The global hair removal industry is worth a whopping $2.43 billion with many people now turning to professionals to have a regular trim.
Laser hair removal services are now provided by numerous businesses in every state in the country with nearly 5 million people making use of them last year.
If you’re booked in for laser hair removal or have just finished your session, you might be wondering what the etiquette is for tipping the technician.
Tipping is an important part of US culture but many people often get it wrong by tipping when they shouldn’t or failing to tip when they really should.
To avoid any embarrassment, we’ve done the donkey work for you and will bring you up to speed with what the etiquette is for tipping for laser hair removal, how much to tip (if anything), how much laser technicians earn, and much more.
Keep reading to find out…
Do You Tip for Laser Hair Removal? The Short Answer
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to tipping for laser hair removal. Many people do but there is no obligation or even a common custom that dictates that you must tip. If you do tip, we’d suggest 10-20% of the bill but this is unlikely to be accepted if your removal is being performed by a medical doctor.
Who Performs Laser Hair Removal and Do They Need Tipping?
Laser hair removal is performed by a number of different professionals.
Sometimes it’s done by laser hair removal technicians who are normally like estheticians and qualified to a similar level. They aren’t medical doctors and do not hold medical qualifications.
In other cases, laser hair removal will be performed by a medical professional such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
The key distinction is that if a doctor performs your procedure, there is generally no need to tip and they normally will not accept tips.
As a matter of medical ethics, doctors do not generally accept tips as we discovered when we looked at whether to tip for botox, micro-needling, and cool sculpting.
If your procedure is done by a laser hair removal technician or esthetican/beauty therapist, they can accept tips and generally will.
But what do they earn? Do they need tips to get by?
According to Salary.com, laser hair technicians earn around $39,000 -$50,000. Estheticians earn around a similar salary on average.
The average yearly income for an individual in the US is around $54,000 so these professionals earn close to that average, albeit they’re not quite there.
In other words, they’re hardly living on the breadline and probably won’t be relying on tips to food on the table, although many professionals in the industry will welcome tips as a nice boost to their income.
Do You Tip After Microblading?
How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost and How Much to Tip?
The latest stats show that the average cost of laser hair removal is $389 in the US.
If you apply the 10-20% percentage figure to this, that means you’ll be tipping around $40 – $80 if you stick to that calculation.
However, you may feel this is quite steep, especially if you’re on a budget and therefore you may feel a fixed sum is more appropriate.
If so, then $20-$40 is likely to be ample.
How much you tip and whether you tip at all can also be based on where your procedure is performed.
It’s much more common to tip at a casual laser hair removal spa or beautician’s than it is in to do so at a dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s clinic.
Basically, the more formal and medical orientated you get, the less likely it is you will be expected to tip.
We’d recommend asking when you book your session in to see what the etiquette is at the clinic you choose.
When to Tip and When Not To?
There will be of course times when you will want to dip into your pocket when you normally wouldn’t or reach that bit further in to really show your gratitude.
This might be if:
- The procedure is performed to a high standard
- If you’ve received a good deal or price on the procedure
- Around the holidays
- If the technician is professional and courteous
You might think the opposite if:
- The procedure is performed poorly with visible hair still present or if you’re injured (even if only slightly)
- If the technician is rude or unprofessional
- If you’re already paying a high sum
- If the technician is medically trained as we’ve set out above
However, you should remember that some clinics and spas may charge a gratuity or service charge on top of their fee already, so it’s important to check this before you tip to make sure you don’t end up tipping twice.
In summary, whether you tip for hair removal will depend on who does it and where you have it done. If it’s a more casual, less clinical establishment where the procedure is performed by a non-medically trained technician then more people tend to tip.
We wouldn’t depart from the 10-20% figure in most cases but you can pay a fixed sum if you like.
If it’s a plastic surgeon or dermatologist’s office then there really is no need to tip and the doctor is unlikely to accept a tip in any event.