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I was wondering how much to tip my hairstylist?

Read our breakdown of how much to tip your hairdresser and the assistants—and how much to give at the holidays.

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Choosing whether to give your hair a severe chop or caramel balayage highlights? Easy as pie. Choosing how much to give your hairdresser for your new style? Not really. This is due to the fact that tipping is always a matter of personal judgment, according to Sharon Schweitzer, an international etiquette expert and proprietor of Access to Culture. Because no one is compelled to follow a predetermined amount, tipping might be one of the most perplexing cultural practices, according to the speaker. But the majority of experts concur that giving your hairdresser a tip is a significant expression of gratitude (same goes for tipping at the nail salon.)

Tipping your hairdresser (and tipping well) also contributes to the development and maintenance of a positive relationship over time. This kind of relationship may persuade your hairdresser to fit you into a busy schedule at the last minute, suggest the best shampoo and conditioner for your hair type, or go above and beyond to share the ideal haircut for your face shape or the newest hair color trends (and make sure the one you love is actually the best hair color for you). According to Aida Mulic, proprietor of Envision 1111 Salon in Lynnwood, Washington, “hairdressing is an art.” “You’re paying for your hairdresser’s artistic talent as much as the service.”

Additionally, hairdressers frequently depend on this extra cash to cover expenses. We work in a service-based profession, and Kyle Miller, a master stylist at Day Salon in Newburgh, Indiana, says, “Not only do we love gratuities, but they’re also a vital portion of most stylists’ pay.”

But how much is truly excessive, and how much is just right? To assist you in estimating a figure and navigating murky areas where a tip isn’t always obvious, we turned to experts for their insights.

How much money should you give the hairstylist?

A good tip range is between 15 and 25 percent (low end if you’re not too delighted; high end if you’re thrilled with your new appearance), regardless of whether you’re sitting down for a fast trim, a large cut, or a three-hour coloring session. In the same way that you pay for the food at a restaurant and then tip for the person who brings it to you, Mulic views tips as rewarding a service. You pay for the time, the goods, the training, and the level of experience and care you receive at a salon before tipping.

Mulic cautions you, however, to only tip on the cost of the actual service, not on any salon products you buy, such as if the stylist suggests a fantastic shampoo for your curly hair, when you’re checking out.

Your hair was styled by four persons. Are all of them tipped?

Here’s where things start to become murky. In larger salons, your hairstylist may be doing the majority of the work, but there may also be an apprentice shampooing your hair, an assistant providing the highlight foils, and maybe a fourth person doing the blowout. Tiffany Molina Pachl, a guest artist for Joico, acknowledges that “this can be a hard one.” “Every salon handles it differently, so don’t be afraid to inquire about the procedure with the receptionist or your stylist. On occasion, the stylist and assistants will agree to divide all tips equally. Other salons may pay their assistants on a commission basis or differently tip them if they are enrolled in school and earning credit hours. “

You might want to think about giving them each a $5 cash as a token of your appreciation. Leticia McKay-Everett, a hairstylist in Dayton, Ohio, claims that she enjoys giving tips to the stylist’s assistant. They put in the heaviest labor and frequently go without recognition, in my opinion. They’ll be reminded of their significance with a tip.

If you’re utilizing a gift certificate, should you tip?

Consider receiving a gift certificate to a salon from a loved one. Given that the service was technically already paid for, should you give your hairdresser a tip? Even if you’re using a gift certificate, Devin Toth, a hairstylist at Salon SCK in New York City, advises leaving a tip. If you’re unsure about whether it’s permitted, phone the salon ahead of time and inquire. Some salons may actually enable you to tip using the funds on the gift card itself. In this manner, you avoid unintentionally stiffing your devoted hairdresser.

Ugh. You detest your color or cut. What’s next?

You’re sitting in the chair at the salon, inspecting your hair in the mirror, and you’re not pleased. If you should tip, do you? It’s true that this is still another ambiguous subject, and even experts disagree on it. Professional hairstylist Monica Davis, the creator of the My Straightener blog, says no, you shouldn’t praise a poor performance, but you also shouldn’t keep quiet. The greatest way to tip a hairdresser if you don’t like the outcome, she says, is to help them see where they need to improve. Be respectful, though. Everybody makes errors.

Others think that leaving a smaller tip, such as 10%, is friendlier than leaving a larger tip when you’re not happy. Toth argues that “most clients tip even on the rare occasion when they don’t like their results.” “They continue to want to express their appreciation for the hairdresser’s time and work. They also understand that there can be some trial and error when it comes to hair, especially with color services, and that with communication, their results will improve over time while they continue to work with the same hairdresser. “

Also think about if a cut or color job you don’t like was the result of a communication error. Pachl continues, “A hair adjustment can occasionally just be a simple miscommunication between you and your hairdresser. “It doesn’t necessarily imply that you got a horrible color or haircut.”

There are valid reasons for tipping and against paying if you are unhappy with the results, but ultimately, you must decide how much to give your hairdresser. To get the results you want at your next session, just remember to be courteous and absolutely honest with your hairdresser.

Should you leave a tip if your hairdresser also owns the salon?

While it used to be the case, Mulic asserts that circumstances have changed. Remember: By leaving a tip, you are also thanking the business owner for their time, the products they utilized, their education and expertise. These excess funds are also used to maintain the firm as a whole. If you enter a salon where the staff is paid on commission on an hourly basis, Miller argues, “they are also providing the space and a lot of extra cost in order for that salon to succeed.” This entails long hours, restless nights, and an additional financial burden that not everyone is ready to take on.

If your hairdresser rents a booth and is the only proprietor, those tips assist in paying the rent and for the cost of the goods, which might be costly because they are not purchased in big quantities at a discount (something that large salons do).

Tipping in the COVID-19 era

According to McKay-Everett, who has noticed an upsurge in tipping in the beauty business after COVID-19, being without our vital services during the pandemic made us appreciate our service providers even more. Pachl implores you to keep in mind that the beauty industry has suffered greatly over the past two years, with many additional costs, from masks and disinfectants to limited capacity for clients’ safety. She notes that since there are less people in the salon, there is less money to be made behind the chair, “adding extra money to a tip, if you can afford it, is truly appreciated.”

During the holidays, how much should you tip your hairstylist?

The holidays, ah. An opportunity to go all out on your appearance to match the shine of the season. But you’ve been paying your stylist for the entire year. Is it required to make another bet? The quick response is yes. It’s wonderful to give more than normal as a sign of gratitude and cheer if you have an appointment over the holidays. According to Davis, “the typical 18 to 20 percent tip will be more than OK,” but you can express your gratitude by giving an extra 10 to 15 percent.

Toth notes that “some people don’t tip any differently during the holiday season. I think it’s absolutely up to the client.” Some give twice as much as they usually do. Some people round numbers up by 50 or 100. Some people leave tips that are at least double the value of the entire service.

If you’re visiting the salon in December and your budget can’t handle an additional expenditure of money, at the very least, bringing a token gift—such as cookies, chocolate, or even a bottle of wine—is a thoughtful gesture.

Bonus advice on how much to tip your hairstylist

Want to add something unique to your tips? Toth suggests the following:

There is no improper tipping technique. The gratuity can be given in person, in an envelope (or a handwritten card), by personal check, cash, Venmo, PayPal, or just left at the front desk for the hairdresser to pick up.

The gratuity can be given in person, in an envelope (or a handwritten card), by personal check, cash, Venmo, PayPal, or just left at the front desk for the hairdresser to pick up. Making tips can be as entertaining and unique as you like. On their tip envelopes, some people write sweet notes or inside jokes, or even doodle amusing things. Toth has a customer that only ever tips with $2 dollars.

On their tip envelopes, some people write sweet notes or inside jokes, or even doodle amusing things. Toth has a customer that only ever tips with $2 dollars. Consider unconventional thank-you gifts in addition to monetary ones to show that you care. The greatest advice includes recommending your hairstylist to new customers, praising them on social media, leaving glowing reviews on Google and Yelp, and remaining a devoted customer.

Knowing how much to tip your hairdresser today will make it easier for you to plan your future trip. Next, learn how much to tip hotel housekeeping.

Kelly Kuehn contributed further information.

Here Is How Much To Tipping Your Hairdresser first appeared on Reader’s Digest.