My Salon Tipping Guide: Who Should Get What, and, When?

Total Beauty

Posted 09/13/10 at 04:14PM by Total Beauty

Let's face it, tipping can be an awkward thing. It's hard to be all slick about it because, by definition, it's fraught with clumsiness. You know, the hand off (which never goes as smoothly as you'd like), the timing and, then, of course, the (ugh) math.

Because I'm much more of a wordsmith than a math whiz, over the years I've had to develop a cheat sheet or risk becoming a bumbling fool at any place where tipping is expected.

And, because there's so much mis-information about gratuities out there, I've spent a fair amount of time learning exactly who's supposed to get what. Here's the scoop so you won't be flummoxed next time you head in for a cut or wax:

1.A tip should be 15-20 percent of the total of services rendered. (Before taxes are added.)


2. Salons don't work like restaurants. Don't assume that your service provider will "tip out" to an apprentice or hair washer the way a waitress might to a bus boy. If someone other than your stylist washes you hair, give them $5. Similarly, if someone other than your stylist blows your hair dry, give them $10.

3.If your salon provides gratuity envelopes, it is customary to use them. Be sure to write their name and yours on the front. And, you can feel free to leave it at the front desk or to hand it directly to your service provider -- either way works. (Don't worry, the chick at the front desk won't pocket the envelope. We hope.)


4. If your service provider is also the owner of the salon, you need to find out ahead of time what the policy is. Ask the receptionist what other clients do. It used to be unthinkable that an owner would accept a tip, but these days, anything goes.


5. Because many nail salons ask you to pay (and tip) before your polish has been put on, they know how much they're getting ahead of time. This makes me wonder whether they'd have done a better job if I'd tipped more so I always leave cash in an easily accessible place and ante up at the end.


That's it. See? Not really as confounding as it appears. Bottom line, salon workers are in the service industry. When they perform a service to your liking, you should thank them for it. And, nothing says "thank you" like a good, solid 20%.

What are your tipping guidelines? Anything vary much from what you read here?
And the survey says...
1-6 of 11 Comments

  • Posted by EricaF123 on 04/13/13 at 01:42pm

    Good info

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by powerwoman033 on 03/13/12 at 08:03pm

    I always pay $10 for the tip and $15 to $20 if the job is excellent! I won't leave a salon until I am happy...If I get terrible service, I will only give $5 and I will complain.

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by kap on 02/23/12 at 05:27pm

    I agree. Anything over 30 dollars gets an automatic 10 dollar tip.

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by jennymuffins on 03/03/11 at 08:07pm

    I agree on the $10 tip for the person cutting/styling your hair. As far as the person washing your hair i give them $3 i mean its just washing hair. i know its still a job but they get paid by the hour. and lets say if u get a haircut at super cuts for $20 then u shouldnt be leaving $10 as a tip that is way too much. anything over 30 deserves a good 10 dollar tip. of course if the hair stylists didnt perfom the service as u asked and did a bad job then less than twenty percent is in effect or lucky if they even get a tip. Tips should be meant for excellent service not crappy work.

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by Bon_Bon on 02/21/11 at 02:51pm

    no way tipping is if they do a good job, if I leave with something I didn't ask for I'm NOT tipping!!!

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by pynkNymphette on 12/21/10 at 08:40pm

    I will not tip BEFORE a service is rendered, that is just insanity.

    Report Abuse

Welcome to TotalBeauty.com!
Ready to unleash your inner beauty junkie? Enter your email and check the boxes below to get free samples, exclusive deals, discounts at Total Beauty Shops, and expert beauty tips delivered straight to your inbox!
Email to a friend