How Much Should You Tip a Hairdresser?

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Tipping is a common and often expected practice in hair salons. But do you know how much to tip a hairdresser? Maybe you’ve been to the hair salon and gotten a cut, color, or style you love and want to show your appreciation.

Or maybe you visited a new salon and didn’t really dig the results. Is a tip still warranted? If you’re like most people, you want to offer an acceptable tip to your stylist – without undertipping or overtipping.

You could leave 10%, 15%, 20%, or more. So where’s the sweet spot? In this post, we explain the salon etiquette for tipping your hairdresser.

We’ll show you how to decide which amount is right for your situation and when it’s appropriate to skip tipping altogether. Then we’ll give a few examples to show how much you might tip in different scenarios. 

How Much to Tip a Hairdresser

A tip is a percentage of the total bill, and is paid directly to the stylist. It’s paid in addition to the cost of the services you had done at the salon. Most salons don’t include tips or gratuity in the cost of their services, so you’ll need to decide how much you want to leave. 

Most clients leave a 15% or 20% tip for their stylist, but there are some exceptions. Here’s what you should know about how much to tip a hairdresser. 

When to Leave a 10% Tip

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Leaving a 10% tip isn’t the norm in hair salons. After putting in time and effort to get the results you wanted, be aware that some stylists will consider a 10% to be a personal slight against them, or a sign that you’re too cheap to tip “properly.” 

It’s also not uncommon for stylists to share tipping information with others in the salon, possibly making it harder for you to book an appointment afterward.

Ten percent is considered a low tip, but it is still acceptable in some situations. A tip of 10% might indicate: “I feel obligated to leave a tip, but I don’t want to leave much.” 

You can leave a 10% tip if…

  • You just came in for a quick trim or small service
  • Your hair is very short and didn’t take long for the stylist to do
  • You’re coming back in a short time for a more expensive service
  • You didn’t love the results of your cut, color, or style and won’t be returning

When to Leave a 15% Tip

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A 15% tip is the average amount left by clients for their stylists. This is a common tipping percentage in different industries. A 15% tip is always appropriate and appreciated.

If you’re on the fence about how much you should tip, opt to leave this amount. A 15% tip might indicate: “You did a good job on my hair, and you deserve a little something extra for your work.” 

You should leave a 15% tip if…

  • You came in for a regular salon visit
  • It’s your first time at a new salon
  • You liked the stylist/results
  • You’re unsure how much to tip your hairdresser
  • Your visit took an average amount of time
  • Your service was expensive, and you need to stay within a budget

When to Leave a 20% Tip

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A 20% tip is a little higher than the norm. But many salon regulars who have a good relationship with their stylist report leaving 20% tips each time they visit. In fact, I always tip my stylist 20%.

A 20% tip helps you forge a relationship with a new stylist by showing them how much you appreciate their expertise and time. A 20% tip might indicate: “You did a great job, I love the results, and I’ll be coming back.” 

You should leave a 20% tip if…

  • You love the results of your salon visit
  • You and your stylist have a good relationship
  • You want to forge a good relationship with a new stylist
  • Your stylist worked you in when there were no appointments available
  • You don’t visit the salon very often, but always come to the same stylist
  • Holidays or a stylist’s special occasion is coming up (wedding, baby shower, birthday, etc.)
  • Your stylist spent extra time on your hair to give you the results you wanted

When to Tip More Than 20%

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It doesn’t happen as often, but clients do tip more than 20% for their stylists in some situations. A big tip higher than 20% really stands out to a hairdresser.

It indicates, “My visit today was really something special. I’m blown away by the results, and I’m definitely coming back.” 

You should leave a tip more than 20% if…

  • Your stylist perfectly executed the cut/style/color you wanted, and you’re thrilled with it
  • The price of your visit was much lower than you expected and you feel it was worth more
  • Your stylist worked you in when there were no appointments available, or came in at a time they don’t usually work to make it convenient for you
  • Your stylist came to you or did your hair (or multiples) for a very special occasion 
  • Holidays or a stylist’s special occasion is coming up and you want to do something really special for them
  • Your stylist has been going through a rough patch (illness, finances, relationships, etc.) and you’re in a position to offer a larger tip in their time of need

When to Skip the Tip

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Let’s get this out there: Situations that warrant skipping the tip entirely are rare. Only the most dire of salon circumstances would call for leaving no tip at all.

Even if leaving the salon slightly dissatisfied with the results, most customers will still leave a 10% tip at minimum. But these situations do happen occasionally, and if you think one of them has happened to you, feel free to skip the tip.

You don’t have to leave a tip if…

  • The stylist says they don’t accept tips
  • The stylist ignored or “overrode” your wants (i.e., you asked for a 1” trim and they took off 3”) and it can’t easily be fixed 
  • The stylist genuinely damaged your hair with chemicals or heat and there’s no way to make it right
  • You’re back in for a “fix-it” visit from a previous mistake the stylist made
  • Another stylist or manager had to fix a big mistake your stylist made (in this case, you should tip the other stylist)

Flat Rate Tips

Tips don’t always have to be a figured-up percentage of the total cost of the service. Some customers find it easier to leave a flat rate dollar amount tip each time. It’s easier than figuring up a tip percentage each time and often results in a higher-than-average tip. 

This is especially useful if you’re paying in cash. Just make sure you’re leaving a tip that equals at least 15% of the total. 

Hairdresser Tipping Examples

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You don’t always know exactly how much you should tip your hairdresser. Here are a few scenarios where you might be unsure of your tip amount. 

Example 1: Good Stylist, Unsatisfactory Results

You really like your stylist, and they always do a good job. But today, something went wrong and your hair is not quite looking like you’d imagined. What should you do? 

Let your stylist know how you feel. One of the perks of having a regular hairdresser is developing honest and open communication.

If you don’t like something new they tried, or if they made a mistake, tell them. If it’s something they can fix for you, they’ll want to ensure you leave satisfied. 

You should still leave a 15% tip, or the amount you usually do. Everyone has an off day and makes mistakes – don’t let a one-off unsatisfactory experience mess up your relationship with a good stylist.  

Example 2: New Hairdresser and You’ll Come Back Often

If you’re visiting a new stylist and they really nail what you asked for, you’re probably feeling very appreciative. You’d like to leave a good tip, but plan on coming back often and don’t want to set the bar too high.

How much should you tip them? Finding a new stylist who “gets it” is such a wonderful experience. Finally, a place you can go and feel comfortable knowing they’ll bring your ideas to life as you envisioned them!

There’s a lot to be said for getting off on the right foot with a new stylist by leaving a good tip. But if you’re planning on coming in regularly after this visit, you may not want to leave such a large tip that your future tips seem cheap by comparison.

You can leave a 20% tip in this situation. Even if it brings the total a little higher than you planned for, the convenience and benefits of having a great stylist will far outweigh the cost.

After your initial visit, you can move to 15% tips, especially if you’ll be visiting regularly. Stylists understand that you’re spending more by coming in often and don’t expect big tips every time.

Example 3: Bad Results and They Can’t or Won’t Fix It

You visit a new salon or stylist and they’ve messed up your hair in a way that can’t be ignored. Maybe they cut too much off, dyed it the wrong shade, or gave you a style that’s wildly different from what you requested.

You let them know it’s a problem that needs to be fixed, but they either can’t fix it or refuse to. How do you handle the tip in this scenario? It really depends on the attitude of the hairdresser here.

If your stylist made an honest mistake and is apologetic about it, but there’s nothing they can do to fix it right away, be lenient.You can always withhold the tip.

But if you’re not truly upset, you should leave at least 10%. Mistakes do happen. If you have a stylist who apologizes for the problem and does what they can to make it right, it’s worth leaving a tip. 

If your stylist “doesn’t see the problem,” gets upset when you point it out, wants to charge you more to fix it, or just refuses to do anything to make it right, you don’t have to leave a tip.

Salons are social, customer-centric businesses and stylists rely on tips to indicate how satisfied their clients are. Maybe you’re dealing with a hairdresser who doesn’t care about your dissatisfaction.

In this case, they’ve already broken the salon etiquette. So you should feel obligation to leave a tip. But, as we said before, these instances are rare.

So, How Much Should You Tip at a Hair Salon?

Hair stylist working with a happy customer at his salon
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Hairdressers rely on tips for additional income and to indicate how satisfied their clients are with their work. Tip your hairdresser at least 10%, but preferably 15% or 20%.

If it’s an exceptional cut, color, or style, you can tip more than 20% to show your appreciation. Ten percent tips are considered low, but if you didn’t love the results or if your hair is very short, it’s acceptable.

If you had a bad experience at the salon and won’t be returning, or if an honest mistake was made and you may still come back, this amount may be appropriate. 

Fifteen to 20% tips are always welcomed and appreciated – you can’t go wrong with these amounts. If you liked or loved the results, are a regular or plan to be, or if it’s your first time at a new salon with a stylist you like, tip at least 15%.

Twenty percent is even better. Situations that warrant not leaving a tip are rare, but you don’t necessarily need to leave a tip if something went horribly wrong.

Remember: Stylists are doing a service for you, and it’s important to them that you leave satisfied. After all, once you’re out of the salon, your mane becomes a mobile billboard for their business. 

While You’re Here…
Andrew Helling
Author: Andrew Helling

Andrew Helling is the founder and editor of You Probably Need a Haircut. He graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he obtained a Finance and Banking degree. Andrew puts his creative mind to work by making platforms that make your life easier.