Hair

4 Reasons Why Tipping Your Hair Stylist Should Be A Part Of Your Budget

I'm not going to lie. Sometimes I have a hard time parting with that extra paper after already dishing out $100+ for a hair service, especially if I came in thinking it was going to be one price and then after adding separate shampoo, deep conditioning, and steaming services it ends up being $50 more.


Oh the price of beauty.

But, for the most part, I always tip. Maybe it's the former server in me that knows that when you give quality service you hope that it'll be rewarded with an extra tip, because all servers know that if you rely on base pay alone you might as well pick a box to live in on the street. Or maybe as a freelancer I know that what people think you make is just a fairytale and fallacy once you take out double taxes (the blessing of being your own boss), benefits, and any other expenses that sometimes make you second-guess why you chose an entrepreneurial route to begin with. (Then you remember that it does have its perks!)

In short, I'm compassionate towards my fellow boss chicks and chicos. If the service is of good quality and I don't walk out with a burning scalp or missing edges, I'm all for telling them a job well done for fixing my locs into a fleeky style that will have me taking 100 selfies just to post one for the 'Gram. Ya'll know how it is!

But the truth is not everybody tips for talent, whether it's due to a lack of knowledge of why they should or misunderstanding of what they're paying for, or because they're just too cheap to want to add extra dollars to their service.

Even I admit to wondering if stylists just pocket the extra profit and walk away with more than I make in a day, so to address those burning questions, I chatted with a few stylists—both in professional salons and those who work from home—to get the real deal on why, though not required, it's common courtesy to tip.

You Get What You Pay For

I've been to a number of different salons, and I'll be first to say that not every stylist is made equal! Not to mention that everyone uses different products that can make or break (literally) the health of your hair, so ideally you want a stylist who is going to use the best products for the lowest price right? One stylist says that's exactly why they expect a tip.

“[Most times] you're really not paying top dollar to get your hair done, but [some of us] are spending top dollar on our products. If you were to look online and look at other places you'll see that you're not really spending much for a salon who specializes in top dollar products—not just from a general “Asian" store. And also because you're getting good service. When you're out in any other setting and you're getting good service, you're willing to tip because you're paying for the service."

It Lets Them Know You Value Them

They say what you spend your money on is a reflection of what you value, so when I tip it's my way of giving a figurative pat on the back for a job well done. To a stylist it shows that you appreciate them and that you find their service to be of good quality.

“I don't require a tip, but it is indeed greatly appreciated among stylists. It shows that the client is satisfied with the service and it really makes my day to know they care. Some can't afford to tip, and that's okay. If you can't tip monetary wise you can definitely show a tip in return visits, referrals, and reviews."

Your Tip Isn't Pocket Change, It's Their Survival

Here's where I was most confused, as I never thought of my stylist as an entrepreneur, especially if they worked out of a salon. Nor did I realize how much comes out of their own pockets just to keep their rent paid and the lights on. While you will have stylists who are charging an arm and a leg and probably are eating well off of their hustle, that's not the story for the average hairdresser.

“As a booth renter you have to buy everything, nobody buys your products. You're almost coming under all the time, it's like you never equal out to what you are actually spending, but when I came into the hair care field only because I came from being paid hourly, I'm determined not to make less hourly than what I was making on a regular job. You do come into a salon, too, that has base prices as well. So you are following a base price and based on those prices they may charge more, but for the most part, to me, as long as I've been in the industry, if you are one who buys good products you're never going to come out on top. Maybe some styles [like braiding] would probably get more."

Oh, and let's not forget that the cost of just, well, living.

“Stylists are commission-based; it's just like being a waitress except we don't have base pay to fall back on, so everything counts. Though our services are tax free, our income is literally based off of our hustle. How long are you willing to be at a shop without clients just to catch walk-ins? Or how many salons and beauty supply stores are you willing to go to giving out [promotional] cards. It's not like a job where you can punch the clock and see coins, we have to “punch" our promotions, referrals, feet and mouths to see possible coins."“We pay our own healthcare because again we're basically self-employed. As stylists our whole bodies are involved with our job, so half the time if you have good insurance you can take care of yourself, but if not you have to pay right out to go to a doctor."

There May Be A Return On Your Investment

Sometimes your stylist will let you know in advance when they're running a special or may even slip in a service that they would normally charge for just because they equally value you as a paying customer.

Building a good report with your stylist may lead to opportunities to receive your tip back through a discount or special promotion.

Oh, and in case you're wondering most stylists consider 15% - 20% a good tip (but of course they won't object if you decide to give more!)

Do you find it necessary to tip your stylist? Why or why not? Let me know!

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In 2011 -- a year following my divorce, I met a young man who I felt could mend my heart.

He was tall, dark, handsome, well spoken and well liked -- everything a girl could dream of on paper. In the beginning there was light, a light of hope for a new love. But as time went by, the relationship spun into darkness. Whether it was the dish I cooked, shirt I picked out, or the way I answered him, it was as if nothing I did was good enough. In fact, his dissatisfaction only made me want to work harder and do more to please.

I recall times when he'd squeeze my wrist a little too hard in public as a warning, leaving bruises -- but it was my fault because I was fragile or bruised "easily." Or the time he dislocated my shoulder and I had to lie to my child because I didn't want her to worry. Each time letting him come back because he appeared to be remorseful and willing to change. But that was only the beginning.

In 2012, I faced an unplanned pregnancy. I had just lost my job and I was struggling to pay the rent. To top it off, the father of my child had given me an ultimatum (as he was "not ready" to be a father)... it was "him or the baby." So, as you can imagine, I was struggling with the decision of bringing a beautiful new babe into my chaotic world. After all, I was already a single mother with one divorce under my belt, living check to check -- now couch surfing, all the while awaiting the big day. I felt as if the weight of the world was sitting on my shoulders -- better yet, my chest!

Although I told my ex where he could put his ultimatum, he came back around to see our child's birth. And while my gut told me to "RUN" in the other direction, I took him back out of fear. Fear of what I thought would be failing yet another child. "You can't do this alone," he said. "You need me," he said. I believed him. For a few months, things appeared to be different. Until the pressure of fatherhood began to sink in. Then the drinking, cheating, lying, and abuse began to resurface.

Oddly enough, it took one fight (like so many before) to get me to LOOK UP. "You don't do sh*t for your kids," he said. "I don't even want to be here but now we have this baby." -- "I gave you an ultimatum but I'm still here. So why wouldn't you want to make it work?" he continued. As if he was doing me a favor.

Holding my baby close, I quickly scanned the room at the home I had built for "us." It was MY blood, sweat, and tears that went into making this home, I thought to myself. At that moment, I knew I'd be damned if I allowed this to continue. I would never want this for my daughters, so why am I endorsing it for myself?

As he proceeded to punch the wall, it was as if the three years preceeding the fight flashed before my eyes. I pictured myself laying on the ground in shock like years before... but this time, it was my child crying beside me. "He's got to go," I whispered to myself. With tears streaming down my face, my hands shaking, and my body quivering in fear, I opened the front door and with everything in me yelled, "GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!"

A few insults later, he managed to make it out the front door and I hit the floor... in prayer. I was ashamed. Not just because I saw this coming. But because I had been here too many times before. Although I am a different person today. There are still some days where I wish I could go back an avoid all of the pain.. much of which I am still working through today.

So, as part of the healing process, I've created a list of dating advice I'd give my younger self:

Fall in love with yourself first.

Don't spend your days in search of a partner to "complete" you. Discover what makes you SPIRITUALLY, emotionally, intellectually, and physically whole first and foremost. Then, when you do meet someone special, ask yourself, "Is this person adding or subtracting from my life" -- "Do they build me up or break me down?" I think Oprah said it best. Don't spend your life searching for the perfect person. Work to make yourself the perfect person for YOU, and then... only then, will "the right person be drawn to you based upon the work that you put out."

[Tweet "First, discover what makes you spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically whole."]

If someone tells you're they're not good for you, believe them and RUN.

You cannot save everyone! While mending the brokenhearted is practically embedded in your DNA, people are who they are. Some people are going to destroy themselves, no matter how much you try to "help" them. If someone says that they are "no good" for you, or "trouble," take that at face value and run the other way. Just because you are open and capable of love does not mean the one you "want" is ready for love. You will deplete yourself by trying to "heal" this person -- which in the end, will do you more harm than good.

Trust your intuition.

It's trying to protect you! Never stop sharing your love; that's why you were put on this Earth. But sometimes real love means saying goodbye. It takes much more courage to let something go than it does to hold tight -- or try to "fix" it. Letting go doesn't mean you're ignoring the situation. It simply means you're accepting what is, exactly as it is, without fear, opposition, or desire for control.

[Tweet "Trust your intuition. It's trying to protect you."]

Talk it out!

As difficult as this may be sometimes, do NOT keep your feelings bottled up! People are not mind readers. They should not have to jump through hoops to uncover when and how they have wronged you. Pass on the fit of tears over dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and open the floor to a grown-up discussion at an appropriate time in private. Learn how to separate the person from the issue. Be soft on the person but firm on the issue. If you want to find long-term relationship success, you're going to have to learn how to communicate.

Forgive yourself.

Life didn't come with instructions. You are not your mistakes. You are not your struggles. You are here NOW with the power to shape your tomorrow. Take all the time you need to heal. The key to breaking free from your broken self, is baby steps -- taking it one day at a time. Never let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life. Just because today is painful doesn't mean tomorrow won't be great. You WILL get there.

What advice would you give your younger self? Do share!

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