How Much to Tip Nail Salon
Posted on May 5, 2023
Whether you’re navigating nail salon etiquette for the first time, or just wondering how much to tip nail salon techs for different services, finding the right info can be hard. We’re here to help.
Jump to the Section You Like
- Should You Tip At A Nail Salon?
- How Much Should You Tip Your Nail Technician?
- How Much To Tip A Nail Technician For a Manicure?
- How Much to Tip Nail Salon For Gel Nails?
- Should You Tip If You Do Not Like Your Nails?
- When Should You Tip More For Your Nails Service?
Should You Tip At A Nail Salon?
Many people ask “are you supposed to tip your nail technician?”
Simply put, yes.
When you think about it, it’s a bit strange that our culture has widely-accepted amounts for tipping at restaurants, but we don’t have clear guides for how much to tip a nail tech.
It’s generally considered good etiquette to tip at the nail salon, and shows your appreciation for your nail artists. This is especially important if you want to develop a regular relationship with them and keep coming back.
How Much Should You Tip Your Nail Technician?
Deciding how much to tip a nail salon technician can seem tricky, especially when many nail techs provide multiple services to clients. While it’s always good practice to tip at the nail salon, the amount might vary depending on the service you’re getting.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor nail technicians are required to make at least the federal minimum wage, so they’re in a different category than restaurant servers and other tipped employees, who can sometimes be paid less than minimum wage.
In general the standard tip your nail tech should receive is around 15%-20% of the service cost, but you shouldn’t usually tip less than $4 or $5 if possible.
Let’s look at tipping nail technician staff in more detail…
How Much To Tip A Nail Technician For a Manicure?
While some customers like to tip their regular nail tech the same amount of money every time, the appropriate tip for nail technician services can change depending on the time spent on a service and the amount of work that goes into it.
A basic manicure is a good example, since it usually takes less time than a full set of acrylic nails to complete. So, you’re probably wondering how much to tip nail technician staff for a manicure.
If your nail artist is just doing a simple manicure, assuming the final price is around $20- $25, then you’re safe to tip $4-$5.
Remember: It’s always best to pay your full tip in cash if you can. Then, it goes straight to the nail technicians and it’s less paperwork and taxes for salon owners to deal with.
How Much To Tip At A Nail Salon For a Pedicure?
If you’re getting a pedicure (and not a full mani pedi), then you can increase your tips slightly to reflect the price and level of service. Since pedicures cost more money (and involve a lot of leaning over your toes), nail technician tips should go up, too.
The basic etiquette of how much to tip at nail salon appointments is the same, though. Depending on how much time they spend on your nails (and the price you’ll pay), you should usually tip from $5-$10.
If you’re getting a full mani pedi, try to pay about $10 in tips.
How Much to Tip Nail Salon For Gel Nails?
Next, you might be asking how much to tip nail salon for acrylics or gel nails. Since these are a multi-step process that nail techs need to spend more time on (and since it costs more money), consider upping your tipping game.
So, how much do you tip these nail techs?
Take a look at the price of your gel manicure or acrylics (along with how happy you are with your nail tech), and try for around a 20% tip, rounding up to the nearest dollar.
Should You Tip If You Do Not Like Your Nails?
And now we come to the complex question of how much to tip nail techs if you’re not happy with your nails.
Of course, tipping is not mandatory (but it’s considered good form to do it), so you’re under no obligation to tip at salons where you receive truly awful service.
On the other hand, if you’re unhappy with your nails, the better solution is usually just to say something while you’re still in the salon. Then, your nail tech or another staff member can correct any issues before you leave, in which case you should still consider tipping them.
When Should You Tip More For Your Nails Service?
There are some situations where you may want to go the extra mile in terms of how much to tip nail tech staff or salon employees, and a lot of it is intuitive.
Here are some examples:
Special Events - If you’re a large group that’s booked in for a bridal party or birthday event, then think about what to tip nail technician staff in terms of the extra work they’ll be doing for your special day. You may even want to bring along a small gift as a thank you.
Complex Appointments - How much do you tip for a manicure with nail art, a pedicure, and a paraffin treatment in one go? Adding a bit of extra cash to show you appreciate your technician’s hard work can go a long way here.
They Go the Extra Mile - If staff at your nail salon went above and beyond to help you, fit you in at the end of the day and stayed late, or just did an amazing job, then giving a generous tip (or even bringing a small gift to your next appointment) can how your appreciation and make the salon happy.
Do not miss our article on nail shapes.
Like many bits of etiquette, these are guidelines rather than hard and fast rules.
When deciding how much to tip nail salon staff, use your judgment based on the situation, how happy you are with your nails, and whether you want to become a regular client. It’s also important to keep your own budget in mind.
Restaurant tipping in a field experiment: How do customers tip when they receive too much change?
Don't tell me how much to tip: The influence of gratuity guidelines on consumers' favorability of the brand
Who do we tip and why? An empirical investigation