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20-40-60 Etiquette---New tipping question!

Helen Ford Wallace by Helen Ford Wallace


By Callie Gordon, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace

QUESTION: I’m a little confused about tipping. I understand tipping a waiter/waitress who delivers food and drinks. They do not prepare or purchase the items, but are compensated simply for their service. What I don’t understand is the tipping protocol when I visit a beauty salon or manicure shop. I’m paying a specified fee for a service, not a product. So why is there an expectation of a tip, in addition to the advertised price? I don’t wish to be a “scrooge,” I would just like to understand the thinking behind it.

CALLIE’S ANSWER: Goodness! I’m going to tip someone who is doing my hair, nails and massage, etc. I want to make sure they will take care of me and not make me look bad. Don’t be a “scrooge.” Tip how you see fit.

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: This is a difficult topic because a tipping amount is a personal decision, and it can get expensive adding a certain percentage to a beauty service that’s necessary but already a stretch for tight budgets that have only gotten tighter in recent years. However, I’ve been trying to get better about factoring some sort of tip into my costs, even a small one, as I truly like the people I go to for these services, as well as the work they’re doing to make me look better. I did not know for a long time that there even was a tipping expectation, but in recent years have come to realize this. The Emily Post Institute recommends tipping 15 to 20 percent of the bill for these services as a way to show appreciation.

HELEN’S ANSWER: Certain services require tipping and, although I am probably not a good tipper, I do believe in tipping something, and especially if I love the results. Hair salons and manicure shops are a part of the customer service industry in my mind and require a little extra. If my bill is $100 to $200 for color, cut or a perm, I might not tip as much, but generally for a hairstyle, I try for 15 to 20 percent.

GUEST’S ANSWER: Linda Miller, author of Fashion Matters blog: Yes, there is an expectation of a tip. Even though we’re paying for specified work — a $25 manicure or $90 highlights — manicurists and hairstylists seem to fall into the “service” category. Of course, so does a plumber. I don’t know the thinking behind tipping at the salon; I just do it, mostly because I really like the results I get from my hairstylist and manicurist.

Callie Gordon is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email

Helen Ford Wallace
Helen Ford Wallace

Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She... read more ›

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