Advice to Help People with Disabilities at the Salon

Advice to Help People with Disabilities at the Salon

Going to a hair salon is a unique adventure for people with cerebral palsy. Sitting still through hair washing and a styling session can be difficult. I often find myself wishing the hairstylists and salon personnel were better informed about people with disabilities. Here’s some advice for people with disabilities and stylists before their next hair appointment.

Advice for the stylist

  • Everyone has the right to have their hair cut, washed, and treated as they choose. The same goes for getting nails and makeup done. Try not to judge people when they enter the salon based on their physical attributes.
  • A person with a disability is more like you than different. Everyone has their likes and dislikes. But, in general, most of us want to look and feel our best. 
  • Ask questions. I understand how difficult it can be to ask personal questions. However, if a person’s disability affects your job performance, then you do have the right to ask for strategies to accommodate. I’d much someone ask me than assume they know the answer. If you’re worried about hurting someone, then ask if cutting their hair, or whatever the service might be, will hurt them.
  • Technology has improved the lives of people who have challenges. I like to have my hair highlighted or colored, and hair should be rinsed after that type of work. Before I had a motorized wheelchair with the capability to tilt, I made sure that I had somebody with me who could transfer me to a chair by the sink. Now that I own a tilting motorized wheelchair, I can stay in my wheelchair and have my hair rinsed. Feel free to ask how your client would like to rinse his or her hair.
  • Sometimes those with cerebral palsy or other physical disabilities have trouble sitting still. I perfectly understand why sitting still would be important in a salon setting. Patience is appreciated. I relax when the stylist is calm or humorous. Taking an occasional break is also helpful, so the person can reposition themselves without destroying their hair.

For the person who has a disability going to a salon

  • Come prepared. Don’t expect the stylist to know what to do for your disability. Bring someone with you if you need help transferring or sitting still. Be prepared to explain your needs. 
  • Answer questions about your disability nicely. If a stylist doesn’t understand something or is nervous about hurting you, do your best to calm their worries. 
  • Inform the stylist upon meeting them about anything that might need to know. For example, I say that when it comes time to rinse my hair, my wheelchair can tilt back. Or, I could say, “Please don’t worry about hurting me, my disability doesn’t make me more sensitive.”

Hopefully, these tips will help you with your next salon appointment.


Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy. 

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