For many of us, getting our hair done is one of the best things we can do for our self-esteem. When you inevitably get bored with your current look and want a drastic change, or you just need a bit of a spruce, going to the hair salon is always a good idea. I’m convinced that the artists we call hairdressers have magic in their fingers and they’ve captured a little slice of heaven in their shampoo bowls. Getting your hair done is a luxurious form of self-care, and your stylist should be compensated accordingly!
Whether you’ve been regularly gracing the doorstep of your favorite salon for years, or you’re new to the hair styling scene, we have the best tips and guidelines for how much to tip hairdressers—no matter which service you’re getting done!
Exactly How Much Should You Tip Your Hairdresser?
“Usually it’s $5-$10 an hour depending on service,” stylist Cescley Cobio tells Parade. If she does a simple dry cut (a haircut without washing or shampooing first), she says that a $5-$10 tip is a great tip. That service takes her anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, but rounding up to an hour would be the best thing to do.
Certified Master Extension Specialist Kendra Ward agrees. “I don’t believe 10%, 20%, 25%, etc. is at all the standard,” she says. And while she agrees that a $5-$10 dollar tip is acceptable for a haircut, the expectations may go up with the intensity of the service. “I have some clients who have tipped me upwards of $60 when I went the extra mile for them—it’s just an extra show of appreciation.”
Why Should You Always Tip?
Styling hair is a hairdresser’s livelihood. It’s their career. In much the same way that you tip a server when you go to a restaurant, you should always tip your hairdresser.
“Tips are highly appreciated,” Cobio says. “I have a couple [of] clients that don’t tip, and it really doesn’t bother me that they don’t. But what people need to realize is that as a stylist, we don’t get ‘paid vacations’ (or any PTO for that matter). If we don’t work, we don’t make money. So a lot of us work our butts off to include weekends and holidays just to be able to keep up.”
In a word, you should always tip as a courtesy to your stylist for how hard they work.
Ward explains that because tipping isn’t “required,” it’s always appreciated regardless of the amount. Hairdressers do their best to fit you in when it’s tight on their schedule, but she’s “known some stylists that won’t really try to wiggle in a client who never tips.” So, keep that in mind the next time you’re in a bind for time and need your hair done.
How Much To Tip for a Shampoo, Color and/or Blowout
There are plenty of different options for services you can choose from in a salon. Sometimes all you need is a quick shampoo to reset. We all know that getting a shampoo from a professional is just so much better than when we shampoo our hair ourselves. Like I said, they have magic in their fingertips. Sometimes you want to change everything and do a full color overhaul on your mane. So, depending on what you choose, how much should you tip?
Cobio points out that “some stylists have shampoo techs to provide shampoos. And it’s customary to tip those techs separately a few dollars.” For any other service, the same guideline applies for tipping $5-$10 an hour. Keep in mind that getting a shampoo may only take 10 minutes while getting your hair colored could take upwards of four hours. Plan your salon visit, and how much you can afford to tip, accordingly!
“If you’re getting color—with or without a cut—around $15 to sometimes even $30 is a standard tip,” Ward explains.
While it’s definitely a nice gesture to tip based on the number of hours the service took, if you simply can’t make that work for your budget, this standard tip is a good baseline to go off of.
What To Do if You Don’t Know Who Helped You
We all have bills we need to pay and a hairstylist is no different, regardless of whether they’re your friend or not. If you don’t know who had been helping you, you could either ask the receptionist at the end of the appointment and then walk the tip back over to the stylist, or you could have the receptionist simply add the tip to your payment.
What To Tip if You’re Using a Coupon or Getting a Discount
Let’s be honest: Discounts and coupons are big deciding factors in where I choose to shop, and I know they are for a lot of my friends as well. But how much should you tip if you’re getting a discount or have a coupon for a salon service?
“If you’re getting a discount, tip on the full amount of what it WOULD be,” Cobio explains. “The discount is money out of our pockets already. So tipping on what it would be is helping us to not lose AS much.”
Stylists typically buy all of the products and tools they use while they’re doing your hair. That comes out of their own pocket, which they have to recoup through charging for those services provided. If they choose to offer a discount on a product or service, that doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t spend that money upfront.
Should You Ever Not Tip at a Salon?
We’ve all had bad, and even sometimes horrible, experiences at a hair salon. Maybe the issue was that you felt your stylist didn’t listen to what you wanted at all. Maybe the issue was that you had unrealistic expectations, even if you can’t admit it. But do those less-than-ideal experiences deem it appropriate to not give a tip?
According to Cobio, that’s hard to say. “I’ve had services done where I felt rushed or the stylist was rude,” she admits. “In those instances I still tipped but it was just maybe $5.”
Ward believes there are two exceptions to tipping your stylist: “being treated terribly by the hairdresser, [or] them totally destroying your hair.”