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How To Tip for Beauty Services

Tipping is one of those things that no one likes to talk about. It’s the fastest way to kill that buzz from your (hopefully amazing) spa service. It can be awkward for you and for the service provider but don’t worry, after reading this post you won’t have to ever wonder about who, how much, and what to tip for again!

What Services Receive A Tip:

  • Facials- All facials performed by an esthetician
  • Hair- Color, cut, blow out/ styling, extension add ins, etc.
  • Massages
  • Nails
  • Tanning- This one always surprises people. This is for custom spray tanning only.
  • Waxing
  • Eyelash Extensions

What Services Don’t Receive a Tip:

  • Medical Spa Services- laser hair removal, botox, CoolSculpting, microneedling, etc. If a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse do your treatment you do not need to tip. In some states estheticians are allowed to do laser treatments and CoolSculpting. I personally would not tip them. I would ask the spa up front who does the treatment and if they charge you less for an esthetician to do it then by all means, tip them. But if they’re charging you market value for laser services you may as well go somewhere that a nurse does the treatment so you don’t feel obligated to tip.
  • If you get a facial by an esthetician at your dermatologist or med spa you DO tip them.
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractor- If you get a massage at your chiropractor’s office you DO need tip the massage therapist.

How Much Are You Supposed To Tip for Beauty Services?

I tip anywhere between 15-20% of the service price. Cash is always preferred, but no one will say no to the credit card tip line on the receipt. Also, Venmo is becoming a popular option.

*Do not tip for the price of products. For example, if you bought hair extensions for $500 and the stylist charges an additional $150 to install them ONLY TIP ON THE $150.

How Much Do You Tip if You Received a Discount?

You should still tip 15-20% on the original price—not the discounted price. Think of it this way- While you might have gotten a discount, the massage therapist still did the same amount of work.

Do You Tip if You Were Offered a Free Service?

Yes! Ask how much the service would have been and tip 15-20% of that.

*Influencers take note- If you are receiving a service in exchange for marketing you should still attempt to tip if an employee provided your service (sometimes they refuse). If the owner offered you the service and performed it herself then you don’t need to tip.

What if Money is Tight and Buying the Service Blew Your Savings?

I’ve definitely been here. I would still try to tip SOMETHING. Even if it is just $5. Cash is also a great option if you are going to tip less. If that is not an option, write a great review on Yelp or similar sites. Make sure to mention your service provider by their name so they get the referral business.

Also, keep in mind that the money you generously put out there comes back 10 fold. Keep your money mindset flowing and positive. You’d be surprised how money will start to appear when you need it most!

Should You Ever Not Tip?

Yes, I am a firm believer that tips should be earned. If the service provider was rude, did a horrible job, made you feel bad or uncomfortable, or didn’t listen to what you wanted then don’t feel obligated to tip.

Be sure to tell the front desk what happened so management can take care of the issue (and hopefully earn your business back).

If the person is doing their best, but you just don’t like their style, go ahead and tip (maybe not the full 20%, but still tip something). Just don’t book with them again.

What Is The “Service Fee” on Your Receipt?

Some spas add a service fee. If this is the case, that is your tip. You’ll see this more at resorts but some day spas also have service fees. This is when they automatically add a high percentage onto the massage or facial, so you don’t have to worry about it and ruin your vibe.

If you offer the therapist money and a tip is already being added to your bill, the therapist should inform you before accepting the tip. If you didn’t know that was the policy, feel free to keep your cash tip.

Do You Tip The Owner Of the Spa/ Salon If They Provided Your Service?

This is an interesting one because some people say yes and some say no. If they are the only staff member, I actually do not think you need to tip them since they get 100% of the proceeds from the service.

If it is in a salon/ spa with employees and the owners’ prices are more expensive than their staff, then I also wouldn’t tip. They are getting all of the money from the service already. Employees usually get paid hourly or a percentage of the service, and they aren’t making the profit that the owners do. Some may argue that the employees also don’t have all of the stress and overhead that owners have, but again, that should be factored into the pricing for the services, not your additional tip. This one is completely up to you.

What If They Refuse Your Tip?

Some people refuse to accept tips. It’s always awkward when you’re trying to hand someone cash and they won’t take it. I’ll try twice then stop pushing it. You can always gift them items instead like wine, chocolate, or a thank you card. No one can say no to that! Also, a positive review online or a personal referral is a great way to show someone you appreciate them!

It’s Your Money

At the end of the day, tipping is completely up to you- these are just some basic guidelines. If you have any questions feel free to leave them below in the comment section.

Love Lauren

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  1. This was such a great post! This is definitely something people are always curious to know more about! As a service provider I appreciate tips so much as they’re a large portion of my income, and this is super helpful for anyone needing clarity on how to tip!

  2. Good info! So, I started going to an esthetician who co-owns her spa with one other person. No other employees. I’ve tipped her every time. (2 times so far) Should I stop tipping her?

  3. In most provinces in Canada you do not tip massage therapists regardless of the workplace setting. Tipping is not given for registered massage therapist treatments in Canada as they are trained as regulated health professionals not personal care providers. But, if you have a relaxation massage provided by an esthetician, masseuse, or bodyworker then you would tip for the service.

  4. I have a person that will say I left a tip on the card. He never does I think that is rude when he comes into see me over and over again. Big Guy do massage. Can I refuse to work on himalways request me.