7 rules for lighting hair salons

TOP LIGHTING designer Chad Rains of independent consultancy Illuminationworks has been shortlisted for a Lux Award 2019 for his work on the Battersea Power Station branch of fashionable hair stylist Paul Edmonds. Here he reveals his top seven rules for lighting hair salons.


Make the customers look great

This is the number one rule for hair salons! Clients need to look their best, especially when reflected in the mirror, so soft side lighting is best, with not too much intensity - and no glare – in the face.




Get the task right

Hairdressing is a task – one in which razor-sharp scissors are involved – so stylists need a shadow-free view and strong modelling on the head. At Paul Edmonds, twin ceiling-mounted 25-degree spots are used to clearly illuminate the task area.



Use high colour rendering

Showing colours precisely is crucial, especially for hair colouring, tints, lightening and highlights. Remember too that these days clients have the full range of colours, so make sure the light source works with blues as well as pinks.




Light for hospitality

Hair salons regularly host evening events such as client parties, styling demonstrations and product introductions so make sure the lighting has enough flexibility to complement these happenings with appropriate lighting.




Light for retail

Remember hair salons are also retailers, and they make significant sums from the sale of haircare products such as specialist shampoos and treatments. The basic rules of retailers apply: the lighting must make heroes of the merchandise.




Control your glare

Glare is the enemy in a hair salon. When clients are having their hair washed and are looking up at the ceiling, the last thing you want to see is an eyeful from a glare bomb. So make sure any sources are concealed or have honeycomb louvres.




Don’t forget the loos!

Toilets shouldn’t be an afterthought – many clients choose the bathroom as a place to check out the work on their hair. So the same rules apply. Make the occupants look great and ensure the smallest room matches the glamour of the rest of the salon.





  • Chad Rains is principal of London-based independent lighting design consultancy Illuminationworks.


  • The winners in the Lux Awards 2019 will be announced on the evening of Thursday 14 November at the presentations ceremony at the London Hilton on Park Lane. For tickets and more info, click HERE.


  • Learn more about Lghting for specialist applications at the LuxLive 2019 exhibition, taking place on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2018 at ExCeL London. Entry is free if you pre-register HERE.