Salon Tipping: Know How and When to Tip Your Hairdresser and Salon Owners

Salon Tipping: Know How and When to Tip Your Hairdresser and Salon Owners

Understand salon tipping for your next appointment and walk away with confidence! Did you know that a tip is a gesture that is not expected but is almost always well received?

While 20% of the total service cost is considered the “standard” in tips, there are also salons that are no-tip environments. Tipping is largely a cultural attribute of North America, rewarding beauty professionals with an extra “thank you”, beyond the agreed upon service price.

Regardless of the way you may feel about tipping culture, I am here to give you some facts so you don’t worry about awkwardness in your next haircut appointment!

Hello there, my name is Susan Wos, I am a 30 year veteran cosmetologist, former salon owner and the founder of Salonspa Connection. I work with hairstylists, owners and a wide variety of beauty professionals across the world. Tipping is one of those conversations that can be emotionally charged, leaving salon clients wondering if they did the right thing.

Leaving Tips on a Credit Card in the Salon

Ok, we will get this one out of the way, fast. Generally speaking, salons do not want you to use a credit or debit card.

This is especially true with tips. You will even find salons that straight up do not allow tips on cards.

salon tipping guide

Table of Contents

not all hairstylists accept tips

Understand the Dynamics of Salons to Know the Best Way to Tip

In the salon industry you have employees, independent beauty professionals and owners. Tipping is customary unless otherwise stated on the salon’s website, appointment booking system or proclaimed on social media.

Independent stylists take home all of their income and do not split their salary with an owner- they get to keep all income generated in their business.

Employees that do not work in a no-tip salon, make a percentage or hourly wage of the service amount.

Owners are often the last to get paid, dealing with overhead, employee wages and all that goes into being an entrepreneur.

A great way to determine if a tip is the “norm” for a hairstylist is by the way they charge. Most salon professionals who charge by the hour, not by the service are no-tip salons.

If you are charged by the service, it is generally customary to tip. Tipping is always appreciated but never expected!

You should know if a gratuity is accepted prior to your appointment, and if you don’t just ask the front desk staff or your service provider.

Tipping Etiquette: How Does Your Hairstylist Feel About No Tip?

I personally have received a plethora of tips over my 30 year career as a hairdresser.  There are always those who choose not to tip, and that is OK too.

Do I remember who tips and who doesn’t? Yes.

Do I feel differently about those who tip vs those who don’t? That depends on how well we got on during your appointment.

In other words, if you were kind, appreciative, and were not what we would consider to be a difficult hair client, then not tipping wouldn’t bother me.

Now, if you were a more difficult personality, had unrealistic demands and were generally hard to please after I worked myself to death to make your hair look good, then I might be a bit put off that I didn’t get something extra for the effort.

photo showing an irritated salon professional after they did not receive a tip from a client
what hairstylists prefer you use to show gratuity

How do You Tip at a Hair Salon?

Cash is king an the salon! You may have noticed some salons outright ask you NOT to tip on a credit card or offer a cash discount. This is due to the percentage that credit and debit cards take from the overall service price.

If you don’t have cash, consider Venmo, Zelle, PayPal or a Cash App.

Can’t afford to tip? Even a couple of bucks is nice but is not expected!

If you want a way to show appreciation, a nice gesture is to tip.

A good relationship with your hairdresser is not dependent on if you tip, or how you tip. A bigger tip around the holidays or even a gift card goes a long way!

Is 20% a good tip for salon?

How much do you tip your hairdresser assistant?

A hairdresser’s assistant is usually straight out of cosmetology school and is in the salon to learn. They help to make the time when you get your hair done run seamlessly while getting real world experience.

Often, hair stylists will share tips with the associate, but some never see cash from the stylists they help. They are most certainly on the lower-end of the pay scale and appreciate a tip more than most.

Show the hard-working assistant how much you appreciate your beautiful blowout by taking the 15%-20 cost of the service you would tip your stylist and shave off a few dollars for the sweet associate.

Do you need to tip a Salon Owner?

Tipping the salon owner when they are your hairstylist is a controversial topic!  If you are the tipping type, any salon services whether performed by the salon manager, owner or employee is always a great way to say thank you.

Unless the owner of a salon has explicitly told you not to tip, assume that a tip is OK and welcome. Remember owners are often the last ones to get paid, especially when the salon is new.

How much to tip hairdressers on a holiday tip

Even the most non-tippingest tippers will go the extra mile during the holidays. Holidays, weddings, babies or special occasions are a great time to show your expert cut and color means the world to you and you care!

First, consider buying a gift for your hairdresser, like a card to their favorite restaurant or coffee shop. If you would rather give cold hard cash as a way to thank them for the relationship, that is OK too. $20-$200 is the range to consider as a gift-tip.


I hope you have found our guide and suggestions to be helpful! The best way to maneuver tipping is to tip at least 15 percent or 20 dollars for services over $100 OR what you want to tip is OK! There are no rules or expectations and a lot of stylists work in environments that do not accept gratuity.

Do what feels right, and acceptable to tip someone who consistently makes you look and feel your best.

Yours in service,

Susan Wos

suggestions on whether or not you should give a salon owner a tip