broken beauty standards

Industry • Perspective

3 Subtle Ways Your Salon Can Challenge Broken Beauty Standards

Infuse every aspect of your salon with your most important values — your current and future clients will take notice.

Across the salon world, the conversation about beauty standards is constantly evolving. Diversity is front and center as the beauty industry collectively investigates how issues of race, ethnicity, class, ability, gender, and sex and sexuality all coincide in the services we provide. 

For your salon to act on that inspiring conversation, it must broadcast inclusivity, from the services you provide to the curated art in your space and the magazines you offer to the models you choose to feature in your portfolio. Make sure your salon celebrates bodies of all sizes, people of all races, and a myriad of gender expressions, for a start. Here are three subtle ways to do more than pay lip service:

Check the art in your space — and research who made it, too.

Your salon decor sets the tone of the space — you know that already, or you wouldn’t have invested so much in making the room look just right. Take a second to assess the art hanging on your salon walls. If you’ve decorated with professional beauty photography or even shots of your own team’s styling work, take stock of the models that are featured. Do they represent a diverse community of people? Will everyone who steps foot into your salon be able to find themselves in one of the examples of beauty you’ve framed with pride of place on the wall? 

These are important considerations, but not all salons opt for framed photography when it comes to decorating. If you’ve gone more of an abstract route, stop to think about what artists you’re featuring in your space. Have you supported women artists, artists of color, or LGBTQ+ artists in your choices? There’s endless room for interpretation here; even if your aesthetic is stark and minimalist, diversify your retail shelves. The point is to look for ways to make all your clientele — current and potential clients alike — feel welcome, seen, and beautiful.

Who doesn’t love a waiting room magazine? Someone who isn’t represented.

The same goes for small touches like the reading material you stock in your waiting room. There are plenty of glossy magazines that cater to specific communities of fashion and beauty readers, and even some mainstream publications that have made public commitments to reimagining what it means to be beautiful with an eye toward diversity. Revisit your library to make sure you’re not accidentally implying that all beauty only looks one way — that goes for hair, makeup, and nail salons too.

If a picture speaks a thousand words, what story does your portfolio tell?

Lastly, take time to bring that same dedication through in your own work. Whether you feature a collection of snapshots on your website for potential clients to peruse or offer current clients inspiration books with styles to choose from, invest in a well-rounded portfolio. When someone flips through photos of your work and doesn’t see themselves pictured, that’s valuable information. 

That person may assume you’ve never worked with someone who looks like them before, or they may come to the conclusion that you just don’t see their most unique and special features as beautiful — either way, it doesn’t reflect well on you or on the experience you’re trying to provide. 

Paying attention to the salon details that frame the services you provide and the work you do is a powerful way to subtly challenge broken beauty standards. You’ll be drawing a line in the sand about what beauty means to you and making a bold statement about who’s really welcome in your salon.

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