Picture of Kait James

Kait James

Tipping Etiquette in the Beauty Industry

Have you ever wondered what you should be tipping your beauty providers? Wondered what tipping etiquette is for the beauty industry? Have you ever felt awkward and didn’t necessarily know proper beauty industry tipping protocol or felt weird asking? Then this is the blog for you! 

How much are you supposed to tip in the beauty industry?

As with any service industry, the customary tip amount is 20%. However, this does vary a bit within the beauty industry as this industry is very niche and has a plethora of business setups. Let’s discuss this a bit more!  

Do you tip employees in the beauty industry?

100% you should be tipping employees within the beauty industry. Essentially, employees are those that are hired by the owner of the larger business to provide you with services. These employees are usually paid an hourly wage, meaning your tips are incredibly beneficial to their overall pay. This is going to be more common in larger practices and franchises, such as businesses like Massage Envy, nail salons, gym spas, etc., really anywhere that you see multiple team members providing services. 

Do you tip the owner of the business in the beauty industry?

It is not expected that you tip the business owner. So, for example, at Lux, I am the owner and I provide services. It is not mandatory or even expected that I, as the owner, receive a tip. Tips are certainly appreciated but never expected. 

Is it rude to not tip in the beauty industry?

The level of rude depends, again, on who is providing you your service. If you are being serviced by an employee and you do not tip, this is a bit hurtful to your beauty provider. They are hourly employees, and the tips are greatly appreciated and a general sign of respect; you are thanking them for proving you with a service. Similar to tipping your bartender; you are thanking them for proving you with an experience. 

Should I only tip if I enjoyed the service?

This is honestly an incredibly grey area, especially in the beauty industry. Many services within the beauty industry aren’t necessarily enjoyable. Obviously, massages and relaxing facials can be enjoyable. But a microneedle facial is honestly a bit of an annoying service; microneedles are certainly not something I would say are enjoyable. In the beauty industry, enjoyable doesn’t necessarily equate to good quality. You can receive a very good microneedle facial, even if you don’t necessarily enjoy it. 

What is the best way to tip in the beauty industry?

Are apps such as Venmo or CashApp okay to use for beauty industry tips?

CASH IS KING. Cash truly is the best tip. With the way credit card processing and apps are set up, a fee is taken out of the overall transaction. This can seriously cut into tips in the long term. So, for example, if on every $100 service, a 20% tip is added, we have a $120 transaction with an average of a 7% fee; this takes the total transaction down to $111.60. So, what was a $20 tip, or a 20% tip is now barely above 10% tip. This may not seem drastic, but let’s consider large scale. 

A beauty provider does $60,000 in sales. We add in a 20% tip, for a total of $12,000 in tips, and a grand total of $72,000. A 7% processing charge incurred via PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, etc. comes to a total of $5,040 in fees. 

So, while all tips are appreciated, a cash tip is even more appreciated.

Can I tip my beauty provider other than monetarily?

Again, cash is king. But beauty providers thoroughly just enjoy knowing that they are appreciated. I absolutely love when clients bring me small thank you’s in the form of candles, Starbucks gift cards, a nice coffee mug, a bottle of wine, etc. As a beauty provider, we truly enjoy making others feel good about themselves, so when our clients show their appreciation, it’s truly received in a very loving and blessed manner. It’s honestly less about the material or monetary aspects and more about the true appreciation and care that goes into our clients and the reciprocation of those bonds. 

Should I put my tip on my credit card charge?

This again goes back to the processing fees associated with transactions. Many nail studios have signs up at each station, showing your nail tech’s Venmo. As a large corporation, not only is the bigger business being charged a processing fee, but the tips are actually being added to their overall net income, meaning it plays into their taxes. 

So, for example, as a large business, your client has a $100 facial and adds a 20% tip to the card. Essentially, you are trying to tip your provider $20 but the overall processing fee takes it down to $11.60. Then the business has to pay taxes at the end of the year on the overall gross. This is why many businesses don’t allow tips to be put on card transactions. 

Many beauty providers working within a larger business will have framed examples of their Venmo, PayPal, CashApp, etc. so that you are able to tip them directly. This is incredibly helpful to your beauty provider and the business owner. 

Should I feel awkward asking my beauty provider about tipping?

You should never feel awkward to ask questions as long as you are asking them in a kind manner. Your beauty provider is incredibly used to addressing these conversations and they should be well versed on an answer. Client / provider relationships are so important within the beauty industry and should set the foundation for gentle conversation. 

What happens if I have multiple beauty providers that took care of me during my beauty appointment? How does tipping work then?

Let’s set the stage. You go into your favorite spa for a spa day. You get a facial by Kim, nails done by Kourt, Botox with Khloe, and a wax with Kylie. Kris owns the business and employees each of these beauty providers. (Can you tell I’m Kardashian obsessed? Lol). Essentially, you should be tipping each of the beauty providers individually. I know this sounds like a bit of a pain, but it is the proper etiquette as opposed to putting the 20% tip on the overall bill and the owner having to divvy up the tip amounts with the processing fees taken out. 

What if I truly had a horrible experience at my beauty appointment, do I still need to tip?

Honestly, no. If you truly had a horrible experience, you don’t need to tip. Now let’s not be a social media Karen and nitpick at the service. But let’s say, for example, you go in for an eyebrow wax, the waxing tech puts too much wax on your brow and waxes your entire brow off… this was a bad service. You’re practically traumatized. And now you look incredibly funny; you are missing a brow. This is a tech error, a bad experience, and you do not need to feel obligated to tip. However, you also don’t need to be hateful. At the end of the day, beauty providers are human, and human errors can occur. I promise you that they did not wax your entire brow off on purpose and they truly feel bad. 

This leads me into my next topic… 

When beauty providers are in school, and I am getting a service from a student, should I be tipping?

Tipping students is incredibly helpful. Beauty school is expensive. Many students are full time and don’t have a job or are potentially working part time to get through school. Tipping a student is incredibly kind. 

Many schools will have their own rules; some schools encourage tipping; some schools forbid it. You need to know what that school allows and follow suite. 

You also need to keep in mind that students are learning. You are their models. Many students are incredible. However, you don’t just become incredible immediately; you need experience. Be gentle with your student, know that they may be nervous and still finding their confidence. Also be aware that as students, they may very well mess up. The eyebrow example I gave above is honestly incredibly common. Soft wax is used on brows and soft wax spreads easily. Many students have accidentally waxed off a whole eyebrow. And more than likely, they cried about it after. 

Tipping etiquette for students is multi-level. If the school allows it, it is kind to tip your beauty provider. Tipping students is not only monetarily nice, but it is a bit of a confidence boost that many students need. This shows your appreciation for the service and shows your confidence in their abilities to provide the service. 

If I purchase a beauty package, should I tip the day I buy the package or tip as I work my way through the package?

This is entirely up to you! For example, you buy a package of 3 microneedles for $700. Should you tip an additional $140 the day you buy, or tip $45 at each appointment? This is honestly up to you. Your beauty providers are aware enough that they will learn your habits and patterns. If you tip the day you purchase the package, they’ll be appreciative and remember that. If you break the tips up by visit, they appreciate that too. Don’t be afraid to be vocal on these situations either. If you buy the package and want to tip as you go, say “I’ll give you a tip at each appointment.” The friendly reminder never hurts. 

It’s also important to keep in mind who will be providing each of the package services. This can vary in many situations. Example, if you buy a package of 3 massages at a spa that has 5 massage therapists, maybe don’t tip on the package but tip the day of each appointment and tip directly to who massages you that day. 


I don’t want to overcomplicate the tipping etiquette within the beauty industry. I think this blog provides you with a bit of insight and multiple examples of tipping etiquette. Overall, just show your appreciation to your providers. As a provider within the beauty industry, we TRULY care about making our clients feel good and place a priority on clients having positive experiences. We just truly appreciate being appreciated. We will go above and beyond when we know we are valued. 

Share This Post