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August 29 2014

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The Envelope, Please: The Right Way To Leave A Tip At The Hair Salon

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Beauty Etiquetter is a new column on Beauty Counter in which we address your beauty protocol predicaments with candid advice from industry experts and those in-the-know. To submit a question, e-mail celia _ellenberg@condenast.com.

The Quandary: Will my stylist really know if I’ve left a tip in one of those little envelopes at the front desk, or is it best to hand it to him directly? How much should I be leaving?

The Expert in Residence: Adam Campbell, celebrity hairstylist at the Metodo Rossano Ferretti salon in Beverly Hills.

“It’s customary to tip 15 to 20 percent of the total service for your stylist, along with something for the assistant or shampoo person—five to twenty dollars is a good rule of thumb. But give more if she’s given you an extra massage during your shampoo, fed your parking meter, ordered your lunch, made you a special coffee or drink…It’s important to remember that unless your stylist is the owner of the salon, the salon will take anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of the service total, and that your stylist relies on those tips as a source of income. Most salons don’t allow you to add a gratuity on a credit card, so bring cash. If for some reason you’ve forgotten to bring cash, double up on your tip on the next visit or drop a check in the mail if it will be a long time before you see your stylist again.

It’s completely acceptable to either leave your tip at the front desk or to hand it to your stylist. Just don’t expect a long exchange if he’s already started the next client. It’s best not to interrupt and wait a moment to hand the tip to him. Usually my hands are full so [clients] either leave the envelope on my station or—depending how close we are—place it in my back pocket. When leaving cash at the front desk, include your name on the tiny envelope. I worked at a salon with a stylist who shared my name and when a client forgot to leave their name on it, it was often a difficult task at the end of the day to figure out who the tips belonged to!”

Photo: Courtesy of Rossano Ferretti

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