Many moons ago, I used to watch a reality show called Tabatha Takes Over. I found her tell-it-like-it-is style to be entertaining – and somewhat intimidating, too – as she went around helping salons get their stuff together.

Besides her biting one-liners, there was something else that was consistent about her. Tabatha always wore black. Always. I just thought it was because of her personal choice and serious personality, but as it turns out, it’s a thing. It’s a thing for stylists, that is!

Though some do not, many professional salons typically have a dress code or uniform policy that requires employees to wear black. It is part of the beauty industry’s standard of uniformity and professionalism, and cosmetologists are taught that wearing the color black is the norm. As far as how stylists are dressed, there are a few additional reasons it’s become standard.

Fashion-wise, we know that it is a color that looks good on anyone. This same understanding is applied by the trade with regard to black’s ability to be timeless, chic, and always in season. It goes with anything and easily can be dressed up or down. In black attire, salon staff can all look nice and formal.

Camouflage is the name of the game. Being busy on the salon floor with coloring and other chemicals can stain the clothing, so wearing black helps to conceal dyes, makeup and other products that could spatter. Stylists state that bleach can be remedied with a Sharpie. What also helps though, is that much of the workwear used by pros is made to be bleach resistant and waterproof.

Image of stylist cutting hair. kaleido-dp via Pixabay
To complement the star of the stylist’s chair, black serves as a neutral backdrop for the client’s hair and face. As the stylist is cutting and working their color magic, the focus will be on the customer. Picture having your hair dyed red, you spin around to look in the mirror, and it clashes with your stylist’s pink blouse. With black, it’s less visually distracting.

While wearing black is customary, you may notice some shops deviate and have their own way of doing things. Nothing wrong with that! Not all salons have dress codes, but the majority do expect employees to at least look professional. One of the points that hairdressers make is since most of their clientele is female, it’s important not to alienate or offend guests with loud or inappropriate attire.

Additionally, a black or dark smock is often used for clients who have light colored hair. It allows the stylist to visualize and contrast where lines and layers will fall. Black is the perfect color for a professional atmosphere, protective workwear, and a client’s new ‘do!

If you’ve been to cosmetology school, you probably were already hip to this information. Others may have just assumed black is worn to look sophisticated and professional. But now we know it has a few practical purposes too.

Did you know why hair stylists wear black? What’s the dress code at your salon? Tell us in the comments!