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Olga Markuse
Updated on July 24, 2021

Undoubtedly, having your hair done is so much more than just a new haircut or a fresh set of highlights – these are a few hours of pure, unrefined indulgence. We all once need to sit back, have a cup of good coffee and a relaxing head massage, and enjoy that delightful feeling of being listened to and looked after.

When you are being pampered and given more than just a hair service, inevitably, you want to give back more in return. However, while tipping is a nice way to show your gratitude and appreciation to your stylist, it can often seem awkward and uneasy. The main reason for it is a lack of transparency about how much to tip the hairdresser and who else you need to tip. To bring in some clarity, we have compiled main salon tipping etiquette guidelines for you.

Should I Tip My Hairdresser?

Think about gratuity as a gesture of good will rather than obligation. Whilst salon etiquette suggests tipping your hairdresser, it certainly is a matter of your personal preference. We’d like to reassure you that no one is expecting you to pay any extras if you don’t feel like it.

Are you still puzzled and not sure what to do? Here’s a quick checklist to help you:

  • Are you genuinely pleased with your new hair?
  • Have you had any special services, not included in your bill, e.g., a longer head massage or a special hair treatment?
  • Did the hairdresser had to squeeze you in for a last-minute appointment? Was it extra early or late?
  • Was your hair stylist nice to you and do you like them as a person?

If you answered positively to one or more of those questions, probably the right answer is “yes” – it would be nice to tip your hairdresser. At the end of the day, the whole idea of tips is about expressing your recognition of the excellent work of your hair stylist and building a relationship with them.

Hairdresser Blow Drying Client’s Hair

Freepik / @senivpetro

How Much to Tip for a Haircut?

The general rule of thumb is to give 15-20 percent gratuity to your hair stylist or barber. Say, if your haircut costs $50, it’s recommended to tip around $10.

Related Post: How to Get a Perfect Haircut

How Much to Tip for Hair Color?

The same 20 percent standard tip applies to hair color services. However, if you spent long hours in the salon and your hand-painted balayage or a set of immaculately seamless highlights look like a piece of art, you may be willing to increase your tip amount.

This particularly applies to the situations where your hairdresser needs to deal with some challenges like a box color that has gone wrong, three-inch roots or an overgrown haircut.

Who Should You Tip?

It is standard practice to tip separately for cutting and coloring services if those were provided by different stylists; however, giving some gratuity to the assistant is highly recommended, too. Often, they take on such important responsibilities as applying your toner and rinsing it all out just on time and blow-drying your hair, not to mention the head massage, which for many of us is the favorite part of the whole appointment. Therefore, passing a few dollars is a nice way to reward someone who looks after your hair.

Washing Hair at Hair Salon

Freepik / @diana-grytsku

Should You Tip if You Are not Happy with Your Haircut or Color?

The short answer is no, you don’t have to. Although gratuity is a deeply ingrained social norm, hairdressers won’t expect to be tipped when the service didn’t work out quite as great as expected. Also, you don’t have to tip for the correction of the service that initially went wrong (unless you go to a different stylist).

Average Wedding Hair Tip

Tip just as you normally would in a hair salon. Still, consider adding some extra if there happen any tricky situations that can make your hair stylist feel under pressure: like if you are running late or any of your bridesmaids is being extremely particular about their hair.

Elegant Wedding Hairstyle for Lond Blonde Hair

Freepik / @bristekjegor

Do You Tip for a Bang Trim?

Even though it is a quick, often free, service, it still requires time and effort from your hairdresser to do it right (just imagine your fringe cut too short or uneven!) $5 or $10 gratuity would be sufficient to show your gratitude for the favor.

Do You Tip the Owner of a Hair Salon?

This is a controversial question – as well as whether you should tip a mobile hairdresser or the stylist who is renting a chair in a salon and doesn’t have to split the money with their employer.

Let’s look at it from the perspective of why you actually want to tip. Would you do it only because you think they don’t make enough money, or would you like to praise your hairdresser for that extra mile, to bond with them and show them how happy you are with your new hairstyle?

We believe that it doesn’t matter if your hair stylist owns the salon; they still deserve to be tipped for their hard work.

When Is a Holiday Tip Appropriate?

We all know that around the Christmas season hair stylists are working their fingers to the bone to fit everyone in, so it is appropriate to reward them with some extra gratuity. On the other hand, holiday time involves a lot of spending, so if it’s difficult for you, just stick with your regular tip.

Stylist Creating a Hairstyle for Special Occasion

Freepik / @cookie-studio

Other Ways to be Grateful

Don’t worry if you are experiencing financially tough times – there are some alternative ways to pay back and show that you care about your hair stylist. Leaving them a banging review on social media is worth gold and will be highly appreciated. Also, little presents like a hand-written card for Christmas, or a small but thoughtful present won’t cost a fortune but will make your hairdresser feel special.

Featured Image via Freepik / @Racool_studio

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