In Summary

Etiquette. Tipping is one of the ways you can show appreciation to your hair dresser, however, the intricacies of how much, how often and who to tip exactly make it rather challenging, writes Sarah Aanyu.

Last weekend I went to my hair stylist for treatment. Because he was already working on someone else, he asked one of his assistants to wash my hair first. And oh my God! This woman really knew her way around my head. By the time I left the sink, it felt as if that was the first time my hair was washed. Naturally as I was leaving, I got some Shs 5,000 to tip her. To my astonishment, she turned it down and asked me to give it to the manager. Intrigued, I asked her manager why she had turned it down. The manager said the salon policy was that all tips are pooled and shared evenly among all employees at the end of the workday.

Do you tip?
Anita Asekenye, a banker says she always tips when someone does a good job. She, however, notes that these days’ hairdressers tend to pay more attention to those who look like they can tip them, which turns her off. “One time I went to this salon to plait my hair where I overheard the employees whispering between themselves that I was a potential tipper based on my appearance. On this day, however, I had a fixed budget so to avoid embarrassment I just pretended to be inquiring about their prices and left for the next salon,” says Asekenye. Tipping in itself is not bad, but when it becomes the driving motivation for which someone does their job, it ceases to make sense.

Irene Katusiime, a mobile hairdresser says tipping is voluntary for the client. It is not important whether she is tipped or not as long as the client pays what they owe. “My clients always tip me because I move to their places when called to work, so they feel they are obliged to refund my transport and I always make sure that I do my work so well so that I can be called back to work. Something that makes them appreciate and they end up tipping me,” says Katusiime.

She believes everyone who does his or her job well deserves to be tipped because that is a sign that you as a customer appreciate their work.

Why you should tip
Angela Nyaketcho, owner of Angels Beauty Salon, says it is right for a hair-dresser to be tipped because they go through a lot to make sure that you attain the look that you want.

She says much as there are many workers in the salon, most salons have their hairdressers do the cleaning and washing so when one is tipped it is up to them to decide on whether they can give their workmates some money because they are all tipped by their customers.

“There is no way that an individual will watch a colleague walk out of the salon without any money, so the ones who have been tipped always give the ones who got nothing that day,” she says.

She further says the state of your salon speaks a lot for you and your employees. It is very unlikely for someone who has been treated well and made comfortable in a salon to leave without tipping.

Jimmy Kivumbi, a barber at Choice Unisex Salon, Kibuye, says tipping is not bad because if other people doing other businesses are tipped then why not those who work in the salon? He notes that who keeps the tips depends on how the salon operates, otherwise a tip is supposed to be for an individual because their effort is what is being appreciated so they can make the decision on whether to share or not.

“A tip is not only in form of money but a customer can also give you something else for keeps or can buy you what to eat depending on what he or she prefers and these cannot be shared,” says Kivumbi.

Although he says they deserve to be tipped, he is against those salons that ask the clients to do it because this does not only ruin their reputation but also makes them lose clients.

According to Zziwa of Hair by Zziwa, tipping is a very good initiative because it shows the level at which the client has appreciated your work which also motivates the hairdresser to up their game. He says the tip should be for an individual because every work place has its own hierarchy, so sharing will mean encouraging the others not to work hard to reach the other’s level.

“Hair dressing is not something with restrictions so even the cleaners can be trained so that they can join the other class of people so sharing the tips with them means encouraging them to stay where they are and also that is cheating the person who was tipped,” says Zziwa. He, however, is against the idea of asking for the tips from the clients because it is just not right since the client is going to pay.
“No way is it polite enough to ask for a token of appreciation if the person in question is someone who has come to seek for your paid services,” says Zziwa.

How to tip correctly
According to Faith Nabagala an etiquette coach, tipping in the salon is relatively new but it a good practice and it is catching on. She says it is not a matter of right or wrong but how happy you as an individual are about the work that the person has done on your head and the time they have spent making you look good. She further says there is no rule on the times you tip but you can do it as much as you can although some people who frequent the salon may find it hard, especially the men who trim their hair weekly.