Monday, January 31, 2011

Back to Basics: Tipping Your Hairdresser


I took a poll last week to see what you all had to say about tipping your barbers, hair stylists, hair artists, and hairdressers.  The poll arose after a conversation with some friends on the topic.  I was surprised that we disagreed over the proper amount to tip.  I had always assumed that it was a pretty general rule.  

So, I decided to ask you, dear readers, what you thought.

The votes were few, but the poll results were overwhelming:  75% of you tip your hairdressers 20%.

Is this right?  How much are you supposed to tip your hairdresser?

Ding ding ding!  You were right, my savvy friends.  According to the queen of etiquette herself, Emily Post, it is appropriate to tip hairdressers from 15%-20%.  And, um, not to contradict Ms. Post, but 15% seems kind of chinzy to me.  Just sayin'.   So, let's call it 20%, shall we?

Some of you may be thinking, "But my cut AND color are expensive.  Am I supposed to tip 20% of the TOTAL?  Eek!"  Short answer:  Yes.  Long answer:  Yes; that total reflects the work performed for you, and is the amount from which the tip should be calculated.

Here's another wrinkle:  I clearly recall my mother telling me that you weren't expected to tip the hairdresser when they own the salon.  She was so certain of this that I chased down an answer for this nuance of the broader question.  What I found:  It wasn't expected/comfortable to tip the hairdresser-slash-salon owner in the past, but it is now expected that you do so, unless they have clearly stated otherwise.

So, mom was right, but things have changed a bit, so continue to tip your hairdresser 20% even if they own the salon.



From "Chignon" the movie, which I did not know existed but now MUST SEE.
Do I tip anyone else?

Lest we all start feeling like ATMs as we waltz around the salon, handing out tips to everyone, I hasten to add that there is one more person who should receive gratuity during your time at the hairdresser.   This is the shampooer.  The shampooer should receive $2. 

Why?  Because it's their job to wash people's hair all day, and they just washed yours.

photo credit
Let me just say that I adore my hairdresser.  I found her quite by accident about five years ago when I needed someone lovely to perfect my updo for my wedding to Proper Husband.  She's so fantastic, that I've been with her ever since.  This includes three salon changes along the way!

As every postmodern girl on the go knows, having the right hairdresser is right up there with drinking enough water.  It's hard to do, but worth the effort, and once you achieve it, it's awesome.  So, a shout-out to my friend and hair stylist, and happy tipping to you all.

From highlights to lowlights,
Proper Paige

25 comments:

Jenny said...

Oh I just had this dilemma! I was in for cut and color, and had the cash to tip my stylist 20%. (It can be very challenging when tips are not allowed on your charge/tab..) But my stylist was fully booked, doing 2 cut/colors, alternating the 2 clients. So someone else shampooed me. I was hearing voices in my head about tips for the shampoo drudge, but this wasnt a normal situation. At this salon, your stylist does it all. This was a one time deal. So I did nothing. I wasnt prepared, mentally, or with the appropriate greens. Sigh.

I left wondering if there was a faux pas there, but what's done is done.

About Danielle said...

I just had a situation where there were three different people on my hair! EEK! I had my colorist, my shampooer and a dryer! I was a bit overwhelmed by the tipping pool. 100% agree with the 20% rule!

Erin @ Domestic Adventure said...

Shoot! I missed your poll! But, I would have been in the 20% mix, which I cringe over when I actually have to fill in that line on the credit card slip. But, it's the right thing to do...

Cristy said...

I did the poll and my % was right, whew! But I am glad to have the owner question settled. And to confirm shampooer tippage!
Good job!

la petite coquine said...

In total agreement, as always!

jtanny said...

So... $2 for the hair washer is ok? Even after tipping the stylist 20% (which on a cut and color usually can mean over $20)? Doesn't $2 seem really low -- I would be afraid the hair washer would be offended (like when someone leaves 25 cents at a restaurant...)

Carrie said...

What about dog groomers? Do I tip my groomer 20% just like I tip my hairdresser?

Hair-Raising Hell said...

I work in a salon and I agree that people should absolutely tip twenty percent if they can afford to.

However, if one can not afford to tip, it should not disqualify them from receiving services. Stylists are extremely well-paid.

My blog, where disclose all of the real secrets from the hair salon... ....including why it's okay to not tip:

http://www.mynameisntmediumcoffee.com/2011/09/secrets-from-salon-what-you-should-tip.html

Beautiful chignon pictures, by the way!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that some people are tipped and others are not? Why are we supposed to tip a cab driver, a hair stylist and a waiter, but not a shop assistant, an admin assistant or a nurse? Everybody works for their money, why do only some qualify for a tip?

Proper Paige said...

@Anonymous -- That's a really good question. The short answer is that it's cultural. Who expects to be tipped for what service varies in different countries, and I find it interesting where we "net out" on this in the US.

Ally said...

I just dealt with this today actually! I used to live in a smaller town, where a cut at the salon was $25-$30, and I always tipped $5 (right around the 20% mark). I recently moved to a larger city where the same cut costs $45-50! Since the cost of the cut almost doubled, do I really need to double my tip too?? I don't want to be stingy, just trying to adjust to life in the city I guess.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous! I am a waitress and most waitresses make between $2.70 - $4.80 an hour maybe $5.00 an hour depending on the state. Plus waitress make a tip of 15- 20 % depending on food bill. Many people don't even tip that. So how is it that you are expected to tip a trained professional who is making at least $12 dollars an hour 15 - 20 % it doesn't make any sense. I do agree that is you are satisfied with your service you should tip but 15 - 20% is ridiculous. I think it should be between 7-10% of the bill. The shampooers tip should come out of that. It should be like a restaurant where at the end of the day its up to the restaurant staff to separate the tip between everyone ( bus boys, food runners, bouncers, bar tender, waiter) who it should be split among. Yes depending on the place a 15% tip gets split between all these people which two of four are making only the $4.00 an hour (the other two 8- 11 an hour.) The bartender gets 3-5% the busboy and bouncer gets 1-3% each. So the waitress is left with around 5-7%. Yes, you don't have to be a professional to be a waiter/waitress but stylist salaries should cover their education/training. Some salons rent out booths so the stylist is self employed so it is up to them to set their prices and bring in their own customers. So they control how much they make. A waitress only makes the hourly rate and could be asked to go home if there aren't any/many customers. Other salons hire stylist and they are salaried. Other salons have percentage policy with their stylist. It is usually a 60/ 40 % policy. Which is the stylist and the salon are both responsible to bring in customers and the salon gets 40% of the service cost and the stylist gets 60%. That may be the other way around. So for a simple hair cut that may not be much but it usually take 20 minutes for a simple hair cut (guy.) For a color job which takes about 2 hours and cost usually around 80 bucks that is at least 15 dollars an hour and a 5% tip.

Anonymous said...

To help everyone feel a lil better about tipping, I like to think of it this way.....hairdressers so not get paid vacation, sick days, or health insurance! And most do not make an hourly rage so they could go from making Zero today and 300 the next so the tips help and not mention they usually listen to all your griping and gossiping!!! Love my hairdresser and she alwaysn,Ames the salon experience relaxing and so inviting I could go everyday:))

Anonymous said...

Just went to a "fancy" salon for the first time yesterday where they had a separate shampooer. When I added the tip to my bill I tipped 25% assuming they would split it between the two. It actually worked out to 20% for the stylist & $2 for the shampooer. They didn't ask me how to split it but I assume it happens all the time-one tip added to the bill. I wasn't totally sure of the etiquette beforehand but when I go back (they did a great job) I'll be armed with cash!

Mal said...

Was just wondering this and found this post in answer to my google search. It's ok to tip only on services right? About every other visit I purchase my shampoo and conditioner from my salon on top of my wet cut which adds almost $30 to my total but I've always just done 20% (actually I've always just done $7 but it turns out that's right around 20% so whew!) on the total for services.

Anonymous said...

The only one of these that depends on tip solely for their income is waiters and bartenders. When you think about a waiter making $2.13 an hour you should have no problem tipping. All of the food and beverage industry pays their bills 100% from tipping. The rest like hairdressers is all about etiquette.

Anonymous said...

I agree waiters and bartenders are the only ones in this list that should be tipped for their services. Not saying that hairdressers should not be tipped at all. I really don't see a reason to tip hairdressers and 20 percent seems very high when the norm for wait staff is 15 percent and that waiter only makes 2.13 an hour. I do believe in slipping the shampooer a few bucks, but not the hairdresser. I feel the same about pet groomers too. My groomer charges 35 dollars to do my 8 pound dog. I stayed the last time to watch her. from bath to blowdry to clipping took 25 minutes. I don't make 70 dollars, so why should I have to tip? please don't say "to insure promp service." That is crock of bull, because anyone that would stick it to you after paying your hard earned money is playing with fire and in the long run will lose customers. Why don't we tip the mailman, the cashier, the dmv worker, the dentist, the vet, I mean really after spending 180.00 for cut and highlights I think it is just plain greedy for hairstylist to expect 20 percent when we all know that the products cost 3,00 bucks. Yes there is overhead for running a salon, but this applies to any other business as well. I think it's that big fat elefant in the room that no one talks about....

Vicky Versaci said...

I'm in the UK and work as a hair stylist. It is lovely when clients tip but it is never expected and I would certainly never think badly of somebody if they didn't tip. As for 20%,that seems incredibly high. A cut and finish in my salon costs £31 and my average tip is £1-£2 so not even 10%. Some clients are very generous and I may receive £5 after a cut and colour service which could cost around £90. There do seem to be very different rules in the USA but I would say that to receive no tip is preferable to receiving a fist full of coppers! It always seems a little insulting! I'm now fantasising about receiving 20% of everything and actually being able to afford a holiday!!

Alexys kody said...

I am a hairdresser, now mind you I'm not in a fancy salon but I'm not in supercuts either. just a nice mid-grade salon. Before you consider not tipping remember this, yes i went to school, and i have student loans just like most other hairdressers, i work on commission which means that everything i do to you i split in half with the salon, so if i only do your 30.00 haircut for the whole day and have no other clients i only made 15.00 all day. In this economy not tipping anyone who does you a service and is not paid an hourly wage is utterly unacceptable. some stylists do make hourly but that's usually at places like smartstyles, hair cuttery or really high end salons. i wish i made 12.00/hour. most stylists are paid like I am on a commission base and my 50% commission is considered on the high end. and if we all stopped doing what we love and are good at to go do an hourly job who's going to cut/color your hair then?

Anonymous said...

First of all, I think tipping is an outrageous custom. Workers should be paid a fair salary not a salary that should be compensated by a tip. My hairdresser co-owns a salon with 1 other person. Her costs are comparable with many salons in the area. She requests payment in cash or with a blank check and fills in her name, not the company name. I do tip but not 20%. I think tipping does depend on where your hairdresser works, if she or he is an owner, etc. For touch-up color , cut and blow dry I pay $95....for 1 hours work. Even at 50% thats $47 my hair dresser gets for an hours work. She makes her own hours and actually turns away customers so she can work only the hours she wants. I, on the other hand work an 8 hour day in customer service in a 3 person office and need to work 3 hours to earn $47. I have no medical benefits, my salary is determined on a yearly basis so vacation time is figured into my hourly rate. I get no tip for my services. And my entire salary is subject to taxes. As a private business owner my hairdresser does very well and she decides what amount of her income is declared as taxable. I seriously doubt she declaring the full amount of payment she receives, especially since she give no receipts, therefore there is no individual record of each transaction. So I see no reason to tip 20% over and above the price she determines for her services. 10% is the maximum I give her.

Anonymous said...

I think it is ridiculous to tip hairdressers 20 percent, and I truly resent the expectation and continued advice to do so. I am charged $100 for an hour of her time, in which she staggers two clients, cutting and blowdrying one while the other's color processes. That's a pretty nice chunk of change! I do understand expenses involved in running your own business. I am a self employed professional with all associated office expenses and my clients do not tip me. I also do not have paid vacation, sick leave, medical or dental. This should not factor into it. I want the price to be the price without having to factor in an additional amount. Just tell me what you want up front ; is that so hard?

Tabitha's creations said...

Your stylist must pay for all the supplies used as well as tools and their education. Waitresses do not have to buy the food, drink, cups, plates etc that you use to serve your customers like your stylist does.

keeperofmyhome said...

Reading all the comments about why hairdressers should receive tips, makes me think that auto mechanics should receive tips also. When my husband worked as a mechanic, he had to have all his own tools, which cost thousands of dollars. He only got paid for the cars he worked on and it was a small percentage of what the customer paid. In some shops he worked at, he would only work on a car a day. Can't feed a family on that. Plus, he had to listen to everyone accuse him of ripping them off (because that's what mechanics do, don't ya know?) I'm so glad he teaches now. It's not much, but it's steady.

Anonymous said...

If we are to based tipping on a worker's salary, we NEED to be tipping teachers, nurses, or anyone who doesn't have a full time job with benefits. Nurses and CNAs are asked to go home if census is low and some work per diem only. But I am biased towards that since I'm in healthcare.

LindyLoo said...

I always tip my stylist because she does a wonderful job. However, tipping 20% seems excessive. My cut & color usually costs around $150 for 2 hours. That's $75/hour... and if she splits if 50/50 with the owner (which I know she does), then she makes $75 from my service. I usually then tip $15 after my service, which brings her total to $90. I think that is more than fair. I work hard for my money, and it's unfair to ask people to subsidize the incomes of other professions because of the lack of holiday pay, sick days, healthcare, etc.