Tipping is a touchy subject. The rules change dramatically depending on the city, the country, and of course the person. As someone who has been in the service industry for years, I have often found myself getting into tipping debates and I have discovered that some people have very solid opinions on why they should or shouldn’t while others just have no idea what the standard is. And I’m just talking the restaurant biz here. God only knows what the rules are when you get a haircut, mani/pedi or facial! At least when you’re dining out you know to tip one person and one person only – your server. From that money they then tip their support staff accordingly so you don’t have to wrestle with division after polishing off a bottle of wine, because, let’s be honest, no one is winning in that scenario.
But when it comes to the salon world you’ve got more to worry about. In the hair salon there is the wonderful hair washer whose magic fingers massage your scalp in such a way that for a moment you are tempted to ask her to come work for you… then you remember you’re not J-Lo. And let us not forget the eager-to-please apprentice who brings you coffee and water and is truly sorry that he can’t offer you anything stronger (I am quite sure a ‘Bellini and Blowout’ combo would be a huge success).
If you’re in the beauty salon for your monthly maintenance you are likely to be fondled by many different hands as you switch between specialists based on their area of expertise. So how does one deal with that scenario?
Albeit a first world problem, it is one that can cause angst and panic because nobody wants to be ‘that customer’ who gets it wrong and then somehow is only ever offered the junior stylist because the seniors are all booked up until 2052. So what to do? Read on, View the Vibe is here for you…
Hair Salon Etiquette
When I arrived in Toronto in 2005, I was incredibly lucky to be introduced to one of the best stylists in the city, Paul Taylor. Since that day almost 9 years ago when he first worked his magic on my bodiless mop, I have had only his fingers tend to my tendrils and I have never doubted that I would walk away from his chair feeling anything but fabulous. So when I was assigned this article, it was Paul that I contacted to hear an inside view on the whole tipping thing. He has been in the industry for over 20 years so he knows his stuff. The first thing that Paul said when I asked him about receiving tips from his customers is, “It is a privilege, not a right.” And that right there is the stamp of a pro.
Tipping is not expected but it is appreciated. Although some may not agree or understand, my opinion is that stylists are not simply ‘hairdressers’ but artists (not all, there are of course exceptions). If you have found someone who consistently makes you whip your hair back and forth, a 15 to 20% tip is suggested and will show your appreciation. If you’re trying someone new and they totally screw it up… run for the hills and don’t look back, you’re probably going to need to hide there for a couple months until it grows out. Oh and no tip required.
As for the young guns who are shampooing your hair and serving you coffee, Paul advises that they are likely stylists in training. If they are friendly, warm and able to make you feel at ease, a small amount ($5+) will mean the world to them and maybe encourage them to work even harder.
Beauty Salon Etiquette
As is the case with my hair, I am pretty specific about my beauty house of choice, particularly when it comes to waxing… I know you ladies know what I’m talking about. If you visit the same location to get a variety of treatments done, you will likely be in the hands of at least two beauty therapists. As they are both providing you a separate service, they should be tipped individually. Most salons will do the work for you and ensure that each therapist gets what they are due. If you are not sure just quietly check when you’re cashing out that your coin is going where it should.
The same rule applies for the percentage. If you receive excellent service a 15 to 20% tip is suggested. If the quality and attitude doesn’t call for it, adjust as necessary and maybe consider trying someone new next time.
Tipping is really a personal thing and something that is left entirely to your discretion as a client. But keep in mind that whether it is your hair stylist or your esthetician, those in the beauty industry (the good ones at least) spend 10 to 12 hours a day on their feet working and creating to make their clients feel like a million bucks. They attend seminars year round and are in constant training so that they may perfect their craft and bring new ideas and beauty solutions to you, the client. But even as their capabilities rise the same isn’t always said for the pay they receive. Show them your appreciation and you are sure to continue a long, mutually beneficial relationship!
Thank you to Paul for chatting with me about this touchy subject. If your tresses are in need of a fix, you can find him at JC Salons at 2326 Bloor Street West.