I’m Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, your favorite clinical psychologist and hair stylist. 

They say that a hair salon is a therapy room where the magic of conversation meets the magic of hair transformation. 

The goal of a hair salon is to become a space where clients (and coworkers) feel physically rejuvenated and emotionally uplifted, turning a salon visit into an act of self-care and connection.

In the name of hairapy, I’m going to share a few practical tips on how to set up your hair salon to encourage not just group conversations but therapeutic ones. 

Yes, we’re about to mix some laughter (and maybe some tears) with our deep conditioner!

How to Design a Welcoming Hair Salon for Your Clients

Create a Comfortable Vibe with Open Seating

First things first, let’s talk about seating. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Just put some chairs in a circle, and voila!”

But oh, honey…

It’s not that simple. 

We’re creating a vibe here! 

Think of your hair salon as a living room. It’s a living room where everyone’s invited to the party. 

You want your clients to feel like they’re lounging at their bestie’s house, spilling tea and sharing secrets. 

So, buy a comfy couch and add throw pillows that scream, “Tell me everything!” 

(Maybe literally…)

Add some snacks for the girls, pop sparkling water, and…

✨ Watch the magic of community happen. ✨

And remember, the more outrageous the pillow, the deeper the conversation. 

Invest in a Decorative Conversation Starter

Let’s chat about décor. 

This is where you can really get the conversation flowing without trying too hard. 

Ever considered wallpaper that’s so bold it starts its own conversation? 

I’m talking about designs that make you go, “What was the artist thinking?” 

Like this one called Cosmic Alligators that’s actually kind of cute. 

Or this wallpaper with dancing mushrooms?!

Imagine a client asking, “Is that a flamingo wearing a top hat?”

Seems harmless… 

“Yeah, it is. Cool, right?” 


You’ve got an icebreaker that can lead to that client sharing their most hilariously embarrassing moments at a formal event.

Designing your hair salon isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s about setting up your salon for group and therapeutic conversation where everyone feels comfortable enough to let their guard –– and their hair –– down.

Get a statement piece of furniture. Find some funky wall art. Buy that neon sign for your front desk. 

Anything to disarm someone or make them laugh is a win for togetherness. 

Schedule Group Experiences

If you’re not too keen on redoing your whole salon’s aesthetic, try this tip for deep conversation.

The secret ingredient to a supportive salon is in shared experiences. 

Nothing bonds people quite like doing something together. Introduce a group activity like: 

  • Mask Monday or Treat Yo’ Self Tuesdays, where everyone gets a face mask or a special beauty treatment. 
  • Mani/Pedi Parties, where everyone can relax while getting their nails done. 
  • Body Scrub Bash! Everyone creates a DIY sugar scrub.

It’s in these shared moments of vulnerability and self-care that barriers break down and conversations deepen. 

People will start to open up about their lives, their dreams, and yes – even their fears. 

And as they do, they’ll realize they’re not alone. There’s a whole salon full of friends, like you, ready to support them.

Final Thoughts

Creating a space for therapeutic conversation within the walls of a salon goes far beyond arranging comfortable chairs and turning on ambient lighting. 

Creating a supportive salon is about cultivating an atmosphere that breathes warmth and acceptance, making it a sanctuary for all who enter –– your clients and your coworkers. 

Anyone who steps foot inside such a warm place should feel an overwhelming sense of safety. 

They should feel a rare kind of visibility in your salon, where their stories and struggles are acknowledged and also embraced with empathy and compassion. 

It’s about building a community within your hair salon’s four walls, a community where laughter and tears can be shared without judgment.

Every person who walks out, after an appointment or a hard day’s work, should feel physically rejuvenated and emotionally uplifted. 

This commitment to creating a nurturing environment turns a simple visit to the salon into a celebratory act of self-care and connection. 

At your salon, everyone is recognized and revered for their unique beauty, both inside and out. 

Let your hair salon be a place where laughter is the soundtrack, conversations are the heart, and hair transformations are the cherry on top. 

Welcome to the new era of PsychoHairapy – it’s going to be fabulous!

Sprinkle a little bit of that PsychoHairapy magic into your salon, and watch as it transforms into a sanctuary of healing, one hair appointment at a time.

Get more of Dr. Mbilishaka’s tips on mental health and hair care in her webinar with Schedulicity👇