How Much to Tip an Esthetician

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Woman middle-aged lying in spa clinic with a standing Esthetician.

For information only. Not meant as advice in any form. Please consult your medical professional or lawyer.

After spending a relaxing day and receiving the best spa service, many clients face the ever-perplexing question of how much to tip their esthetician. While eating at restaurants usually comes with the customary 20% tip, the spa and salon etiquette for tipping never seems to be straightforward most of the time.

So how much is an acceptable tip for estheticians? The average tip for estheticians falls around the 15% to 20% range of the cost of the beauty service, but it’s still entirely up to the client if they want to give a more generous tip. If the client can’t provide tips for some reason, there are still a few more ways to show their gratitude to their service provider.

What’s the Best Amount to Tip Your Esthetician?

Getting your nails done, styling your hair, finishing massage therapy, or experiencing other beauty services are some of the little luxuries that around 173 million Americans routinely enjoy. These relaxing treatments are a great way to unwind from the stresses of everyday life. Although the latest trends are often talked about, tipping spa service providers is still a controversial topic in the beauty industry.

Good service in a salon or spa usually gets the esthetician a standard tip of about 15% to 20% of the service cost. However, more industry workers are encouraging clients to leave a more generous tip to their service provider because of the rising costs of living and other day-to-day expenses.

Why You Should Tip Your Esthetician

Estheticians should always be given tips, especially if they provided outstanding service to their clients. While being an esthetician sounds like a glamorous job, most pay structures for estheticians prevent them from taking a huge salary home.

Most estheticians employed in a spa or salon are paid per hour, but the average hourly rate hovers just above the minimum wage of the state. In addition to the hourly wage, estheticians may also be paid commissions that widely vary.

Commissions for estheticians may come as service-based or performance-based. Service-based commissions pay estheticians a portion of the beauty service they did, while performance-based commissions are based on the number of services they managed to complete within a specific pay period.

Since working in a spa or salon pays little for estheticians, most of them make ends meet by relying on tips. Tipping is a crucial part of the beauty industry, so clients are always encouraged to tip as a way to show their gratuity especially if they experienced exceptional service.

Many clients also give holiday tips to their favorite estheticians around the Christmas season. It’s usually bigger than the usual tip they leave their service providers with, but many guests give as much as the entire service cost for tips.

Recommended Cash Tip Per Service

Although most services have an acceptable tipping range of 15% to 20%, some treatments cost hundreds of dollars or require multiple sessions. If you’re in doubt, it’s best to ask the spa or salon owner about the tipping policy or recommendation they have for each service.

  • Manicure and other nail services – 20% of the cost or up to 30% for small salons
  • Hair styling, hair color, and other hair treatments – between 15% to 25%
  • Facial treatment, waxing, and other day spa services – around 18% to 20%
  • Eyebrow and eyelash services – about 20% of the cost

Recommended Cash Tip Per Location

Aside from the type of treatment, another thing to consider when handing tips to estheticians is the kind of place they work at.

  • Resort and hotel spas – about 18% to 20% if it’s not already included in the bill
  • Medical spa – depends on the service provided and the policy of each medical spa, but most of them don’t expect tips except for facial treatments
  • Club spa – about 15% to 20% of the total bill
  • Mineral springs spa – patrons usually tip about 15% to 20% of their bill

When You Don’t Have to Leave Tips

Tipping at medical spas is quite tricky because they offer medical and spa treatments. Med spa owners usually have different tipping policies, but the general rule of thumb is that clients don’t need to leave tips to a doctor or nurse practitioner. Tipping also doesn’t apply to any medical spa service like Botox, laser hair removal, microneedling, or anything performed by a medical professional. 

The main reason why these services don’t require tips is that they usually cost hundreds of dollars, so following the standard 15% to 20% is costly. These treatments are also considered medical instead of simply for aesthetic purposes, so tipping your medical service provider is like tipping your physician for standard medical treatment.

The intent is also a huge factor when it comes to tipping medical spa professionals. If a small gift is provided to the practitioner as a sign of gratuity or according to the patient’s culture, then it helps strengthen their client-provider relationship. But if the intent is to receive preferential treatment, then the provider is ethically obligated to decline the gift.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tipping Etiquettes

Since tipping is a gray area for many spa and salon goers, asking questions about certain situations can help clients understand this topic better. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about tipping etiquettes and what most salons or spas think about them:

1) Should I Tip in Cash, Credit, Debit, or In-Kind?

Cash tip is the best way to tip estheticians and anyone in the service industry. If you don’t have enough cash to tip your makeup artist, massage therapist, hair stylist, or nail technician, ask them if they have Venmo or Paypal name then send it according to their personal information.

Credit and debit cards also work, but estheticians have to wait a while to receive them along with their paychecks.The tips they receive this way also get taxed immediately, so it’s not really a preferred way to receive tips. Many estheticians also accept in-kind gifts as tips, like a gift card to Starbucks or tickets to a concert.

2) How Can I Show Gratitude Without Tipping?

If guests can’t leave a tip because they’re on a budget or because the spa refuses tips, then there are still a few other ways to show their gratuity to their service providers. You can leave online reviews on their Google profile, Yelp, website, or social media accounts. Another effective way is to recommend them to your friends or family who need the same treatment.

3) Should You Tip for Free Services?

Yes, because it’s the polite thing to do. The tip also goes directly to the esthetician or service provider. Ask how much the service originally was and tip around 15% to 20% based on that. Most influencers receive free services in exchange for marketing, but it’s still best to leave tips especially if the treatment was done by an employee instead of the salon owner.

4) What is the “Service Fee” For?

Service fees are often added to the bill when clients go to resorts or some day spas. This is already the tip for the treatment, so feel free to keep the cash tip. If a client offers a money tip to their esthetician, they should be informed that the tip is already added to the total bill as a “service fee” before the esthetician accepts it.

5) What if They Refuse My Tip?

Some service providers refuse tips, but most clients still attempt to hand the cash twice before stopping. If the esthetician doesn’t accept tips, try to give them other gifts or thank you cards instead. Leaving an online review or a personal referral is also a good way to show the salon or spa how much their services are appreciated.

Explore the Best Online Training Programs for Estheticians at FACE Med Store

Most estheticians rely on tips for the bulk of their monthly salary. So to earn more tips and offer more treatments to their clients, it’s useful for estheticians to complete additional training courses. At FACE Med Store, we offer a wide range of online training programs to help estheticians and other beauty providers widen their skill sets.

We also provide high-quality medical tools and supplies to different skin clinics, esthetician centers, and other beauty and healthcare facilities across the country. Call us today if you have questions about our products or online courses.

All content in this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not medical or legal advice. Please consult with lawyer or a medical professional.