Here is an email I’ve received from one of my customers who is confused about all the different salon shampoo washing systems and shampoo bowl designs available on the market.

“I’m opening a new beauty salon and I really love all the new style beauty salon shampoo stations, but I can’t find the design style information anywhere. I have many questions. What salon shampoo washing system style is the best to buy? Should I stick with the traditional salon shampoo bowl design or the new stylish Euro style shampoo bowls? I’m used to the old fashion beauty salon all-purpose styling chair with a sink. What are the pros and cons of buying each different style? Are some more comfortable than others? Do certain models provide for better water management? Is there anyone who can steer me in the right direction?”

First of all I’d like to say that I love these new Euro-style freestanding shampoo backwash units. The quality and styling of the fiberglass base units combined with the tilting porcelain bowls have created fantastic designs. That said, lets talk about the age-old question that I get asked all the time: What shampoo bowl should I buy?

What I tell people is buy the one that will make your salon stand out from all the rest if that’s the fashion statement that you want to make! But be aware of the design pros and cons. Lets talk about the basics of shampoo equipment like water management (water/gravity) and customer comfort. I like to break it down into three styles of shampoo sink design each with their distinct advantages and disadvantages.

1) An Asian style horizontal laying shampoo unit puts 100% of the head and 100% of the water in the bowl with gravity working for you 100%. But speaking from experience, they always seem to be difficult to lay down on (kind of like a big table) and uncomfortable for clients. This shampoo unit probably has the best water management system but not a very big seller, because of the huge lack of customer comfort.

2) So let’s talk about the old fashion American beauty salon with their wall mount shampoo sink. Well think about it, the client is on 45 degrees with the gravity of their head hanging into the sink and the stylist washing from the side. This means lets say 45% of the water with the help of gravity is working with you for water management. But it’s unfortunate that the client’s head is hanging in the bowl or you are holding it. Plus you are forced to stand toward the front side of the shampoo bowl typically wedged against the wall. This causes back strain for the stylist and head strain for the client, but your water management isn’t too bad because the sink is rather large and gravity is somewhat working for you.

3) Now that takes us to the newer Euro style tilting shampoo bowl with more of a sit-up style all in one shampoo unit. These Euro designs are quite comfortable! Basically it’s like, sitting in a chair and this makes your client more at ease plus easier to manage when shampooing. The typical freestanding backwash shampoo unit has quite a few ergonomic advantages for the stylists. First, you can wash hair standing in the rear of the bowl or from either side. This allows the back to remain straight and utilization of both hands can be equal. The bowl will tilt (most units) into the head and shoulders compensating for different heights. Some of these bowls have a tendency of being smaller in diameter so you are closer to your client, which is important for some of the smaller stylist. Most of the bowls have typically a deep neck recess with longer side neck extensions to collect water. This will help your water management with the longer neck extensions since gravity is not working in your favor with this style unit. You will need adequate water pressure but not excessive in combination with good working habits to manage your water around the client. Although, gravity is slightly more of a concern with this style, the advantages of the Euro-style shampoo bowls far outweigh the slight differences from the traditional shampoo units.

To sum it all up, the American market typically trends toward the standard wall mount shampoo bowl (ex. 2) if you don’t have a lot of space and are on a limited budget. But the newer Euro-style shampoo bowls offer huge variety, ergonomic comfort, and provide very economical choices. Plus the fashion statements you can design into your salon are absolutely endless. To be able to offer these Euro-style shampoo systems with porcelain bowls, complete with all the plumbing fixtures installed and a stylish fiberglass non-rusting base at these economics prices is very exciting for us here at Keller International.

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