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Smart Living: How Much Should You Tip Your Hairdresser?

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Tipping hairdressers 101

Many people consider hair an important part of their appearance and want to keep up with it as much as possible. They don't want to make bad dye job mistakes at home or hair mistakes that make them look older, so they head to the salon and have a professional take care of it. There always seems to be questions that linger though, especially when it comes to tipping. Do you tip your hairdresser? If so, how much to tip? If you have these questions, read the following tips on tipping your hairdresser before making your next salon appointment.

Why do we tip hairdressers?

We tip hairdressers because it shows them we appreciate their service. They've taken the time to prepare for our hair appointment and do everything they can to ensure our hair comes out the way we want. Tipping shows sincere gratitude for a hairdresser's time and skill.

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Why is it important to tip hairdressers?

It's important to tip hairdressers for numerous reasons. For starters, it shows how much you appreciate your hairdresser's craft and encourages you to form a great working relationship with them. "Tipping a hairdresser is a great way to establish a better relationship with a salon you want to revisit and will encourage your hairdresser to do the best quality for you all the time," says Monica Davis, a professional hairstylist and founder of the MyStraightener blog.

It's also important to tip hairdressers so they can make a living. "Tips make up a huge portion of a hairdresser’s income," says Devin Toth, a hairstylist at Salon SCK in New York City. "Cash is king."

Hairdressers provide a service, and it's common courtesy to tip for that service. A good haircut and dye job can transform your hair, so why not show the person who did the job you appreciate their work?

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How much to tip your hairdresser for a haircut

Hopping in the salon chair for a cut? If so, you may be wondering how much to tip your hairdresser. Davis says any tip is highly appreciated, but the best way to tip is to leave an extra 18-20 percent if you enjoyed the service.

How much to tip your hairdresser for color and highlights

Alright, let's say you really want to change things up and get some new color in your locks. How much should you tip your hairdresser for this service? According to Toth, most clients tip 20 percent for color services. Toth also says you can ask the front desk to calculate 20 percent of the service, but if you buy haircare products at the salon, make sure their cost is not included in the tip's calculation. If your hairdresser really blew you away with their service, feel free to tip more.

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Should you tip your hairdresser if you use a gift certificate?

Let's say a loved one gets you a gift certificate to your salon. Technically, the service is prepaid for, so should you still tip your hairdresser? Toth says it's still nice to tip if you're using a gift certificate. Some salons may let you leave a tip with the money on the gift certificate, but if you aren't sure if that's allowed, call the salon ahead of time and ask. That way, you aren't left accidentally stiffing your hairdresser.

How much should you tip your hairdresser during the holidays?

Ah, the holidays. A time of cheer, gratitude, and lots of social events you want to look your best at. If you stop by the salon during the holidays, should you tip your hairdresser more? "The standard 18-20 percent tip will be more than ok, but you can also show extra appreciation by adding 10-15 percent more," Davis says.

Toth says that additional tipping around the holidays is completely up to the client. "Some people don’t tip any differently during the holiday season," Toth explains. "Others tip double what they normally would. Some round up by 50 or by the hundred. Some people tip the value of the entire service and even a lot more."

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At the end of the day, there's no standard rule for tipping your hairdresser during the holidays. However, if you want to show your gratitude and spread some holiday cheer to your stylist, tipping more can do the trick.

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Should you tip your hairdresser if you don't like their work?

Uh-oh. You're in the salon chair looking at your hair in the mirror, and you immediately know you aren't happy with the results. To tip, or not to tip? Davis says no because you shouldn't reward a bad job, but you should explain what you don't like. "Helping a hairdresser understand where they lack proficiency is the best way to tip if you don’t like the result," Davis explains. "Be polite, though. Everyone does mistakes."

People may still tip even if they don't like their results, though. "Most clients tip even on the rare occasion that they don’t like their results," Toth explains. "They still want to show gratitude for the hairdresser’s time and effort. They also know that sometimes there’s a little bit of trial and error with hair, especially with color services, and it’s usually understood that through communication their results will only get better and better over time while working with the same hairdresser."

There are arguments to be made for tipping and not tipping if you don't like a hairstylist's work, but the bottom line is that it's up to you. Just make sure you're polite about the situation and be completely honest with your hairdresser to get the results you want during your next appointment.

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Is it ever ok to not tip your hairdresser?

Davis says you're not expected to tip for this kind of service, so tipping is always optional. However, it's a generous way of showing gratitude to your hairdresser and can help you build a good relationship with them.

Bonus tips for tipping your hairdresser

Want to make your tips extra special? Toth provides these bonus tips for tipping your hairstylist:

  • There’s no wrong way to give a tip. You can leave cash, write a personal check, utilize apps like Venmo and PayPal, give the tip in person or in an envelope, a holiday card or a handwritten card, or simply leave it at the front desk for the hairdresser to pick up.
  • You can make tipping as fun and personal as you’d like. Some people leave cute messages or inside jokes on their tip envelopes, or even draw funny doodles. Toth says there's a client who always tips using only $2 bills!
  • Some of the best tips include referring your hairdresser to new clients, giving them social media shout-outs, writing them excellent Google and Yelp reviews, and continuing to come back as a loyal client.

When it comes to tipping your hairdresser, you're not expected to leave a tip. However, it's a great way to show the stylist you appreciate their work and admire their craft. Next, learn the things you're doing to your hair that hairstylists wouldn't.


  • Monica Davis, professional hairstylist and founder of the MyStraightener blog
  • Devin Toth, hairstylist at Salon SCK

The post How Much Should You Tip Your Hairdresser? appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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