Remembering how much you’re supposed to tip anywhere can be hard — what do current trends dictate? Is there such a thing as too much? And what if you got a discount on the service? But knowing how much to tip your hairdresser has to be one of the more confusing tip scenarios out there, especially if you get your hair done at a salon where more than one person works on your strands.
Below, once and for all, is a definitive guide to tipping your hairstylist — and their assistant, shampooist, and everyone in between. Thank us later — no tip necessary.
The golden rule.
If you need a simple baseline, experts agree that tipping 20% is standard and acceptable at any hair salon. If you’re in a smaller town, 15% may be the norm. You can always ask the receptionist at your salon what’s typical, or ask on the phone when you call to make your appointment.
What about assistants and shampooists?
Offering the person who shampoos your hair $3 to $5 is a nice gesture. You can hand the money directly to the shampooist, or give it to the receptionist when you check out and ask them to pass it along.
As for your stylist’s assistant, that person is likely in training and may not be making much money, so Michelle Lee, master designer and manager at Salon Eva Michelle in Boston, recommends tipping them between $5 and $20.
“All the assistants are there in training to be stylists, and at many places, a lot are working at minimum wage, so anywhere from $5 to $20 is fine depending on how much they end up doing for the client, or if they have been especially gracious to you,” she told InStyle.
Any other advice?
Try to bring cash to tip, if possible. Not every credit card machine will allow you to add a tip, and using cash will make it easier to tip the different people who worked on your mane. And yes, it’s OK to tip even if your hairdresser is the owner of the salon.
Also, if your salon offers free bang touch-ups, consider bringing a few dollars to leave as a thank-you gesture. Your stylist will look fondly on you next time you come into the salon.
If you’re a woman with shorter hair — meaning you get it cut and/or colored regularly — your stylists will understand if you offer a slightly smaller tip. After all, your annual bill is much higher than a longer-haired client’s.
As for tipping on a discounted service: Stylists are split on the issue, with some suggesting a 20% tip on the original price of the service, and others saying a tip of 20% on the discounted rate is fine, since the goal is to get you back into the salon. When in doubt, ask at the front desk!
Finally, if you’re unsatisfied with your haircut, communicated what you wanted to your stylist, and talked to them about how to fix it but they refused to make changes, you can definitely lower your tip. If they invite you back for a fix-up cut, though, etiquette expert Peggy Post suggests offering a tip of 15-20%.