If you’re lucky enough to indulge in a beauty treatment from time to time (or if you’re really really lucky, all the time) then you know the basic rules of salon etiquette. Standard things like don’t show up late, don’t cancel last minute, and don’t scream on your cell phone…you know, general codes of salon conduct. But there’s one thing about salon visits that still confuses customers—us included. How much to tip. What is the right amount to tip, who are you supposed to tip, and what’s the right etiquette when it comes time to dish out the cash? As Today reports, according to Elie Camoro, a top stylist at Frederic Fekkai in New York City, tipping your stylist is important, and not just because of the money. “You want to get the best personal care, and build up a rapport. You don’t want to fall into the other category at a big-scale salon, where every service is by appointment only. You want to be one of those clients who can call on a whim when you’re flying out of town and ask if we can fit you in,” she explains. And to build that kind of close connection to your salon and your salon technician, you need to show your appreciation, dedication and respect. And knowing how much to tip is a great way to express those sentiments.

While it might seem like a no-brainer to make tipping percentages part of your regular salon routine, there’s still a lot to consider when it comes to the logistics of those tips. So let’s get to the basics of how much to tip when it comes to salon services.

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Who Should Get It?
If you are getting your hair done, then there are probably a few people working on your strands—one person washes your hair, another person styles, one person blow-dries, and sometimes there’s even an assistant helping throughout the styling process. While the tips can certainly add up, each one of those people put in time and effort to help you achieve your finished look, so they all deserve some love. As InStyle reports, according to Francois Fortin, Senior Stylist at New York City’s Salon Ziba, “in the salon, you should tip your hairstylist, but also the people who come with your stylist—their assistant, the person shampooing your hair, and maybe the coat check if you leave anything there.”


How Much is the Right Amount?
The standard tip amount that is recommended is 20%, but of course, that number is flexible based on the service you received, the amount of time you spent at the salon, your level of satisfaction and the relationship you have with your stylist. According to aol.com “if you’ve developed a relationship with your hairstylists, we suggest you tip at least 20%, even 25%. While it may seem like too much, your hairstylist spends 1-2 hours on your hair, they deserve a proper thank you!”

If you received a quick touch up like a complimentary bang trip or you just tended to your roots with a hair colorist, Pop Sugar says you should tip about 10% of your full treatment (which can be anywhere between $5 and $20 depending on how expensive your salon is). The person who washes your hair should get between $3 and $5 depending on how intense and lengthy the process was, and if it was a really relaxing wash (we’re talking spa-treatment quality with a scalp massage) then more is definitely appreciated. When it comes to a manicure or pedicure, again, 20% is recommended, but adjust based on the details of your treatment… if you just got a polish change you might tip less, if you got an intense foot massage then more might be necessary. And lastly, if you are tipping for a wax or body treatment, start with 20%, consider what you had done and then go from there. In our opinion, a Brazilian bikini wax deserves a larger tip percentage than something less personal like an eyebrow wax.


How Should You Deliver the Tips?
These days some salons allow you to add tip to your salon credit card bill, which is certainly easier, but do your salon technicians have a preference? Most stylists prefer tips in cash because they get it right away and most salons prefer cash tips as well, because they pay a fee on every credit card transaction (with tips being considered a separate transaction). That said, if you choose to add the tip to your credit card bill, it is still greatly appreciated and is better than no tip at all. As for how to deliver the tip if you choose cash, some salons provide envelopes which you can label with your name, your stylist’s name and a note. But we think it’s best to go old school and give the tip by hand, so you can properly express your thanks face-to-face.


Should You Tip with Money or Give a Gift?
When the holidays roll around some clients prefer to give a gift instead of a cash tip, which is always nice and thoughtful, but reserve this practice unless you are close with your stylist and you know a gift item that they will use and appreciate. Otherwise money is the best way to go.

What if You Weren’t Pleased with Your Service?
Just as with a restaurant, if you aren’t happy with your service, your tip should reflect your opinion. That said, not tipping isn’t really an option; instead you should just tip less. Instead of 20%, give 10%, which will get your message across but still show thanks for the time spent on your treatment.

What if You Use a Coupon, Gift Card or Have a Salon Credit?
Lastly, if you used a coupon offer, gift card or discount when getting your treatment, you still need to tip on the full cost, regardless of what you paid. Ask what that treatment would have cost without your discount, and then tip based on that amount.