Should we tip for beauty services?

During a catch up session with a friend this week, our conversation veered round to the topic of salon tipping. It was a brief mention but it got me thiinking: are we expected to tip for our beauty services in Singapore? I know tipping is a culture in some countries but it’s not widely embraced here.

I don’t tip as I’ve never thought it as a necessity. The only thing I do is to give out ang pow to my regular facial therapist and even then, I only give if I truly like the person and her service. And as far as I know, some of these service staff working in the beauty industries are paid bonuses for the number of massages or facials they perform, on top of commissions for products their clients purchased through them. In addition, I feel that a therapist that pushes her customers to sign on packages should not expect further tipping especially if the customer was forced to take on the package grudgingly. In this case, why should I part with more of my money, even if it’s just small change?

So tell me – do you tip when you receive services at the nail palor, the beauty spa or the hair salon? Do you think we should be tipping? And if you’re outside of Singapore, is tipping for receiving beauty services a part of your culture?

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  1. Audris says

    In Singapore I don’t tip as each facial that works for me (even after taking on a package) is well over $100… so I’m not inclined to.

    But when I’m going for cheaper massages overseas like Bangkok, Phuket, I do tip them as they’re so cheap at 200 – 300 bht/ massage.

    • sesame says

      I remember tipping for some services overseas but not all though. Some at the hotel or resort are pretty ex and I didn’t tip further after paying for the package.

  2. says

    In my home country, Indonesia, tipping is part of the culture. It is expected that you should tip them for any services in the beauty salon. The beautician normally know that the better her service is, the bigger the tip will be, so they will be very nice and attentive to you. But when i was staying in Singapore, i never gave any tip, because not only that the service, e.g: facial is expensive, it does not seem to be the culture too.

    • says

      Hmmmm, is that true? I see. I have been to Jakarta, but I didn’t think that any of the services there were exceptionally good, or that anybody made extra effort to be good. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t try any beauty services. I did note that tissue is normally free though. I will have to tip if I go there again then. Feels bad to not follow the culture.

      • says

        It is not a MUST to tip them though. I guess it is just part of the gesture and has been there so far that i remember. Of course if you are not local, you won’t be able to know, so don’t feel bad about that. :) I agree with you that me too find that the most of the service were not that good. It’s like you have to know which one to go to. Maybe i should change my sentence to be: they will try to be (instead of will be) nice and attentive to you. :)

    • sesame says

      I only had spa services in Bintan and I remember we tipped but not too much. I didn’t know it’s part of the culture and also the expectation. Now I know. :)

      • says

        Haha.. 😀 Now you know and u did tip them though. Anyway, it is not a must, so don’t worry about that. Sometime if i don’t like their service, i wouldn’t give them any tip too. I will just walk away after i’ve finished. :p

        • sesame says

          Ya, sometimes I just don’t feel like tipping cos maybe I wasn’t so happy with their service or attitude (not talking about Indonesia but in general).

  3. pf1123 says

    The services are already so expensive. And to me, they merely provide service standards which are ok. Not exceptionally good.

    Anyway, if I really did enjoy very good service, I will recommend to my friends and they might go for their services.

    • sesame says

      I have come across good service but I still never tipped. Frankly, it has never crossed my mind to.

  4. says

    No, I wouldn’t tip, because we are normally already charged service charge, and marked up prices. I only tip things like taxi drivers with the small change.

    • sesame says

      The service charge isn’t added for those I go to but yeah, I consider that they’re included in the price.

  5. stella says

    no, i don’t think we have a tipping culture in singapore and unfortunately, most beauticians give awful hard sales pitches, totally ruining any budding intentions to tip. altho’ i am thinking of getting a gift for my regular hairstylist this year

    • sesame says

      Yes, that’s what I think too. I’ve never thought of giving my hairstylist anything more though because I kind of know him for many years and we’ve become friends. Kind of awkward to start midway. However, for the beauty place I frequent, I would sometimes buy food for them because they’re nice pple.

  6. CT says

    I dont tip my therapist cos she usually drives me crazy during my facial. She will keep asking me do I want to add this and that, each time I have to shut her off.

  7. Raelynn says

    i have to agree with most others on this… in Singapore, one way or another, service charges are included hence we dont have a rampant culture of tipping in restaurants (unless they have really excellent food at prices lower than expected or impeccable service that impresses and you feel like giving them more than the service charged) nor at facials especially if it’s the expensive facials. unfortunately it’s cause more often than not the service while good, is simply not great and you feel that it matches the price that you have paid for already. when i go for hair cuts or mani pedi services, the extra charge is considered as the extra tip. the only time i see my mom slipping ang pows is during cny to the masseuse.

    • sesame says

      Yup, I think so think. The facials here aren’t so cheap and so tipping doesn’t cross my mind. Plus the whole culture of not tipping here means we’re unlikely to do so even if it’s expected at some places cos it usually doesn’t cross my mind.

  8. Nic says

    Hi Sesame, sorry to sidetrack: could you advise where can I get to choose a larger extention of Lavera products? Watson’s is limited and the Lavera shop at City Link is closed! Thks in advance!

      • sesame says

        They still have that sale? Most of their stuff were listed as Jan 2010 for expiry when I bought them late last year!

    • sesame says

      I get this feeling they’re pulling out. Not sure. Their stocks are old and if you don’t see Lavera range in the bigger Watsons at ION or Taka, then it’s most probably they aren’t bringing in new stocks.

  9. N. says

    Here in Brazil we don’t tip. Though I have tipped once but that was because my hair stylist gave me a major discount.
    But anyway, here it’s definitely not a normal thing to tip for beauty services. Other services yes but not beauty related

    • sesame says

      Ah…I see. Thanks for sharing. I would expect the prices are in the mid range and not so cheap too?

  10. says

    That’s a touchy subject. I used to live in UK and tipping is not part of their culture so coming to live in USA, I had a lot of things to learn. Here you have to tip for EVERYTHING, not just beauty services bit things you’ve never thought of. Like moving your furniture, on top on the fee they charge already. Or let’s say, it’s better to tip little then not at all. Or people would look “funny” at you and make you feel uncomfortable. Tipping is a big part of culture here.

    • sesame says

      Tipping is not part of the UK culture? I didn’t know that cos I thought that tipping is expected in Europe. But geez, I have enough of tipping in US. I find that too much cos some of the services or food aren’t cheap and yet, you’re expected to tip. I guess it’s harder coming from a place where we’re not expected to tip.

      But I wonder, didn’t the recession sort of dampened this culture in US a little? I think they ought to be more prudent with their money. LOL.

      • says

        Strangely but resession didn’t hurt tipping expectance in US. Very often weiters get paid very little and tipping supplements their income. The cost of food has nothing to do with tipping, but sure adds up since it is expected to pay tip of about 15% of the cost of the food. So the more expensive the restaurant – the bigger the tip.
        I also thought that restaurants wouldn’t be as busy as before, but I think I am wrong. I don’t go often, but when I do, they are packed.

        • sesame says

          Very interesting cos the media seems to point to a change in the tipping culture. Perhaps it was only for a short period or only in certain states. Anyway, now that you mentioned food, my fave chain of restaurants in the US is Red Lobster Seafood Restaurant! I used to have it whenever I visited the country and I didn’t find it very expensive but yet the food was tasty! *drooling now*

  11. says

    I spent 30 minutes trying to find this post, haha….

    I wanted to use it as reference ’cause recently, I’ve been wondering whether to tip my hair stylist next time I go for a haircut. It’s just that I’m really happy about his service and he always gives me discount–which makes me wonder whether he’s expecting me to tip him instead. I only go for a simple haircut each time, no additional service or anything. I’m supposed to pay SGD$65 but I’m only charged 45 each time due to a “stylist’s discount” that he would sign on my receipt. I feel really ‘disturbed’ ’cause where I came from, tipping is almost always a MUST.

      • sesame says

        Aiyah…that’s quite common so don’t feel so paranoid. Hee…think they’re trained to be more service oriented. 😉

    • sesame says

      Hmm…it’s not common here but you can tip him if you like the service. Most stylists actually earn a commission from our haircuts, etc.

      • says

        thanks, sesame :) now that I think about it, I feel like laughing. I might laugh next time my stylist escorts me to the cashier and smiles at me, haha.


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