How Much Money Should You Tip Your Hairdresser?

In a 2023 Pew Research Center study on American tipping culture, the think tank found that of the 12,000 people surveyed, 78% said they tip after getting a haircut, with 65% saying that they always tip. This, though, means that around 22% of the time, hairdressers, barbers, and stylists don't get a tip; however, as members of the service industry, hair care professionals rely on tips as part of their income. Though tipping hairdressers and barbers isn't specifically required when you visit, it clearly goes beyond simply being appreciated by these service workers when you do. Consider, tipping in the industry is so expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics includes tips in its wage data for barbers and hairstylists.

So the next time you visit a hair salon or barbershop, remember to also factor in a tip. Per tipping etiquette, a good rule to follow is to tip hairdressers 15% to 20% of your total bill. From there, you can either leave a bit more than 20% or tip closer to 15%, depending on what you got done (i.e., a complicated style or a simple trim), how happy you were with the service, and whether or not it's around the holidays.

Tips are part of a hairdresser's income

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, part-time work for hairdressers, barbers, and stylists isn't uncommon, which means every tip could prove that much more important. Per the statistics bureau, hairdressers, barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists earn $16.06 per hour — with those in the 10th percentile earning around $11 and those in the 90th percentile earning $29. Again, these numbers include tips, so when tips aren't left, we can see how that can change wages overall. With 15% to 20% being the industry standard, not receiving a tip is basically a 15% to 20% hit to earnings.

As for who to tip, etiquette says to tip anyone who worked on your hair, which could be one person (e.g., your longtime barber) or a few people (e.g., a hairstylist and a colorist). According to the Emily Post Institute, if you're working with a multiperson team, a 15% to 20% tip should be divided among team members, not given per person, as you would, say, tip a mover of a moving crew. This said, for the assistant who shampoos your hair or blow-dries it, since they aren't part of the styling team, you can leave them their own tip of $3 to $5.

Cash tips are preferred for a few reasons

When you visit the hair salon or barber, in addition to factoring in a tip to your overall estimate of what the trip will cost, also be sure to have cash on hand, in small denominations. One reason is that the business might not allow you to leave a tip with your credit card. And further, if you do, you may want to leave a bit more, as the business will pay a 1% to 3% credit card processing fee, then likely pass that along to the hairdresser, bringing their tip(s) down. So, having cash on hand is best.

Speaking to Real Simple, Daniel Post Senning, spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute, said of tipping hair care professionals, "Remember that the word 'gratuity' comes from 'gratitude.' Think of tipping less as an obligation and more of a way of being thankful for someone who is pampering you and making you look and feel your best." With this said, also remember to tip based on a service's original cost. So, if you have a coupon that discounts your hair appointment from $50 to $35, you should still tip your hairdresser 15% to 20% of $50.

For figuring out the tip, use the calculator on your phone — especially if you tip an amount that isn't 20% — and then round up. If you do tip 20%, you can calculate this simply by moving the decimal of your total bill to the left and then doubling it. For example, if the bill comes to $125, move the decimal to the left, for $12.50, and then double it to $25.