Let’s face it – tipping your hair stylist (and hair stylist’s assistant) can be confusing. Am I tipping enough? Not enough? What about tipping on salon specials and/or discounts, etc? Never fear! A stylist is here to answer all of those questions. Thanks, Tera!
I was recently asked by my pal and client Sarah of Hair Thursday if I would write about properly tipping assistants and stylists in the salon. I’m not sure why it hasn’t dawned on me to write about this because I do get asked the question often when I’m working. So here is a little Q & A about what I know and what I think. If you have any other questions I haven’t answered, please feel free to ask it in the comments below!
What should I tip my stylist?
You stylist is performing a service and should be tipped between 15-20% of the price of the service depending on how you enjoyed the service. If you stylist is running on schedule, really listened to what you had to say about your hair and gave you exactly what you had in mind then tip on the higher end of the scale. In some cases, your service may be discounted for whatever reason; it is then expected that you add gratuity on the original price of the service.
What should I tip the assistant?
This depends on exactly what she did for you. If she only shampoos your hair for a cut then $3-$5 is fair. Again, if it is a shampoo that relaxes you to the point of drooling go for the higher end of that scale. If she applies your tint and then shampoos your hair, $5-$8 is acceptable. Some clients get a double process color that requires more than one shampoo, in this case she would really appreciate $8-$10.
Disclaimer: These rates are based on average stylist pricing in Newport Beach, CA. Depending on where you live, it may be higher or lower!
What is the purpose of the assistant?
It was my dream from the day I set foot into beauty school to have an assistant. All of the top stylists I respected worked with assistants and that was because they were so good and so busy that having help was the only way to manage their client base.
As an assistant, I looked for the stylist that I thought did the best work in my area. He saw approximately 30 clients a day, did amazing hair and with that came a lot of money. And let’s face it, as much as I love what I do, at the end of the day it is about the money!
As a stylist, I love working with an assistant for many reasons. It gives me daily opportunities to teach, which makes me better at what I do. Every client gives me a chance to show my assistant something that will help her be a great stylist in the future; whether is is customer service, terminology, color formulation, cutting techniques or blow drying. She helps by mixing up color, applying tints, cleaning up and doing shampoos. This allows me to see more clients in a day so I have better availability and to let me really focus on a haircut or color technique. My assistant runs my life in the salon and I honestly believe it has freed me up to do my best work.
I pay a lot of money to see my stylist. What if I’m not comfortable having the assistant apply my color?
As a stylist, I would never allow my assistant to apply color if I wasn’t totally confident she would do it properly. She has been fully trained in my technique and must be given the opportunity to use what she has learned. If a client is adamant that I apply her color and I have time, I will happily oblige. I did have to train my clientele that this is the way I work when I first started working with an assistant and most are quite comfortable with the process now.
I believe this topic is covered but again, feel free to ask away if you think of something else I can add to it!