What Is a Shampoo Bowl?

A shampoo bowl is used to wash a person's hair in a hair salon.
Shampoo bowls are typically found in hair salons.
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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 08 August 2014
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A shampoo bowl is a specialized type of sink typically found in hair salons and barber shops. These sinks have curved cutouts designed to accommodate the back of a person's neck while his or her hair is washed. There are many different types of shampoo bowls, from standalone pedestals, to units that are built into chairs. Shampoo bowls are typically plumbed into the water supply and sewer or septic system, just like other sinks, though some units are mobile. The mobile shampoo bowl is most useful to hair stylists who work out of their homes or operate mobile salons.

There are many different types of equipment and supplies required to operate a salon or barber shop, from scissors and razors, to dyes and other hair products. One common piece of salon equipment is typically referred to as the shampoo bowl. The purpose of this equipment is to allow the hair stylist or barber to easily wet a customer's hair in preparation for treatments, or to provide a full shampoo and wash service.


Essentially, shampoo bowls are sinks, with a water supply, faucet, drain, and often some type of sprayer. They are usually designed with comfort in mind, so the physical appearance can differ somewhat from traditional sinks. Instead of having a uniform rim, shampoo bowls have curved cutouts in the front for a person's neck to rest in. This can allow someone to lean back comfortably while his or hair is washed. That can allow the stylist to work without bending over, while the person whose hair is being washed sits in a comfortable reclined, or semi-reclined, position.

There are many different types of shampoo bowls, each of which can be well suited to a different salon environment. Many shampoo bowls are built into chairs that are capable of reclining. These combination units are often referred to as backwash units, or shampoo stations. Another design is typically referred to as a shampoo bowl pedestal. These units are essentially shampoo bowl sinks that are built into free standing pedestals, so that any chair can be used.

A variety of materials can be used to make a shampoo bowl. Some units are constructed from porcelain or marble, and they tend to be fairly durable. Plastic is another material that shampoo bowls are commonly made out of, though acrylics and a number of composites can be used as well. Portable shampoo bowls are more likely to be made from plastics or composite materials due to weight issues.


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