Tipping 101: How Much to Tip for Common Beauty Services

Rachel Krause
Stefano Oppo/Cultura/Getty Images

Stefano Oppo/Cultura/Getty Images

A much-discussed practice, tipping is the unseen force behind awkward check-splitting and using math skills we thought went the way of high school classes. Similarly, figuring out how much to tip for beauty services can be tough—the rules vary from service to service, and there’s nothing more embarrassing than handing over what you didn’t realize was an insufficient tip. Awkward moments no more: just follow these guidelines, and you’ll never have to fumble over your phone calculator again.

For Most Procedures (Haircut or Color, Manicures and Pedicures, Facials)
Just as we’ve been taught, 15 to 20 percent before taxes is totally fair. Of course, if you’re absolutely in love with the results of your service, adding a few more bucks to the standard percentage is always acceptable.

For a More Involved Treatment, Like a Double Process or Color Correction
It’s not required to tip more—as in, you won’t be considered a jerk if you don’t—but if your hairstylist, facialist, or nail gal has really devoted a lot of time and effort to making sure your treatment is perfect, you may want to consider tipping more than you generally would for a similar service.

For a Free Bang Trim
Many salons offer complimentary bang trims in between haircuts. Given that they’re complimentary, and that your stylist is taking time to do the service for free, $5 to $15 is the ideal range, depending on how much TLC your bangs need.

For the Salon Owner
There are some dissenting opinions about this one, but the general rule is that if your service is done by the owner of the salon, a tip isn’t necessary. If you’re really pleased with the results or want to show your gratitude (they call it gratuity for a reason!), go ahead and add a tip—but don’t feel like it’s a requirement, or rude if you don’t.

For the Stylist’s Assistant
While some stylists and colorists do services themselves from start to finish, plenty of them have designated assistants who help them significantly during the process, like washing hair and blowdrying. In these cases, $10 to $20 is the perfect amount—if they’re super involved, consider erring on the higher end of the spectrum. As with most tipping practices, you should use the amount of time and effort they’ve spent on you to gauge the best tip.

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