We’ve all been there — our relaxing spa treatment comes to an end and before we’re even fully back to our senses, we’re faced with the ever-perplexing question of how much to tip. First, it’s important to know: Most people working these jobs count on tips. “It’s like in the restaurant industry,” says Christine Thompson, co-owner of Spoke & Weal salons. “Gratuity is a significant part of income for a hairstylist.” And for assistants making an hourly wage instead of a cut of services rendered, it’s “an important part of their survival,” says Thompson.
Where dining comes with a customary 18 to 20 percent gratuity, spa treatments never seem to be quite as straightforward. Since we don’t want your moment of relaxation to turn into a moment of stress, we talked with some leaders in the industry to present you with the 411 on tipping.
Meet the Experts:
How Much to Tip for Manicures and Other Nail Services
Cyndi Ramirez, founder of Chillhouse, tells Allure that when it comes to tipping nail services — whether a classic mani/pedi or a detailed gel application — 20 percent of the service is expected, unless it’s at a cheap salon, in which case she always tips 30 percent or more.
How Much to Tip for Haircuts, Hair Color, and Other Hair Treatments
“I generally believe people should tip anywhere between 15 to 25 percent on any of the hair services they receive, [based on] how happy they are with the service,” Chelsey Pickthorn, colorist and owner Pickthorn Studio, tells Allure. Stephanie Brown, another colorist in New York City, takes it a step further, telling us that it’s important to also tip all the people who come with your stylist — their assistant, the person shampooing your hair, the person blow-drying your hair, etc. — since they are a big part of the process.
Some salons, like Spoke & Weal, pool tips and divvy up the pot among stylists and assistants, but that isn’t common enough that you should assume yours does too. If your salon does not pool tips or your stylist does not “tip out” support staff, etiquette coach Mykia Meier suggests leaving about $4–$5 for a shampoo and around $8–$10 for a more time-intensive assist, such as a blow-dry (or $12 in a city where prices skew higher).
How Much to Tip for Facials, Waxing, and Other Spa Services
“It’s customary to provide an 18 to 20 percent gratuity for any spa service, no matter if it’s sugaring or a Biologique Recherche facial,” Angela Rosen, owner of Penelope & The Beauty Bar in Seattle and Daphne in New York City, tells Allure. “At our salons, we take the guesswork out for you by suggesting an 18 percent gratuity upon conclusion of your service.”