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Peggy Post's Guide to Modern Manners: Should I Tip a Stylist Who Owns the Salon?

Your trickiest etiquette questions answered

Question: I live in an independent living facility, which has a beauty salon on the premises. I have lived here for five months and had my hair done twice. Each time the bill came to $50, and the services included color, a trim, and styling. The first time I tipped the stylist $7.50. The next time, the salon owner/operator performed the services, so I did not leave a tip. But a friend of mine insists I should have. Should I have tipped the owner as well?

Answer: Yes, you probably should have tipped the owner. These days, many—even most—owners accept tips from satisfied customers, especially at a salon where the owner charges the same as other stylists working there. To find out what’s typically done at your new salon, ask the salon receptionist or an administrator at the facility whether the owner accepts tips. You’re probably not the only resident wondering what to do. Or you can ask the owner directly. Just say, “I’m so pleased with what you’ve done and am wondering whether to tip you, since you’re the owner.” You’ll either hear, “Oh, thank you. That’s so nice of you!” or “As the owner, I don’t accept tips. But thanks anyway!”

Here are the standard percentages and sums for tipping at a hair salon. When you are attended by several people, base the tip only on the services each performed.

Hairdresser/stylist: 15-20 percent of the cost of the cut
Separate colorist: 15-20 percent of the cost of color
Separate shampooer: $2-$3, the higher amount if you’ve had extra care, such as special conditioning or extra latherings

Got a tricky etiquette dilemma? Send your questions to Peggy Post

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