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Guide to Selecting a Salon Shampoo System

best shampoo bowls and chairs for hair salon

Most (if not all) salon customers would agree that the best and most relaxing part of any appointment is the hair wash and rinse at the salon shampoo station. Not only is the shampoo area where your clients’ favorite experience happens, it’s also a high-traffic section of the salon. So it’s important to invest in the best shampoo bowl and chair you can, to provide top-of-the-line quality, comfort, style and function.

With all the different designs, features, sizes, and types of salon hair washing stations on the market today, you may need help determining the best shampoo bowl and chair for you, your space, and your clients. From the different types of shampoo systems and their features to dimensions and spacing, this article provides the expert insight and detailed information you need to create the perfect shampoo station setup.

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Step One: Decide Which Type of Shampoo Setup You Need

The first and most important step when shopping for a hair washing station is understanding the different types of equipment available.

Shampoo Systems

Shampoo systems (aka backwash units or sidewash units) are the most popular type of hair washing station in salons. The shampoo sink and chair are connected, operating as one cohesive unit. Whether backwash or sidewash, all shampoo systems offer salons the “all-in-one” chair/sink combo package.

What makes this type of shampoo unit the overall favorite is the diversity of styles, features, chair designs/colors, sizes and more. There are shampoo system to complement every salon aesthetic and suit the needs of individual stylists and clients.

Pedestal Sinks & Shampoo Chairs (sold individually)

Another popular shampoo station setup is pairing a shampoo chair or an all-purpose chair (any salon chair with reclining capabilities) with a pedestal shampoo sink.

Many booths, salon suites, mini salons, and small salon studios prefer this shampoo station setup because of the pedestal sink’s slim, space-saving design. A freestanding reclining salon chair also provides versatility in a small workspace.

Wet Stations

The term “wet station” is most commonly used in barbershop environments when referring to a barber station setup complete with a shampoo sink, storage drawers and cabinets, countertop space, a mirror, and sometimes even wall-mounted retail shelves.

A wet station does not come with a shampoo chair, but all barber chairs recline (for facial hair services as well as shampooing). Configurable barber wet stations, like Minerva’s Nantucket station, can be purchased as a complete barber station setup equipped with the features listed above—or customized based on the needs of your barber shop.

Customize the Nantucket Wet Station

Shopping Backwash & Sidewash Units

Backwash and sidewash refer to where the stylist stands while washing a client's hair, based on the shampoo system’s design. Most of Minerva’s shampoo systems can be used as a backwash or a sidewash - each product description specifies whether it’s one or both. Each shampoo systems also specifies if it can be plumbed from the floor, wall, or both.

When shopping for a shampoo system, it’s important to consider these key design features:

Shampoo System Sink Options

Shampoo sinks come in different sizes, depths and colors, with varying degrees of adjustability. Minerva Beauty shampoo systems come with either a porcelain or ceramic shampoo bowl with the following features:

Porcelain shampoo bowls Ceramic shampoo bowls
Available in our Avant shampoo systems Available in our tilting shampoo systems (all except Avant)
Rubber neck rest Gel neck rest
Bowl does not tilt Bowl has tilting mechanism
Black or White Black or White
Spray hose, basket strainer & flexible drain hose Spray hose, basket strainer & flexible drain hose
UPC/cUPC certified fixtures UPC/cUPC certified fixtures
Replacement bowl available Replacement bowl available

Shampoo System Chair Options

Similar to the salon chair options covered in our salon chair buying guide, our shampoo system chairs are available in a variety of body styles, sizes, and color options to suit the aesthetic needs of every salon space, and come with different features that enhance comfort for both the client and stylist.

including maximum seat cushioning, reclining capabilities, manual and electric operational controls, and footrest and ottoman options.

Chair Styles & Features

Lever-Controlled Shampoo Chairs have a manual pull lever control to offer next-level client comfort. Along with the relaxed, leaned-back design and lumbar support provided by the backrest, this shampoo chair style allows clients to recline a step further with one pull of the side lever that extends a cushioned footrest. These shampoo systems are designed to emulate the snooze-worthy comfort of your favorite recliner with sleek, modern style.

Electric-Powered Shampoo Chairs provide innovative, high-end luxury at its finest. Our electric-powered shampoo systems feature fully automated reclining capability.

For example, Minerva’s Makara Electric Shampoo System comes equipped with a foot pedal so the stylist can control client positioning from sitting upright to completely horizontal with one tap on either side of the pedal.

shampoo backwash systems with electric recline controlled by foot pedal

Shop the Makara electric shampoo system

Anti-Gravity Auto-Recline Shampoo Chairs have no levers to pull and no buttons to push. The client simply places their feet on the footrest, leans back, and reclines with comfort and ease.

If this type of shampoo chair design interests you, check out our Mykonos Shampoo System. Not only does it have a patented anti-gravity auto-recline mechanism, the Mykonos features high-density foam cushioning with memory for maximum comfort and ease, fully upholstered armrests, reinforced double stitching, a removable black powder-coated footrest, and a white or black ceramic tilting bowl equipped with a premium gel neck rest.

Fixed-Position Shampoo Chairs are a standard, stationary shampoo chair design that does not recline. It’s a classic shampoo setup in many hair salons and can preserve valuable floor space in smaller salons.

One of Minerva’s stationary models, the Avant shampoo system, is the overall customer favorite and one of the top-selling shampoo chair and bowl designs on the market today. Avant shampoo system chairs have a natural sloping seat and back with an ergonomic design so clients naturally settle in a comfortable reclined position.

Many of Minerva’s fixed-position shampoo system chairs are modeled after designs from our styling chair and dryer chair collections, giving salon owners with an easy way to create a cohesive interior.

Other Shampoo System Options

Besides the sink and chair type, our shampoo systems offer different types of footrests, arm rests and vinyl colors.


Some stationary shampoo systems (like the Avant) come with an ottoman so clients have the option to put their feet up. Not all stationary shampoo systems include an ottoman, but we also offer footrests and ottomans separately.


Since many of our shampoo systems are modeled after designs from our salon styling chair collection, we offer different armrest styles so you can choose which type is most comfortable and appealing.

Open-sided armrests allow more airflow, are easier to clean (no hair stuck in between cracks/crevices) and usually have a smaller footprint and lighter, airy look that is ideal if you're working in a smaller space or suite.

Fully upholstered and cushioned armrests provide clients with the cradled "sink into the couch" type comfort with a look and design that's naturally bulkier and makes a statement - ideal for larger spaces OR as the statement piece in a 1-chair suite.

Vinyl Colors

Minerva Beauty offers a variety of shampoo system designs with premium, professional-grade vinyl in a range of colors to suit the style of every salon aesthetic.

Shop Minerva Beauty Shampoo Systems

Shampoo Bowl Cabinets & Pedestal Sinks

If you work in a smaller salon space, need additional storage, have a tighter budget, or simply gravitate towards a sleek, minimalistic shampoo station setup, then our collection of standalone pedestal sinks and shampoo bowl cabinets is where you need to be.

Pedestal Sinks

Stand-alone shampoo sinks, like Minerva’s Montego pedestal shampoo system, are equipped with all the same innovative features and functions you’ll find on a sink that’s part of backwash/sidewash unit. But pedestal sinks have a durable, compact shroud design that takes up far less floor space.

A pedestal shampoo sink’s sleek design also pairs well with any shampoo chair, giving you virtually unlimited options.

Features of our Montego pedestal sink include:

  • Black or white ceramic tilting bowl
  • Brushed nickel or stainless steel shroud
  • Faucet & soft spray hose
  • Premium silicone gel neck rest
  • Drain assembly with strainer
  • Mounting brackets
  • UPC valve with built-in backflow preventer
  • Access panel

Shampoo Bowl Cabinets

Shampoo bowl cabinets are an ideal hair washing station setup for many salon environments not only for the additional storage they provide, but also for the budget-friendly pricing. From classic and affordable to high-end luxury, Minerva offers quality shampoo bowl cabinets to accommodate all budgets.

Budget-Friendly Shampoo Bowl Cabinets

Cumberland Shampoo Bowl Cabinet Set with Bowl: $255.20

  • Smooth laminate available in Walnut and Birch color options
  • Waterproof molded bottle well
  • Side access storage cabinet
  • Durable ABS plastic square shampoo bowl in black
  • Equipped with a faucet, spray hose, drain assembly & mounting bracket
  • Footprint: 18.75"W x 27.5"D x 37.5"H

Callaway Shampoo Bowl Cabinet Set with Bowl: $359.00

  • Smooth laminate available in Walnut and Black color options
  • Waterproof molded bottle well
  • Side access storage cabinet
  • Durable ABS plastic oval shampoo bowl in black
  • Equipped with a faucet, spray hose, drain assembly & mounting bracket
  • Footprint: 24"W x 32.25"D x 37.5"H

High-End, Customizable Shampoo Bowl Cabinet

Monterey Shampoo Bowl Cabinet: Starting at $1189.00

  • Birch plywood core with durable contractor-grade laminate exterior
    • Infinity laminates are antimicrobial & fingerprint resistant with an ultra-matte, texture-less finish
  • Interior material: Melamine
    • Melamine will be black if the following laminate body colors are selected: Black, Oiled Walnut, Oiled Olivewood, Shibui Woodprint
    • Melamine will be white for all other body colors
    • Don't see the finish you've been dreaming of? Give us a call at 888-332-0123 to discuss more customization options!
  • Bottom storage area can be accessed from the back
  • Equipped with a white or black porcelain tilting bowl, premium gel neck rest, basket strainer, spray hose & flexible drain line
  • Cabinet: 25.25"H x 24.25"W x 19.75"D
  • Ground to top of bowl: 39"H

Our Monterey shampoo bowl cabinet is part of the Minerva Designer Series, where we provide premium salon equipment for our customers to style, customize, and truly make their own. (Designer Series products are made to order and non-refundable.)

Shop All Minerva Beauty Shampoo Sinks

Shampoo Chairs

All of our standalone shampoo chairs pair perfectly with any of our pedestal sinks or shampoo bowl cabinets. Check out the different shampoo chair designs Minerva carries to find an option perfect for your salon’s shampoo area. (Bonus: most models cost less than $150!)

Alluvia Shampoo Chair

  • Auto recline
  • Highly polished stainless steel frame
  • Extra thick seat cushion
  • Available in 12 premium vinyl colors
  • Footprint: 24"W x 27"D (39"D when reclined)
  • Inside arms: 20”
  • Weight capacity: 300lbs

Anchorage Shampoo Chair

  • Auto recline
  • Powder-coated, high strength tubular aluminum frame
  • Extra thick seat cushion
  • Available only in black
  • Footprint: 24"W x 27"D (39"D when reclined)
  • Inside arms: 20”
  • Weight capacity: 300lbs

Clermont Shampoo Chair

  • Sloped lounge-style chair
  • Heavyweight stainless steel frame
  • Available only in black
  • Footprint: 23"W x 36"D x 31"H
  • Inside Arms: 20”

Continental Shampoo Chair

  • Air pneumatic reclining back & footrest
  • Heavyweight stainless steel frame
  • Footprint: 27"W x 26"D (46"D when reclined)
  • Inside Arms: 20”

Hair Wash Station Accessibility & Ergonomics

When creating a hair wash station, it’s important to select a design that is not only stylish, but also is functional, accessible, and comfortable for your clientele and salon staff. Here are some different aspects to consider:

Mobility-Friendly Shampoo Stations

Many people have limited mobility, for example older clients, clients with a disability or injury, wheelchair users and many others. The following tips can make your shampoo area more accessible to clients with varying degrees of mobility:

  • All stand-alone shampoo bowl cabinets and pedestal sinks are wheelchair accessible since the chair is not connected to the sink and can be moved out of the way, making room for the client’s wheelchair.
  • For clients who do not use a wheelchair but have mobility issues, selecting a shampoo system without a separate footrest makes it easier to get in and out of the chair. A lever-controlled reclining shampoo system like the Avery or Hashima is ideal.

All Sizes Welcome

For clients with larger bodies, selecting a wider shampoo system, such as the Eros, or a shampoo system with no armrests and extra wide seat cushion, like the Makara, creates a more comfortable hair washing station that provides support for a variety of body types.

For shorter clients or children, any of our shampoo systems that feature a tilting bowl are ideal because it allows stylists to position the bowl closer to the customer. Minerva also sells a variety of booster seats that are great to have on hand when shampooing a child or shorter client!

For short stylists, a shampoo system with a stationary, non-tilting bowl, like the Nautilus and Avant shampoo systems, provide the easiest shampooing experience.

For tall stylists, shampoo systems with a tilting bowl sit higher up off the shroud than stationary bowls, adding about 2-3” of height which is helpful and more comfortable for taller stylists while shampooing a client. Also, many tall stylists find the most comfort and enjoy sitting on a technician or cutting stool behind or on the side of the shampoo unit.

One feature that is universally loved by every stylist is a shampoo system with a floating shroud, such as the Triton and Corsair shampoo systems. Shampoo systems equipped with a floating shroud provide stylists with more foot space around the back of the unit so they can stand closer to the bowl, making it easier to shampoo their clients.

Shampoo Station Dimensions and Spacing

A huge factor when buying a shampoo station for your salon business is measuring your shampoo area and selecting the best shampoo bowl and chair design with dimensions that allow for proper placement and comfortable spacing so your stylists and salon staff are able to efficiently and effectively shampoo clients without feeling crowded or left without room to access the bowl from a certain angle.

Hair Washing Station Dimensions

Pay close attention to shampoo system dimensions and choose equipment with a footprint that fits comfortably in your shampoo area.

All Minerva Beauty shampoo area equipment, including shampoo bowls, chairs, backwash/sidewash units, pedestal sinks, and more list the hair washing station dimensions and footprint on the product page. Most products also include a dimensions PDF in the “Specs” section.

Two VERY important questions that need to be asked and answered are:

  • How much space do you need to stand behind the shampoo bowl?
  • How many inches between salon sinks do you need?

A good rule of thumb is to have at least 32-42 inches between shampoo chairs, and a minimum of 24 inches behind the shampoo bowl for the stylists to work, and 24 inches at the other end for the client's leg and foot space.

To simplify the process when laying out your shampoo area floor plan, use Minerva’s 2D Space Planner powered by Icovia which allows you to design any area of your salon by creating your floor plan with Minerva products. Simply enter your room's dimensions to get started, add walls, and start placing equipment!

Shampoo Station Accessories

When shopping for your shampoo station, consider adding these supplies and accessories to further enhance the comfort, functionality and overall experience your shampoo system provides both clients and stylists:

Shop All Shampoo Station Parts & Accessories

Installing Your Shampoo System

Most of Minerva Beauty’s shampoo systems and bowls require only minor assembly, however, ALL plumbed-in shampoo sinks and backwash/sidewash units need to be installed by a licensed plumber.

Key information to know before installing your shampoo system:

  • Every local jurisdiction will have their own code for how plumbing needs to be installed. A licensed plumber should be familiar with these requirements.
  • Speak to your plumber prior to purchasing a backwash/sidewash or shampoo bowl. Your plumber will need to understand the backwash specifications to plan water and drain accessibility within your space.
  • Determine if you will be plumbing your new equipment from the wall or the floor. Some equipment has a rear access panel, while others do not.
  • Do you need a vacuum breaker kit?
    • All Minerva backwash shampoo systems have built-in check valves. Check to see if local code requires an additional vacuum breaker kit.
    • Minerva ABS shampoo bowls do not have a built-in check valve. Check to see if local code requires a vacuum breaker.
  • Do you need a discharge pump? A discharge pump is necessary when drain water has to travel against gravity (for example, when a wall drain is located above where the drain water comes out of the shampoo system). Check with your plumber before purchasing a shampoo system to see if a discharge pump will be required.
  • Create a space plan: Work with your plumber to create a detailed space plan to show exactly how the equipment will be laid out. Remember… items that are plumbed are there to stay!
  • Find out if there are special requirements for your building such as handicap accessibility or historical property requirements.

If you have additional pre-purchase questions, please call our Sales Team at 1-888-332-0123. Our sales team does not work off commission and you’ll receive the same level of service whether you’re ready to buy today or not!

Shampoo Station Cleaning & Maintenance

Once you’ve invested in a shampoo station, it is important to know how to properly clean and care for it - not only to maintain your shampoo system’s pristine condition for the long haul but also to ensure a safe and clean work environment for both you and your clients.

All Minerva shampoo systems and shampoo chairs are completely covered in premium professional-grade vinyl that WILL stain if it comes in contact with hair dye. Here are some tips to properly clean, disinfect, and prevent your vinyl from staining:

Use Shampoo Chair Covers to Prevent Stains

Hair dye WILL stain just about any material - including the premium vinyl upholstery on our shampoo systems and shampoo chairs.

To help prevent hair dye coming in contact with vinyl, we recommend using shampoo chair covers. Minerva Beauty’s shampoo chair covers are custom designed to securely fit each of our shampoo chairs (including chairs that are part of a shampoo station unit) and protect the chair back from moisture, hair color, and other salon products.

Use the Right Cleaning Products for Vinyl Surfaces

  • Use eco-friendly, non-toxic leather & vinyl cleaner - harsh, chemical-based cleaners can cause vinyl materials to dry out, crack or delaminate.
  • Use a light-colored or white towel to wipe down vinyl - especially if your shampoo chairs are a lighter vinyl color.
  • If hair dye comes in contact with the vinyl on your shampoo station, IMMEDIATELY spray and wipe down the surface with a solution of 50% warm water and 50% white vinegar! The longer hair dye is on the surface, the harder it will be to remove.

Cleaning Shampoo Sinks

As long as your shampoo bowl isn’t cracked, keeping it clean and stain-free is as easy as rinsing out the bowl after each wash. Minerva’s porcelain and ceramic bowls are coated with a protective seal to help fight against stains, fading, scratches, and damage from acids and chemicals.

Be sure to regularly clean out the shampoo bowl’s catch-all hair trap. Depending on day-to-day usage and the size of your salon, we recommend doing this once a week or every 2 weeks.

If you upgraded your Minerva shampoo sink with an ECOHEADS Sprayer X and Hose Kit, check out this video for important maintenance tips:

Shampoo Station Replacement Parts

All our shampoo area furnishings are backed by a 1-year warranty. Note that all shampoo systems and pedestal sinks must be installed by a licensed plumber under Minerva Beauty's warranty requirements.

With that being said, accidents and mishaps happen every day in the salon environment, which is why Minerva carries a full selection of shampoo bowl replacement parts and accessories (also backed by our 1-year warranty). Our replacement hair salon sink parts include hoses, sprayer nozzles, valves, stoppers, hair traps, drain assemblies, a vacuum breaker kit and more.

Shop All Shampoo Bowl Parts

Shop Minerva Beauty Shampoo Systems

Whether you’re interested in a backwash/sidewash unit, shampoo chair paired with a pedestal sink, shampoo bowl cabinet, or a wet station, Minerva Beauty’s shampoo area equipment has the innovative features, durability, comfort, and professional-grade functionality you need in a stylish package. We also offer high-quality cabinets and color bars perfect for salon shampoo areas.

If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to connect with our representatives!

Shop All Minerva Beauty Shampoo Area Supplies

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