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The Ultimate Guide on How Much to Tip Your Hairstylist

Ever had trouble deciding how much to tip your hairstylist ? It’s hard to know the etiquette, and none of us want to make the wrong move of course! We asked the experts exactly how to steer so we don’t offend, and show the right level of appreciation.

The Ultimate Guide on How Much to Tip Your Hairstylist

Scott Fontana, a celebrity stylist, owner of Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, proprietor of Life Spa & Salon by Scott Fontana, creator of Making the Cut (a live hair cutting competition) and founder of the Scott Fontana Collection, says the best way to tip in a salon to reflect the experience, but without breaking the bank.

“If you had a terrible experience at the salon, just tip 0%,” says Fontana. “If it was just an okay experience, I would suggest 10%. The proper etiquette is to tip only if you had a positive experience. A great experience would be 20%. Tips are not expected, but they are the icing on the cake.” So in summary, tip if you enjoyed the cut and experience as a whole, but don’t feel obligated if you were truly disappointed!

The old adage has always been to not tip the owner because they keep all of their own service fees and have employees from whom they get a percentage. But with more and more salons opening that have only one person (the solo salon owner) working, tipping etiquette should be adjusted. Even though the solo owner does keep the full amount from a service and does not have to split it with anyone, what customers may not take into account is that the owner foots the bill for everything — all insurance, rent, product usage, inventory, utilities, credit card processing, etc. “Often, these owners actually make less money than if they worked for someone else, but don’t collect nearly the same amount in tips,” says Pamela Jeschonek, an esthetician/makeup artist that specializes in eyebrow design. 

So to break it all down, here’s the real nitty gritty on how much to tip your hairstylist:

* The general tip for your stylist at at salon is 18 to 20%. If you are unsure of what to tip the assistants who have also worked on your hair, simply add their name to the tip envelope or ask the receptionist for advice.

* If  you have your hair done by the owner, ask the receptionist if the owner accepts tips. This “rule” has changed over the years and it is not a taboo to do so.

* Don’t don’t forget the shampoo person. They often work mainly for tips!

* Oftentimes the best tip to give your stylist is a referral, but make sure the person you refer mentions your name. It is always appreciated.

* If you can, it is always nice you remember your stylist and give them a little something extra at Christmas.

Like any other service job, the salon employee does in fact anticipate a tip if their guest is satisfied with their service.  “The higher value of the service, and the more time spent in addition to the quality of the result, the higher the tip should be,” says Lisa E. Byrd, District Manager of Tonsor LLC, part of the Roosters Men’s Grooming Center & Cost Cutters Brands.

On average, a guest will spend no less than 30-45 minutes in the salon and up to three hours receiving treatments. At least, in an upscale salon, an employee can expect a $5.00 tip on the smallest amount and for a very satisfied guest, a twenty dollar bill should come with the greatest of ease.