May is fast approaching, and with it comes Mental Health Awareness Month. While there are countless ways to prioritize mental well-being, one activity is treating yourself to a trip to the salon. Our research has shown that many Americans view their salon visits as a needed form of self-care. With many using this pampered downtime as a chance to confide in their stylists, clients tend to think of their beauty Pros as a kind of therapist, too. 

But what makes a trip to the salon so therapeutic, and just how common is it for people to treat their stylists like therapists? To find out, we conducted a survey of salon-goers across the country to explore the surprising ways that people treat a simple haircut or manicure as a two-in-one therapy session. For the survey, we defined “stylist” broadly, including hair stylists, nail technicians, laser treatment professionals, facialists, and even tattoo artists. So, join us as we delve into what makes a simple visit to the salon a positive step toward prioritizing mental health.

Key Findings

  • A large majority (88%) view a trip to the salon as a therapeutic experience.
  • 1 in 3 salon-goers consider their stylist to be like a therapist.
  • Over half (55%) report that their stylist provides emotional support during appointments. 
  • A majority (52%) of Americans have discussed their family members with their stylist. 

What Makes a Trip to the Salon So Therapeutic?

A majority (91%) of Americans have visited a beauty salon in the last year, and a vast majority (88%) of salon-goers view their experience as therapeutic. 

Over half (55%) of respondents report receiving emotional support during their appointments, and 1 in 3 Americans even consider their stylist to be like a therapist. When asked what makes a salon environment good for discussing personal matters, respondents overwhelmingly focused on the personal qualities of their stylist, rather than the physical environment. 

While many Americans find emotional support during a visit, it isn’t the top reason cited for why salon visits are therapeutic. So, what exactly makes a trip to the salon so emotionally appealing? The top reason cited by respondents was the uplifting change in appearance (38%), followed closely by the physical touch and pampering (34%). 

a pie chart of the therapeutic aspects of a salon

Client Confessions — 2 in 5 Use Their Stylists as Confidants

If you typically sit in your stylist’s chair, getting your hair cut or nails done, and suddenly find yourself pouring your heart out about your family or a relationship challenge, you’re not alone. While beauty/style tips (58%), travel (57%), and pop culture (53%) may be popular topics of conversation at the salon, many Americans turn to their stylist for more personal discussions.

In fact, over half (52%) reported discussing family members or children with their stylist. And it’s not just surface-level chitchat. Nearly 2 in 5 (39%) respondents even reported discussing some topics with their stylist that they wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing with family or friends. This may suggest that salon-goers view their stylists as supportive, non-judgemental allies in their lives.

But what about the stylists themselves? Do they see their clients as more than just customers? It turns out, they do. A staggering 86% report that their stylist has shared personal information with them, indicating that the relationship between stylist and client can be quite personal and reciprocal. 

a bar graph of the topics discussed at a salon

Are There Risks to Treating Your Stylist Like a Therapist?

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, many of us were forced to forego our regular salon visits. And while we may have missed the pampering and primping, it turns out that we also missed the therapeutic conversations. According to our survey, nearly half (47%) of Americans report having missed talking to their stylist during the pandemic at least a little bit.

But just because we couldn’t visit the salon in person doesn’t mean we lost touch with our stylists entirely. In fact, 31% report following their stylists’ personal social media profiles, indicating that the relationship can extend beyond the salon chair.

Of course, not every conversation with your stylist is going to be easy. Our survey revealed that a lot of people (37%) actually worry about the conversation or relationship becoming awkward if they delve too deeply into personal topics. But despite this concern, with only 18% reporting worry about their stylist giving bad advice, the majority of respondents indicate that they trust their stylist and don’t worry about receiving poor advice.

 a pie chart of the risks of treating stylists like therapists


For those seeking more than just a haircut or manicure, the salon can be a sanctuary. For many Americans, the salon is a place where we can discuss topics beyond just beauty and style tips — we can also share our thoughts and emotions. As we enter Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to recognize the value of these safe spaces and the comfort they provide to those seeking a deeper conversation.

At StyleSeat, we understand the importance of self-care and how it can emotionally uplift clients. Our platform allows you to find a stylist who not only understands your beauty needs, but also values your emotional well-being. In a world where it’s easy to feel alone, finding a trusted stylist can be a valuable source of support. So whether you’re in the mood for lash extensions or a massage, go ahead and treat yourself to a therapeutic salon experience and prioritize your mental health at the same time.


On March 3, 2023, we surveyed 1,002 Americans about their experience treating stylists like therapists. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 76 years old, and were 50% female, 48% male, and 2% nonbinary.

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