The ultimate guide to choosing a hairdresser uniform

Whether or not to wear a uniform for work is something that every hairdresser has asked themselves at one time or another. On the one hand, it can make things more straightforward as well as making your team instantly recognisable. The other side is trying to choose a uniform that works for your entire team and keeping on top of it.

Let’s take a deeper dive into how to choose the right hairdresser uniform for your business, so that you can decide whether it’s the right choice for you and your team.


Why do you need a hairdresser uniform for your salon?

There’s absolutely no rule that says hairdressers have to wear a uniform when they’re at work, but it can make things easier from a professional and practical perspective. It means less mess on your own clothes (and let’s face it, hairdressing can be a messy job), a professional appearance and less hassle for those in your hair salon who don’t want to choose their own clothes every day.

A uniform can help you start to build a brand for your business, especially if you’re mobile or your salon space isn’t quite as visible as you’d like it to be. It can also look more professional and put-together, especially if your team don’t all have the same personal taste or style.


Benefits of wearing a uniform as a hairdresser

Thinking about introducing a uniform but you’re not sure what the best reasons are to start wearing one. Here are a few of the benefits of a hairdressers uniform.

Uniforms can look more professional

As a professional hair stylist, you want to convey that image to your customers. While you can lay out a dress code for the salon, it’ll always be open to interpretation (from your team and customers alike). What’s appropriate for one person might be completely different for someone else.

With a uniform you can maintain that professionalism and leave the client with no doubt about the services you offer and what you’re here to do. It promotes a positive, clean and professional image. That’s not to say that you’ll look unprofessional without a uniform, but having a uniform can make this part way more straightforward.

Helps to build a brand

In an industry that’s all about image and confidence, your salon uniform can be part of that. From the colours, logo and branding that you use through to the style of uniform, it can make a real statement about your business. If there are a lot of other salons in your area, sometimes focusing on your brand can be a key differentiator for your business.

This is also important if any of your team decide to attend trade shows, take part in competitions or attend industry events. By providing them with a uniform, they’ll automatically be showcasing your business alongside their expertise—in turn, this helps to highlight your brand.

Takes any confusion out of what to wear

As we’ve already mentioned, even the seemingly clearest dress code can sometimes seem to be open for interpretation. People will want to wear their own personal style, and this can erode the professional, put-together appearance of your brand. Plus no-one wants to feel like they got it wrong at work or wants to feel like they don’t fit in. Everyone’s circumstances are totally different so a uniform can take some of this confusion out of the situation.

Rather than having to give people guidance on what to wear and coaching them on professional standards and the importance of showcasing a clean, tidy appearance in the industry, you might just find it easier to stop confusion entirely by making it really clear on what to wear by introducing a uniform. It means that everyone’s equal and sets the benchmark for the entire team.


Whatever area of hairdressing your team specialises in, there are a thousand ways to completely ruin your own clothes. Getting covered in bleach, thousands of hair or beard shards covering your clothes, your outfit getting wet or accidentally brushing hair dye onto clothing. It’s happened to everyone in hairdressing at one time or another.

A uniform means that your team can keep their own clothing clean and in good condition, rather than wearing them to the salon and seeing them get ruined. It can also be safer to wear a uniform and have a dress code policy, as you can choose a style that protects the skin more or shoes that are safer to walk in on salon floors.

Less costs for your team

Whether you choose to pay for uniforms for your team or not, it usually still works out as cheaper than having to buy an entire wardrobe of “work clothes”. Even if your team chooses to mix and match their work clothes with their leisure clothes, having that separation can save them time and money on their work clothing.

It means that everyone from the newest apprentice who’s just starting out in the industry, right through to the most senior stylist or owner are all on the same level when it comes to their uniform.


Are there any negatives of wearing a uniform?

As with any situation, there’ll always be perceived negatives. But it’s worth working out whether the positives of implementing a hairdressers uniform outweigh the negatives for your business and your team.

For staff, a negative might be the inability to show off their creative expression and style through clothing. Hair is a trends-led industry and they may feel that wearing a uniform detracts from that, or their ability to showcase their creativity to their potential clients. This doesn’t have to be the case—your team can let their hairdressing creativity show through their work and social media profiles.

Another challenge with a uniform is getting something that everyone likes and is practical. It’s not always as easy as you might think as people have their own preferences when it comes to style and clothing fit. You also need to make sure that the clothing you choose for uniforms comes in a range of sizes and options for every gender. Your team might feel uncomfortable or that their uniform is unflattering otherwise, which can lead to issues with people not wearing their uniform.

The cost of a uniform can also be a big deal for your business. If your team wears their own clothes then that cost is on them, whereas once you start providing uniforms there’s a cost to the business—both in terms of budget and in the time it takes to order, replace and repurchase uniforms along the way (for example if you have new starters). Some salons pass this cost onto their teams, but you need to work if that’s a model that’ll work for your business.


Styles of hairdresser uniform

The options for hairdressing uniforms are pretty much endless. Just browse any salon supplier catalogue and you’ll see every colour, style, size and logo option available. You just need to think in terms of practicality, comfort and your brand.

Tunics are a pretty popular style as a hairdressers uniform. They’re practical, comfortable and come in lots of different colours and styles. They usually have plenty of space for a logo of your choice too. They’re also easy to care for, durable and protect your team’s clothing from mess and products.

They can easily be removed and left in the salon at the end of the day if you’re happy to take on the cleaning too. A tunic is a comfortable choice, especially when paired with trousers or leggings, and allows for plenty of movement and caters for all different sizes. You can also get them in different collar styles, including:

  • Asymmetrical—featuring a mandarin-style collar and large buttons down one side, asymmetrical-style tunics offer an on-trend top that shows the vibrancy of your business
  • Button-Front—mixing contemporary cuts with classic smart lines, this style is great for salons that want to stay current and make their customers feel at ease with something traditional
  • Mandarin Collar—one of the most popular designs for salon teams, the simplicity of its lines makes this style ideal for salons that need a unisex uniform

Other types of uniform include tops and trousers, dresses, suits or just a colour theme (such as “everything black”), sometimes with one logo item like a t-shirt. It’s important to balance out style with the salon, clients and level of comfort within the team.

Also, don’t forget about footwear. Being on your feet all day as a hairdresser is no laughing matter, so it makes sense to advise on wearing comfortable, durable footwear on your working day. You can either take this on as a salon (though shoe choices can sometimes be just as complicated as clothing when you’re dealing with different people and their needs), or set out expectations for the type of shoes you’d anticipate as being appropriate for your team.

Here are some options for choosing footwear for your salon:

  • Open-heeled shoes—Having an open heel makes them airy and able to be worn for long periods of time, but you do run the risk of getting hair splinters (if you know, you know and most hairdressers who cut hair know all too well) or chemicals on the exposed skin. Crocs are an example of open-heeled shoes but some salons say that these are too casual.
  • Slip-on shoes—These are favoured because they're comfortable and easy to clean. Having no laces means there are fewer areas for dirt to build up and can be kept spotless, as well as not having laces to keep tied or trip over. This style can work well in summer or winter.
  • Trainers—They’re comfy, stylish, easy to wear and available for any budget. How smart they are depends on the style so if your dress code and uniform leans onto the smarter side you might just need to be more specific on this.
  • Boots—More suitable as winter wear, boots can be hard going on the feet especially if you’re stood up all day (which you usually are as a hairdresser) or they’re pretty new. They will keep your feet protected from hair splinters, chemicals or the cold. Because they come in so many varied styles, you might just need to keep checking on what styles fit with your uniforms.

Once you've chosen your style of uniform, the next thing to think about is colour. This should be something that works with your brand's identity and logo, as well as being practical when it comes to keeping them clean and looking polished. Many salons choose black uniforms for this very reason.


How to choose the right hairdresser uniform

In need of some quick tips on how to choose the right hairdresser uniform for your salon:

  1. Think about the impression you want to give off.
  2. Choose fabric, style and colour that will work for your team without getting messy or clashing with your salon or logo.
  3. Go for a style and range of uniform that’s inclusive when it comes to gender and sizing.
  4. Have a budget in mind for how much you want to spend, how many uniform pieces each person will get and what you’re thinking of doing when it comes to cleaning.
  5. Order as in advance as you can.
  6. Make sure that you send over the right logo (if you’re getting your uniforms branded) and that you proofread everything carefully before you approve it to go into production. Check it twice - it could save you some serious time and money.

Everyone will have different preferences and ideas, so listen to your team if they give you feedback for next time you buy a uniform. Sometimes until you’re actually wearing something and moving around in it it’s tough to tell how it’ll fare, and we all make mistakes.


What else do you need to think about?

One of the biggest things is to communicate with your teams and make sure that they’re aware of the changes if you do decide to go down the uniform route. You don’t need to listen to every suggestion as some will be really specific, but you can certainly take their feedback on board. It’s much easier to implement this type of change if your team is engaged and involved in the process.

Please note the information provided on this page should not be taken as advice and has been written as a matter of opinion. For more on insurance cover and policy wording, see our homepage.

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