The Art and Science of Hairdressing: A Guide to Pre-Service Station Setup


As a hairdresser, preparing your station for clients is an intricate blend of artistry and meticulous hygiene practices. The basic station setup is the canvas upon which you’ll paint your masterpieces, and like any great artist, you must ensure that your workspace is clean, organized, and conducive to creativity. In the following guide, we will delve into the essential steps for an ideal pre-service procedure, focusing on the standards that align with medical-grade cleanliness, as expected in top-tier hair salons.

A Guide to Pre-Service Station Setup

The Foundation of Salon Safety

Sanitization and Disinfection

  1. Glove Up and Clean Up: Start by donning a fresh pair of gloves. Cleanliness begins with your own hands that must be shielded to maintain a sterile environment.
  2. Disinfecting the Station: Use an EPA-approved disinfectant cleaner to meticulously wipe down your station, including the client chair, countertops, and surfaces. The importance of a bacteria-free workspace cannot be overstated in the beauty industry.
  3. Floor Mats and Product Bottles: Ensure the cleanliness of floor mats, product bottles, cans, and jars. Any item within the client’s view or reach must be spotless, reflecting your commitment to hygiene.
  4. Disinfectant Solution Preparedness: Confirm that your disinfectant container is filled with a fresh solution, following state board regulations. The preparation should be done well ahead of your first appointment to ensure efficacy.
  5. Daily Disinfectant Change: Replace the disinfectant daily or when it becomes visibly contaminated. Maintain a logbook for accountability and compliance with state mandates.

Organizational Excellence

  1. Appointment Preparedness: Look over your day’s schedule to anticipate and address any time management issues that could arise, ensuring a seamless flow between appointments.
  2. Client Records Review: Examine your client’s service history or intake form ahead of time. For new clients, ensure access to either digital or physical consultation forms to understand their needs and preferences.

Personal Readiness

  1. Personal Needs: Address any personal matters beforehand, like using the restroom or staying hydrated. Ensure you’re not distracted by personal needs during client interaction.
  2. Cell Phone Etiquette: Your cell phone should be off or on silent mode to maintain a professional atmosphere, ensuring that clients receive your undivided attention.
  3. Mental Preparation: A clear mind is crucial. Dismiss any personal concerns momentarily; take deep breaths and focus solely on the exceptional service you are about to provide.

Final Touches Before Client Interaction

  1. Immaculate Hand Washing: Your hands should be impeccably clean before you welcome your client. Follow a rigorous handwashing protocol, detailed in sources like “Milady Standard Foundations, Procedure 5-1: Proper Hand Washing.”


The basic station setup in hairdressing is more than just a preliminary step; it’s the foundation upon which the day’s services will be built. By combining the procedural rigour of medical standards with the personalized touch of a caring professional, hairdressers can ensure that each client feels valued and safe within their salon. This routine, rooted in both art and science, sets the stage for a hairdresser’s daily performance, allowing them to deliver not just a service, but an experience that is remembered and revered.

Implementing the Guide

This guide serves as a template for new and experienced hairdressers alike, emphasizing the importance of pre-service preparation. By adopting these practices, salons not only comply with health regulations but also elevate the standard of customer care. As hairdressers master these pre-service procedures, they reinforce the salon’s reputation as a beacon of excellence in both creativity and cleanliness.

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