Do You Tip For IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) Therapy? Full Guide


Intense Pulsed Light therapy (IPL) is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the US with some 10,000 – 20,000 procedures being performed each day.

If you’re going in for your first IPL treatment or if you’ve just completed your procedure, then you might be thinking about settling the bill including whether you need to tip.

Tipping is an often overlooked expense when it comes to managing your budget but it’s an important one nonetheless.

Tip too much and you’ll be bursting your budget. Tip too little and you may end up falling outside common customs.

To help you decide whether to tip and how much if so, we’ve had a look at the cosmetic industry and crunched the data.

This post will cover what the etiquette is for tipping after IPL, what the treatment will cost, and other key factors.

Keep reading to discover more…

Do You Tip For IPL Treatments? The Short Answer

Monetary tips won’t generally be accepted if your treatment is performed by a medical professional like a Plastic Surgeon, Dermatologist, or Nurse. However, IPL treatments can be performed by non-medical practitioners such as Estheticians in some states and they do sometimes accept tips. For Estheticians, tip 10-20% of your bill or $10-$30 if you’d rather pay a fixed sum.

How Much Do IPL Therapists Earn?

In some industries, it’s common practice to tip because the workers need to supplement their income with that extra income.

But what about in the IPL therapy business?

Many IPL therapies are performed by registered doctors like Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists and they earn well above the US average salary in any event.

Moreover, they are not allowed, ethically, to accept monetary tips.

However, IPL in some states can be performed by non-medically qualified practitioners such as Estheticians.

Their median salary according to Estheticianedu is $31,290 per year but this can stretch to $59,790 for the top 10%.

Medical Estheticians with medical qualifications can earn a lot more.

However, if we take the average figure of $31,290 then it’s clear to see that Estheticians earn a fairly modest yearly salary given the average in the US is said to be $51,480 according to

On that basis, you may consider a tip is warranted if your procedure is performed by an Esthetician and not a medically trained doctor.

If this is your key factor for deciding whether to tip then ask the staff where you’re having your IPL done.

How Much Will IPL Cost?

Another key factor in deciding whether to tip will be the cost of the treatment.

According to RealSelf, expect to pay around $300 – $600 per treatment with most people requiring 3-5 treatments.

Accordingly, expect to pay around $900 – $3000 for your treatments but this will vary depending on your location and the establishment you choose to use.

How Much to Tip For IPL?

The standard rate for a tip in the US is 10-20% of the total cost of the goods or services bought.

On the basis of these above figures, you would therefore be paying a total of $90 – $600 in tips.

Given this is fairly high, you may wish to pay a fixed sum not based on a percentage.

We’d suggest $10 – $30 is fine if you’d sooner pay a fixed sum than the standard percentage. Your esthetician won’t be expecting a tip so any sum is likely to be welcomed.

If your treatment is done by a medical professional such as a Plastic Surgeon then it’s unlikely that they will accept a monetary tip but you can tip in other ways such as:

  • With a Thank You card;
  • With food or drink;
  • A review on Google;
  • Flowers or chocolates;
  • Verbal praise.

Tipping isn’t generally expected within this industry so any kind of tip is likely to be well received.

If your tip is turned down, then don’t be offended as many practices bar their staff from taking tips on ethical grounds.

It’s also important to ask whether your quote price includes a gratuity and you should check this before you settle your bill.

Related Article:
Do You Tip After Microblading?

When To Tip More Or Not At All

There will be some scenarios where you may feel that a tip is definitely warranted but don’t feel offended if your tip is rejected as tipping in the medical setting presents a bit of an ethical dilemma and some establishments outright ban tips as a matter of course.

This might be if:

  • The IPL treatment produced better results than expected;
  • The practitioner was professional and courteous;
  • Around the holidays such as Christmas;
  • If you’ve received a good deal.

You may decide to not tip if:

  • The results are below par or not as expected;
  • The practitioner is a doctor or other medical person;
  • The IPL therapist was rude;
  • If a tip is included in the price;
  • If you end up paying more than quoted.


Like within the Micro-Needling and CoolSculpting industries, there is no common custom that dictates you must tip for IPL treatments.

Within this business, tipping is generally against the grain and can be banned by some medical bodies if your practitioner is a doctor or other medically trained person.

Your tip might be accepted if your treatment is done by an esthetician but there isn’t really a need to tip so it’s unlikely you’re going to be looked upon unfavorably if you don’t dip into your pocket.

If you do decide to tip then the common custom is 10-20% of the total cost of your treatment or you could pay a fixed sum of say $10 – $30 which is more than enough.

Another option is to simply tip in ways other than money as we’ve covered above. This is probably more appropriate within this particular industry, although gifts will usually have to be proportionate before doctors will accept them – i.e. a doctor is unlikely to accept a suitcase full of cash but a thank you card is likely to be just fine.

About the author

Oliver graduated from law school in 2008 and has practiced exclusively in the field of civil litigation for the last 10 years. He has a wealth of experience and expertise in litigation involving large financial losses and a special interest in consumer law. He has achieved numerous 7 figure settlements and has been involved in multi-billion dollar class-action consumer lawsuits against companies such as the Volkswagen Group. Away from the law, he is a consumer information and personal finance writer, having been featured in key publications such as Yahoo Finance, GO Banking Rates, NewsBreak, MEL Magazine, and many more.

-Chief Editor and Founder

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