Saturday, January 30, 2010

What is the Tipping Ediquette at a Salon?

Hi, I often find giving a tip at the salon a stressful and uncomfortable situation. Sometimes several people work on my hair. Do I tip them all? This can get very expensive and often discourages me from getting a haircut. I always feel as though they are judging me. Can you offer advice? Thanks, Cindy

YouTips4U: Hi Cindy, that's a great question and I'm sure others share your concern as well. I'm happy to offer some guidelines to help simplify this for you so that you know ahead of time what to do and not have to sit and worry while your hair is being done about tipping at the end. The overall tip for services at your salon should be about 15 percent. Remember, that's before the tax is added on. You don't tip on the tax. Now, you can scale that 15% up or down depending on whether you were thrilled with your haircut or disappointed. Usually if you just give one overall tip, the salon manager will divide it up between the other people who serviced you, i.e. the person who shampooed your hair.

If you would like to control who gets how much of your tip, simply take that 15 percent and divide it up between the people who serviced you. A salon owner that I know suggests $3-$5 for the person who shampooed your hair. $1-$2 for the coat check person, and $1 for the person who brings you a coffee. Of course this depends on the salon you attend. Smaller-scale salons do not offer all amenities and so there is less tipping to worry about. Or perhaps your hairdresser does all of the aforementioned services herself, and therefore gets the whole 15%.

If the person who cuts your hair owns the salon, you do not have to tip them. Remember, they get the profits of the business. If you feel awkward about just walking out and not tipping, you can always give him/her a gift during the holidays like a bottle of wine, a box of candy, or a plant. Yes, you can give cash or gift cards too.

Salons vary as to how to leave the tip. You may just want to add your tip to the final bill which is very much encouraged these days by salons. Some have little cups or boxes at their stations, others you simply hand it to them. Many salons offer small white envelopes for you to place your tip in. If you use the envelopes, be sure to write the name of your hairdresser on the envelope and your name as well with a little note of thanks. This will help the salon owner know who the tip is for. No need to write the amount of the tip on the outside of the envelope. That's between you and your hairdresser.

I hope this will help take the awkwardness out of tipping for you. Having a standard by which you tip will make you feel much more comfortable and help you decide what salon you would like to go to. Some people love a big service salon with lots of people to pamper them, and others enjoy a smaller more intimate salon where it's just you and your hairdresser having a nice chat together. Whatever type of salon you choose, you now have a guideline you can refer too.

- YouTips4U


  1. Thanks for posting this! I tend to ALWAYS over tip which isn't necessarily a bad thing but in this economy when I have to save up for a salon visit its good to have a proper tipping policy to help save a bit and maybe get to the salon sooner next time ;)

  2. Tax on a hair cut or color? You don't pay taxes on this? For products you purchase you pay taxes but never for service?

    The problem with tipping is:

    1) you don't get better service by tipping more.
    2) if you start out high, 20%, they expect it every time. When the consistency of the service slips it's a problem? Do you really want to continue paying 20% when you're getting redos on hair color?

    Tipping should be eliminated in high end hair salons.

  3. I just found a great tool to make figuring out the tips for each service a breeze! SalonTipmaster for Palm. Check it out!!!