Tipping Etiquette at a Salon

When it comes to tipping etiquette, most people are confused at best.

  They do not know who to tip and how much they should tip them.  This scenario happens all too often at a beauty salon.

Should Customers Tip the Owner of a Beauty Salon?

Salon customers may be wondering if they need to tip their beautician, hair stylist, manicurist or make-up artist.  The short answer to this question is yes.  If the customer was happy with the service, a 15-20% tip is expected. This has not always been the case.  Years ago, tipping was not customary in salons.  In fact, some salons still do not expect their customers to tip.  This makes people ask themselves the following questions:

  • Is it weird to tip a stylist who travels to the customer’s home to give a cut or treatment?
  • What if the customer cannot afford to tip the stylist?
  • Who exactly should I tip?  The salon owner, stylist or shampoo girl?

The reality is that the vast majority of salons expect tips.  The only salons that have not picked up on tipping are old-fashioned salons in small towns.

Some stylists will say that while they do not expect a tip, it is always appreciated.  Interviews with salon owners have revealed that this is just a pleasant way to say that “yes, you should tip the salon owner”.  In fact, many salons will go out of their way to give a customer good service if they know they tip well.

How Much Should Customers Tip Their Stylist?

Listed below are some guidelines consumers can follow when they are tipping beauty professionals.

  • Customers should not tip if they feel as though tipping a stylist is ridiculous.
  • Accept that tipping is customary in the US and add it to the overall cost of the service.
  • If one cannot afford to tip, they may want to switch to a less expensive stylist.
  • If the stylist provided excellent service, a 20% tip is expected.
  • Good service usually warrants a 15% tip.
  • The person who washed and/or dried the hair should get a tip of $5-$10.
  • Beauty treatments usually require a 15% to 20% tip.

Tipping is a contentious issue in the US.  Most people feel uncomfortable when they do not know when or how much to tip.  This situation can be avoided by learning tipping etiquette.

Becoming a stylist or beautician is a worthwhile choice.  Recent events have shown that the beauty industry thrives in both stable and dire economic conditions.  There will always be work for stylists regardless of what is going on outside the industry.  Those who are interested in this career choice should contact Evergreen Beauty School for more information.

Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations

Frank Trieu is a cosmetology industry leader, and despite his accomplishments and accolades, he still prioritizes students on the Evergreen campus. Through building relationships within the community and local salons, retail stores, and spas, he helps facilitate job placements for aspiring beauty professionals using his expansive network.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


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Vivian Black
Vivian Black
4 years ago

You made a great point about good service usually warranting a 15 percent tip since that is what it usually is. My husband and I are looking for a beauty salon that can help us get our hair done for our daughter’s wedding this summer. We will keep these tips in mind as we search for a professional that can help us best.

1 year ago

You should provide a good service at a reasonable price for both yourself and the client and not expect a tip. You are not a waitress that gets $2/hour that immediately gets swiped by the government.

YOU set your prices.

If you are not making enough without a tip, then you are not charging enough.

Tipping culture has gotten to be ridiculous, especially on an already expensive service and you want a percentage, and a high one at that? If I tip, it will be a small portion because I like the person, not because I feel they deserve even more on top of an already high price, and it sure as heck won’t be percentage based.

I provide a service, too, except I have to drive to my clients and work a job that can literally kill me while performing it, out in the elements, and I don’t expect a tip. I set the prices to where they should be for the service. It’s fair to both me AND my clients. I don’t gouge.

I occasionally get tips, but it’s never expected, and I am grateful for when it (rarely) happens. It’s not percentage based, either. I am grateful for anything extra a client feels to give me, be it $5 or a bag of homemade cookies, or a hot/cold beverage while I am working. It means they thought about me.

An expected tip and attitudes like “I won’t give as good a service if I don’t get tipped” is a terrible one.