an a half-day or all day event.

By ddljohn — On Mar 20, 2014

What is the difference between a salon and a spa?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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