The beauty and personal care market is worth $91.41 billion in 2023 and is expected to increase by over 2.5% this year.
We just love pampering ourselves; whether that be at home, on vacation, or at our local beauty spa.
One of the most popular treatments in recent years is facial treatments with 2.73 million Americans using facials 4 or more times a year according to Statista.com.
The facial treatment market is worth a whopping $491 million and is predicted to grow even further this year.
There are now thousands of Americans receiving facials at their local beauty spas every week but it’s not always known what the etiquette is when it comes to tipping at the end of a session.
Tipping is a massive part of US culture but get it wrong and you could be wasting money by tipping when there’s no need, or you could be falling foul of common customs by failing to tip when you really should.
To help you there, we’ve explored what the common tipping etiquette is after a facial session and will cover whether you need to tip, how much to tip (if so), what workers in this industry earn, and whether they rely on tips, when to tip more and not at all, and much more.
Keep reading to find out…
Do You Tip After a Facial? The Short Answer
In short, it is a common custom to tip after a facial and the typical sum of 15-20% of the total cost of the session is perfectly fine and acceptable. However, if your facial is being carried out by a medical professional then they may refuse your tip.
Who Carries Out Facials and Do They Need Tips?
Facials are usually carried out by spa and beauty therapists and estheticians.
They specialize in providing skin care treatments and are trained to administer the treatments that you’ll receive when you undergo your facial.
Most beauty therapists and estheticians are state licensed so they hold special qualifications and need a license to practice.
However, they are not medical doctors in most cases.
Well according to Indeed, the average esthetician rate in the US is $25.90 per hour. On the basis of a 40-hour work week that equates to $4,144 per month or around $50,000 a year before tax.
According to Glassdoor, the average beauty therapist earns $61,820 per year before tax.
So overall, people in this profession earn an average of about $50,000 – $60,000 a year.
However, there will be people who earn much less than this and some who earn quite a bit more.
Given the average yearly salary is around $54,000 per annum in the US, the person providing your facial is probably earning an average salary if they fit into $50,000 – $60,000 bracket we’ve covered above.
How Much Will a Facial Cost and How Much Should I Tip For a Facial?
According to realself.com, expect to pay around $150 for a facial at most beauty spas.
However, this can increase to $725 at some more bespoke and luxurious spas.
Therefore, if you tip at the standard 15-20% of the cost of the goods or services, expect to pay around $22 – $30 as a tip on average. Obviously, this will be a lot more if you receive your facial at a bespoke spa.
There’s no obligation to pay a tip equating to 15-20% of the cost of your facial, many people do, but there’s nothing stopping you from doing away with the percentage calculation and just applying a fixed sum.
We’d actually suggest doing so when the facial is extremely expensive. It’s unlikely you’re going to turn many heads or ruffle any feathers if you failed to tip $145 on a $725 facial (i.e. 20% of $725). Paying, say, $20 – $50 in those circumstances is perfectly fine.
Do I Pay a Tip if the Facial is Done by a Doctor?
Occasionally, you may encounter a situation where your facial is performed by a medical professional like a plastic surgeon, dermatologist, or nurse.
If this happens then the general rule of thumb is that there is no need to tip.
Medical doctors and nurses do not generally accept tips as a matter of course so don’t feel offended if this happens.
In this situation, it’s better to provide a non-monetary tip like a review, thank you card, flowers etc…
When to Tip and Not to Tip After a Facial?
There will be times when it’s certainly worth tipping or tipping more after a facial.
This might be if:
- The outcome of the procedure exceeded your expectations
- The esthetician or beauty therapist was professional, courteous, and efficient
- You’ve received a discount
- If the esthetician or beauty therapist has gone beyond the call of duty
- Around the holidays
On the flip side of this, you might want to avoid tipping or tip less if:
- The esthetician or beauty therapist was unprofessional or rude
- You’re not happy with the service or workmanship
- If the session started late or was previously canceled
- If the person performing the facial is a trained doctor or nurse (see above)
Another thing to check is whether the cost of the treatment already comes with a service charge or tip factored into the cost.
Some beauty spas charge a tip in advance so it’s worth checking before your session starts or when you come to pay to make sure you’re not effectively tipping twice.
However, a service charge does not always mean it’s used for a tip so again it’s worth asking the question if you’re in any doubt about whether you need to tip on top of your service charge.
Facials are generally carried out by beauty therapists and estheticians and most will welcome and expect a tip after your session has finished.
Most of these workers earn fairly normal and average salaries so they aren’t necessarily relying on tips to get by but it’s important to remember that not all spas will pay the average salary and many estheticians and beauty therapists do rely on tips to a certain extent.
We’d propose tipping around 15-20% of the cost of the service but remember you’re unlikely to cause any blushes by tipping less than this or by tipping a fixed amount.
Even a non-monetary tip such as flowers, a review, a thank you card, or gift vouchers will be well received.