How much to tip for a free trim?
November 17, 2008 4:05 PM   Subscribe

How much should I tip for a free hair trim? I just got my hair cut last week, and after playing with it for a few days, I'm not thrilled. I'm going back to the same place to get it trimmed later this week for free, and need to know how much I should tip the stylist.

This is my regular stylist, and my regular hair place. The cut isn't terrible, but it isn't exactly what I want, and she's done this cut better in the past, so I feel reasonably certain that with a little tweaking, she can make this a good cut. While she was cutting it I thought it was okay, but now that I'm styling it myself, I'm noticing that the layering is sloppier and in general, it's just not as nicely cut as it usually is.

In the past 6 months I went from long hair to short hair, and during the transition she mentioned a few times that I could come in for a free trim if I ended up not liking the cut afterward. This is the first time I've taken her up on the offer.

So what should I tip on this free service? I don't know how long she'll spend on the trim, but I assume it won't be as much work as the original haircut. I usually pay $55 for a cut and add a $10 tip.
posted by Bella Sebastian to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would honestly tip the same amount as for a whole haircut, just to strengthen the professional relationship. So in your case, $10. I know it seems like it is less work and less time in the chair, but it's a service that she's providing to you for free.
posted by muddgirl at 4:10 PM on November 17, 2008

What muddgirl said.
posted by missuswayne at 5:01 PM on November 17, 2008

If she messed it up in the first place then I don't see why you should tip her at all. Go in, be friendly and polite and nice, but don't pay her extra money when you've already paid for (and tipped on) a substandard haircut. It's not like it'll be a massive job, if she's only tidying up what she did last week.

Maybe try and get across (tactfully and politely!) that you think it isn't as neat a cut as usual - so you're asking her for a free cut not because you don't like the style, but because it wasn't done satisfactorily.

That said, I'm English, and I think we have a rather different attitude about tipping to you guys...
posted by badmoonrising at 5:09 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding muddgirl, speicalli if you really like her work and want to keep going to her.
posted by piratebowling at 5:17 PM on November 17, 2008

Wow, what was up with that last comment of mine? especially, not "specialli."
posted by piratebowling at 5:18 PM on November 17, 2008

The same amount as the tip portion of the previous visit, yes. Absolutely.
posted by rokusan at 6:10 PM on November 17, 2008

Thanks, guys. The usual tip is about what I thought, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't being too stingy (or too generous). Tipping etiquette often baffles me.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 6:52 PM on November 17, 2008

I'll be #5 for "tip her as much as you usually would".
posted by eleyna at 6:53 PM on November 17, 2008

Woah, I'm not so sure about a full tip for a touch-up trim. I have gone back to my stylist for a free trim a few times before, when I noticed stray long pieces or bad layering after a haircut. It's nothing like getting the original haircut--no shampoo, no blow dry or anything. For me it's always been a very quick 4-5 minutes. Why in the world should this warrant a full tip? Besides, wouldn't this essentially mean you're rewarding your stylist (2x the tip!) for doing a shabby job in the first place?

I suppose it's different if you're going back only because you decided you don't like the cut--in that case, sure, tip away. But if you don't like it because your stylist did a sub-par job, I see no reason to tip again.
posted by Jemstar at 7:26 PM on November 17, 2008

Jemstar - I can only speak for myself here. If my stylist did a sub-par job and it was so bad I never wanted to use him/her again, then I would not tip for the free cut. But if he/she was just off his/her game, it is in my best interest to tip him/her for a free touch-up, It prevents bad feelings and lets him/her know that you're still interested in their services. Of course, if this starts happening all then time then I'd change stylists.
posted by muddgirl at 8:15 PM on November 19, 2008

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