Like all wedding vendors, your hair and makeup artists work hard on your wedding day. Early start times, long hours on their feet, the pressure to get things just right for photos—it’s not exactly a walk in the park. Showing how thankful you are for their effort will go a long way and that gratitude begins with, well, gratuity.
"A tip helps guarantee your people show up to the best of their ability," says wedding hair and makeup pro Mia Hendrickson. "It energizes and inspires hair and makeup artists to [do things] bigger, brighter, and better."
Meet the Expert
Mia Hendrickson is the owner of Mia Farah Beautique, a Philadelphia-based onsite hair and makeup outfit that also services clients in New York, New Jersey, and Florida. She has been working with brides since 2004.
Gratuity also helps your vendors offset any money lost from not spending the day in a salon. Think about it: Most weddings occur on the weekend, which is when hair pros will likely see the most clients in their chairs. If they’re devoting an entire Saturday to travel to you and your bridesmaids instead, they could potentially be losing out on business. So, you’ll definitely want to offer a little extra for their time, but it can be tricky to figure out the appropriate amount. Not sure how much to tip your hair stylist and makeup artist on your wedding day? Read on for Hendrickson’s expert guidance.
How Much to Tip Your Hair and Makeup Artist
Per Hendrickson, a standard gratuity amount should fall between 15 and 20 percent of your total service fee. That service fee would not include the cost of add-ons provided by the artist, such as mink lashes, hair extensions, or hair accessories, nor would it include any costs associated with travel, such as mileage or an overnight hotel stay. That said, if your artist has traveled far outside of their typical geographic area to work with you, they may be missing out on other jobs or time with their family to be at your wedding. In those instances, a little extra cash is always appreciated.
Before you start tipping, check your contract—your vendor may have already built a service fee into your total amount, or they may have a specific method for distributing tips amongst staff. If no guidelines are stipulated, each artist should be tipped individually based on the services they perform. For example, if one artist does makeup for three bridesmaids at a rate of $150 per person, she should be tipped 15 to 20 percent of $450. Rates for each service should be discussed ahead of time, but if you are charged one lump sum for the work of multiple artists, it's best to split the total tip amount evenly amongst all of the artists present.
For easy distribution that doesn’t feel too impersonal, place cash and a quick thank you card in an envelope. No need to pen a novel—a pre-written “Thanks for making us look and feel our best!” works great.
Tipping and Etiquette FAQs
My artist is also the owner of the company. Should I tip them?
Yes! Gratuity shows your appreciation for services rendered. If a business owner is also functioning as an artist, they deserve that appreciation.
My bridesmaids are paying for their own hair and makeup. Should they also cover their tips?
Yes. It’s easiest for all parties involved if the person covering the cost of a service also covers the tip.
Should I tip more if I’m the bride?
Some artists charge higher service rates for VIPs such as the bride or mother of the bride because their services may take longer or involve extras such as airbrush makeup. If your service costs more, you’ll end up tipping more, but you do not need to move beyond the 15 to 20 percent range if your artist is working on multiple people on your wedding day. If, however, the artist came out specifically for you, Hendrickson suggests tipping more to help account for any other business opportunities they may have missed out on that day.
I had separate hair and makeup artists, but both are from the same company. Should I tip them equally?
Each artist’s tip should be calculated based on the cost of their service. If a hair service costs more than a makeup service, then your hair stylist's tip will be larger.
How can I help ensure I'm satisfied with the service?
"Satisfaction with our service really is connected to you allotting us enough time," says Hendrickson. So while 7 a.m. might seem like a painfully early call time, know that your vendor has plotted out a schedule that will ensure no one is rushed into a too-quick updo or an uneven contour. In the same vein, you also want to heed their guidance when it comes to booking the appropriate amount of artists for the day. "The sweet spot is four services in a five-hour block," says Hendrickson. A bride plus seven bridesmaids equates to 16 hair and makeup services total, which would require four artists.
Should I provide meals for my hair and makeup artists?
Yes! Hair and makeup artistry requires a ton of mental and physical energy, so bring on the bagels and the caffeine. If you’re ordering breakfast for your bridesmaid group, factor in the headcount for your artists as well. And if an artist is staying late for touch-ups after the ceremony, you may also want to order them a vendor dinner.
In what circumstances should I tip above 20 percent?
"When someone performs a duty that is out of the scope of the contract, you should increase their gratuity," says Hendrickson. If your artist squeezes in extra appointments last-minute or stays through the reception for a hair change or makeup touch-ups and that wasn’t previously discussed, consider adding on to their tip.
How else can I show my appreciation?
Reviews are nice, but for Hendrickson, referrals are where it's at. So if you truly loved an artist’s services, sing their praises whenever someone asks for a recommendation. "I get excited when I get a referral because they’re likely going to be from the same like-minded pool of people," Hendrickson says. "I can let my guard down and be a little more relaxed."