While you could Google it and come up with a multitude of answers, there are a few general guidelines when it comes to tipping in a salon. Of course, every salon is different, so look at these simply as general guidelines to direct you, not strict enforceable rules.
First, it’s common to tip your hairstylist. The percentage you tip is up to you. The tip should be looked at as a “thank you for doing my hair so well” gift, if that makes sense.
If you have your hair washed by an assistant, it’s not uncommon to give him or her a small tip as well. This can be a few dollars. More often than not, the stylist will tip their assistant at the end of a long work day.
If you are visiting a stylist who works in a private studio, don’t be thrown off that she is “technically” a salon owner and think that you shouldn’t tip her. If she worked on your hair, tipping is acceptable.
Stylists typically don’t rely on tips as much as waiters or waitresses do, but it’s a really simple way to say thanks if they do a great job.
If your stylist offers complimentary services (free bang trims, for example), you do not need to tip on those. Of course, you are welcome to tip whenever you would like, but complimentary services are often looked at as just that — complimentary.
If you need to return to a salon to have your hair fixed or adjusted, it is not necessary to tip for that service. Again, do whatever makes you feel comfortable, but your stylist should not assume that he or she will receive a tip.
Around the holidays, I see that clients tend to tip a little more than usual as a “holiday bonus.” That is a really kind way to thank your stylist for working on your hair. It is by no means expected, but if you are looking for a way to spread some holiday cheer, a tip slightly higher than usual is a surefire way to do that.
Again, keep in mind that this is a really personal decision. Tips aren’t factored into the price of services, so they are absolutely looked at as an “extra.”