I under-tipped my hair stylist unwittingly
February 10, 2015 2:29 PM   Subscribe

How do I fix this?

I had a terrific cut and dye job done today by two separate stylists. This was my first time at this particular salon. I always tip 20% for services, however the machine they had did not have a % option, just a total. I did a quick calculation in my head, punched in a number, and then asked the assistant to divide the tip about 1/3 for the cut and 2/3 for the dye job because the color was a lengthy multi-step process. I came home and crunched the numbers again and I realize I under-tipped the colorist (who is the owner of the salon) by more than 5%. Ouch.

I was exceptionally happy with dye job and cut, and I feel pretty terrible that she may think otherwise. I do plan on returning in the future cause I was so happy with the end result. Should I head over tomorrow and drop off more cash? How do I save face?
posted by hollypolly to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would.

Although technically, you don't have to tip the salon owner.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:30 PM on February 10, 2015 [6 favorites]

I have had this happen before and have just made sure to overtip the next time.
posted by joan_holloway at 2:31 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

A quick trip tomorrow would leave your conscience free of guilt from now until your next appt.
posted by cecic at 2:32 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Sure, I tipped the next day when my 14 yr old son was unsure how to handle such things and just kept all the change. No biggie.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 2:34 PM on February 10, 2015

You're not supposed to tip the owner of the salon.

I'm more worried that the way you split your tip might not speak fully to your happiness with the cut and the stylist who did such a great job with that. If you return to the salon, tell them you did the math incorrectly and leave more $$ for the employee that cut your hair.

Yelp the business to otherwise register both your appreciation with the color and cut.
posted by jbenben at 2:41 PM on February 10, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks!

Not to threadsit, just to add that the way I divided it up, I tipped the stylist who cut my hair 25%. I'm concerned with the colorist also because she spent a lot of time on my hair (highlights and such).
posted by hollypolly at 2:45 PM on February 10, 2015

It's not customary to tip the owner of the salon, no matter how much time they spend with you. Don't worry about it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:15 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

You can up your tip next time. 5% is not a huge amount and it was also to the owner of the salon, so I think you're fine. If you want to show your appreciation to the salon owner, write a review on Yelp (especially if you've written other reviews, the more total reviews you've written, the more a good one counts for something). Good reviews and word-of-mouth is worth waaaaay more to the owner than a shorted 5% on a single tip.
posted by quince at 3:33 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not quite following the math here. Just to clarify:

[1] On a bill of X, you tipped the amount Y and specified that Y/3 should go to the stylist and 2Y/3 to the colorist/owner.

[2] Based on your clarification, the tip to the stylist was 25%. Therefore, Y/3 = X/4 (one-quarter of the total bill).

[3] That means that the tip to the colorist was 2Y/3 = 2(Y/3) = 2(X/4) = X/2.

[4] And in conclusion, the total tip was X/2 + X/4 = 3X/4, or 75% of the total bill.

Is that right? Or was the bill itemized, so that the cut and the coloring were different amounts?
posted by brianogilvie at 3:59 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Going against the grain here, but according to Peggy Post (of Emily Post Etiquette fame), not tipping the salon owner is a tradition that is going out of style. It's mentioned in several interviews with her, one of which is here.

In other words, do tip your salon owner.

It is always classy to tip, and to tip well.

The good news: Post recommends 15-20% for the salon owner, so if you only tipped her 15%, it may not be the faux pas you feared.

Anyway, I say all this because I've always tipped my stylist, who is the salon owner, because she does a fantastic job, and because I like her and want to tip her.

I would go back and drop off the additional money. It will go a long way with her; you'll feel better about it; and all you have to do is say that your mental math was off and you just wanted to stop by to correct it since you were so pleased with the work she did.
posted by nightrecordings at 4:08 PM on February 10, 2015 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: @brianogilvie The bill was itemized, so I was told what the cut came to and what the color came to. Based on those numbers I ended up tipping 25% (on the itemized price) for the cut, and about 13-14% (on the itemized price) for the color when I meant to tip 20% (my 1/3, 2/3 estimation is likely wrong here as well... I meant how the total amount of the tip was divided, i.e., 50$ tip added to my bill to be split amongst the stylists)

I have read that not tipping the owner is a passé tradition, and she did such a great job I would feel uncomfortable not tipping.
posted by hollypolly at 4:39 PM on February 10, 2015

If you're looking to build up a relationship with this salon - which is not uncommon - I'd stop by tomorrow with additional tip and a few minutes to spare to make nice. One thing: endeavor to arrive when the salon owner is there; don't just leave it for someone to give to her later. Hand the tip directly to the owner along with a short apology "I got home and realized I undertipped!".
posted by doctor tough love at 5:39 PM on February 10, 2015

Go back and apologize, explain that you realized that you undertipped and how much you love their work. The fact that you came back just for that will be remembered way more fondly than if you had just left a big tip.
posted by BoscosMom at 5:58 PM on February 10, 2015

Best answer: I am not a bastion of manners and style, but I would just call the salon, and say "Hey Colorist, I am so embarrassed because when I was putting the receipt into my bank account, I noticed I hadn't tipped you as well as I'd meant to. I am loving the highlights, and I'd hate for you to think otherwise. Looking forward to our next appointment when I can make it up to you. Sorry about that!" (I'd avoid the word "undertipped" because that (as you can see) just causes people to argue about what's appropriate/expected. The point is, you didn't tip as much as you'd intended to.)
If colorist is usually busy/occupied so I couldn't get her on the phone, perhaps I'd call while they're closed so I could leave a voicemail, otherwise it'll be somebody else trying to jot down a message to pass along.
posted by aimedwander at 4:44 AM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

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