More About the Ratings

More About the Ratings

One of the first questions we're often asked by salon owners thinking about joining Good Salon Guide is about the rating system and how it works. 

Hair and beauty salons can achieve four possible awards: Registered (R), 3, 4 and 5 star. Barbers, Blow-dry, Extensions Artist, Colour Expert and Training salons can achieve one level of Recognition. 

The criteria is based on a set of 'Yes' and 'No' questions. Your salon moves through the different ratings until you get a 'No', at which point you go back to the level where 'Yes' had been answered for every question. 

The foundation for every rating is the training and qualifications achieved by the staff and management, and as you work through the questions the level required increases as the rating increases. This may be the percentage of staff having achieved, for example an NVQ Level 3, and we also take into account the number of years of management experience the owner or manager has. A salon with a five star rating will have more staff with higher qualifications and more experienced managers. The bottom line is that anyone can open a hair or beauty salon in the UK and Ireland without any training or qualifications, so our criteria is designed to protect the public. 

We also look at the salon itself - starting from the outside. We look at everything from the paint work and lighting through to reception seating and even magazines, as well as the size and scale of the salon. This combines with the training based questions, so you could have a lovely salon, which met all of the 5 star questions but met the 3 star questions for staff training, so would be awarded a 3 star rating. 


With the COVID-19 pandemic, salon owners have had to make huge changes to the way that they operate and run their businesses. These changes include the importance of health and safety for not only the salon team, but for their clients. Heading to a salon can leave some clients feeling anxious and nervous, not knowing whether their salon is operating as it should under the current government guidance. To help keep your mind at rest, we have introduced a COVID Aware Certification for our Good Salon Guide member salons, where alongside their already achieved Good Salon Guide recognition, are putting hygiene and cleanliness at the forefront of everything, and are on top of the current health and safety guidance. A COVID Aware Certified salon has proven that they are taking serious measures to keep both their staff and you safe from COVID-19.

Some of the measures that a COVID Aware salon has in place are:

  • Completion of a full COVID-19 Risk Assessment
  • Full staff training relating to COVID-19 - Risk Assessment, use of PPE, sanitisation etc.
  • Regular management checks to ensure measures are in place and followed
  • Sanitisation of the salon, including hand sanitisation for staff, clients and visitors
  • Social distancing is in place and enforced
  • Track and Trace systems in place
  • And many more...


Good Barbers Guide was established in 2005 and is part of the hugely successful Good Salon Guide family. It is the only independent guide to quality standards in barbering in the UK, Ireland, Malta and the UAE. The Good Barbers Guide criteria have been developed with the consumer, barber shop owners and the industry. As with all of our criteria, the most important element is the training and qualifications of the staff, the customer service and journey through the salon. Every member has been independently inspected so you know that the award means something and isn't just another sticker in the window or certificate on the wall.


Research has shown that colour clients often look for specialists within colour when deciding to choose a new salon or when remaining loyal.

Colour accounts for a huge percentage of salon earnings, and with leading trends focussing on new techniques such as Ombre, Balayage and temporary pastel shades, the hair colour market is not slowing down anytime soon. Colouring is a skill and technique that must be perfected, especially with the many ‘colour gone wrong’ horror stories that you often hear of, which is why Good Salon Guide recognises Colour Expert salons.

Each Colour Expert salon is inspected to a set of strict criteria, including the requirement for a member of the team to have an advanced colour level qualification such as Wella Master Colour Expert or L'Oreal Colour Specialist. Good Salon Guide will need to see and confirm this qualification with you.


With sustainability and environmental issues becoming an ever-increasing importance in today’s world, Good Salon Guide offers an ECO Salon recognition to help highlight salons who are at the forefront of ethical and sustainable salon practices and services.

Consumers are more aware than ever of being eco-friendly in their choices, so our ECO Salon award helps to highlight those salons that are leading the way and help those that are just starting their journey. We all need to make changes, however big or small, to help our environment, so choosing a registered ECO Salon by Good Salon Guide can help the public make a sustainable choice when it comes to their beauty needs.

The assessment for salons to be registered as an ECO Salon is incredibly strict and the standards are very high. Salons are assessed on areas such as products that minimise the use of plastic and are refillable, extensions and how they are sourced, the removal of all single use plastic, salon waste and recycling, how their in-salon refreshments are sourced, water reduction and much, much more!


Good Salon Guide's Blow-dry recognition gives customers confidence that they are choosing a blow-dry bar with qualified and supervised staff, as although the cost is relatively low, it's easy for clients to feel short changed, as they are used to the full service that salons offer.


Extensions Artist was created due to several complaints that Good Salon Guide had received from the public regarding salons carrying out extensions services when they were not qualified to do so. Looking into this further, Good Salon Guide discovered that one-day extensions courses can be purchased for cheap via avenues such as voucher discount code websites. It is all too easy for someone to do a quick one day course, buy cheap extensions online and then set-up shop as an extensions stylist.

The criteria for salons to become Extensions Artist under Good Salon Guide are strict – the toughest criteria they have. Evidence of qualifications, experience, the hair used, suppliers and more must be shown before the recognition is awarded. This strict criteria gives the public full confidence in knowing that the salon is fully qualified to carry out extensions services and that the hair used is 100% human and from a reputable company.

The Creative Excellence award recognises the best in creativity in hairdressing among our members. All Creative Excellence members have produced stand out and high-quality creative work, as well as working on fashion shoots or as a session stylist. We have always showcased and championed the incredible creative talent of our members via the Good Salon Guide magazine. We have been proud to offer a platform for such work to be seen and now, it is time to officially recognise that talent through the Creative Excellence award.

Black Hair Excellence recognition gives clients ease and confidence when it comes to finding a salon that specialises and are competent in black, afro, and natural hair textures.

The criteria for Black Hair Excellence are strict, as it is important for clients to know that their chosen salon is a true expert in the field of black and natural hair. Evidence of qualifications, training, and the length of time they have been working with black hair must be provided before the recognition is awarded.