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The bond between a person and his or her hairdresser is a sacred one. You are trusting a stranger to cut your hair, give you a fresh look, and keep you entertained while completing the service. While you may not think of your hairdresser often, treating a trusted professional with kindness and fairness makes you a preferred client. Do the right thing by doling out the correct tip for your haircut.

No matter where you go, there are basics of etiquette you should follow when engaging the service industry. It is traditional to tip at a salon because the hairdresser is performing a service directly on your behalf and is dedicated (at times) several hours of service to you. The cardinal rule and proper etiquette for tipping at salons in the United States is 20%. This is across the country as a general rule, although you may see various percentages in cities rather than towns.

Average Cost of Haircuts

In the United States, there are various markets with some saturated with hairdressers and a higher cost of living than cities. Expect to pay more in New York City when tipping a hairdresser than you’d pay in Jacksonville, Florida. According to Business Insider, women’s haircut prices in some cities across the United States are as follows:

  • New York City, $73.33
  • Los Angeles, $57
  • Chicago, $54
  • Miami, $26.33

The numbers for the same cities for men are as follows:

  • New York City, $36.67
  • Los Angeles, $34.33
  • Chicago, $32.22
  • Miami, $15.67

The cardinal tipping rule for salons and hairdressers is 20%. This counts for hairdressers, barbers, blow drying, makeup artists, and mainly any service at a salon.

How to Tip for a Haircut

Are you trying to calculate a tip for a haircut? Figuring out twenty percent is easier than you might think. Just remember, when you get a total and see your receipt – move the decimal, then double the number.

For example, if your total is a round number like $120.00, you move the decimal over by space. Now you have the number $12, which represents 10% of your total. Double the number $12 to get a total tip of $25. Use the trick for fun if you want to get better! What is 20% of 15? We move the decimal, get 1.5, double the number, and our total is three.

For a less round example, just take your dollar total, round it to the nearest dollar, and then calculate 20%. If your total is 147.89, round up to either 148 or 150 for simple math. If you are desperate, it is easy to pull out your phone calculator.

Don’t Make This Common Tipping Mistake

A common mistake among tippers that is made continuously is calculating 20% of the after-tax amount. When you get your final bill, make sure you look at the subtotal, not the total including taxes. Companies print out receipts with the total in much bolder numbers, so your eye is drawn to this amount.

If you pay $25 for a haircut and $25 for a blow-dry, your subtotal would be $50, but your total with a 7% sales tax would be $53.50. In just one transaction, tipping off the subtotal would be $10 but off the total would be $10.60. Over the years, you are talking about tipping the wrong amount on hundreds of transactions.

Be Sure to Bring Some Cash

When it comes time to pay a tip, it is a courtesy to bring some cash to your hairdresser. Bring some money because then you know your hairdresser can walk home with the money in his or her pocket.

A credit card transaction that includes the tip gets taxed and also the owner of the salon might take a cut of the pay. If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, you know that tipping in cash makes a massive difference in your day.

Once you establish yourself as a client of a particular hairdresser, you want them to look forward to your scheduled appointments not cringe at your name on the list.

How Much Should You Tip Your Hairdresser?

Using the 20% amount as a baseline, think about your tip amount. A hairdresser that does a great job could earn a tip closer to even 30%, especially if you are paying cash and then rounding up the amount.

When you are just starting out with a hairdresser, you might be inclined to tip a bit less. Once you’ve established a relationship, a trusted professional is well worth your money.

If you deal with several professionals during your time at the salon, you can split up your tip however you wish. Some people tell the hairdresser directly if they want some of their cash to go to another worker while others give it to the other worker directly. You may want to give money to the shampoo lady or the man greeting you at the reception desk. No need to go overboard, but a good job deserves recognition.

Do You Tip If Service is Bad?

In cases where your service is not excellent, you first need to face the situation directly. Start voicing your opinion right away if you are worried, ask for a correction, and make you look right before you walk out the door. Your stylist can’t help you if you don’t tell him or her that something is wrong. Remember – they want you to be happy!

Salon Etiquette for Customers and Stylists

Customers, guests, and employees of salons all follow necessary etiquette protocols in the workplace. Employees are working for you and do their best to make you feel comfortable, but it is with the potential of a tip at the end of the service. This includes everything from haircuts to manicures to eyebrow waxing. Do not overlook a tip with any salon service.


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