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Stylists Say: Should You Get Your Hair Stylist A Holiday Gift?


Introducing Stylists Say, where the top hairstylists in the industry answer your most pressing salon etiquette questions. Whether you’re concerned about answering your phone mid-hair appointment or you never know how much to tip the person who shampoos your mane, our hair experts break down all the do’s and don’ts.

The holiday shopping season is traditionally a mad dash of online tracking numbers and half-opened rolls of printed wrapping paper. On top of that, you have to figure out what to tip the service providers in your life. When it comes to the salon, there’s one subject that’s not always clear: Should you get your hair stylist a holiday gift? If so, what are some appropriate hair stylist holiday gift ideas?

Ryan Pearl, a celeb-beloved Redken artist at Cutler SoHo in New York City, says holiday gifts are never mandatory for stylists. Don’t panic! A gift should be a reflection of excellent service over the past year, not a check grudgingly given.

End-of-year holiday gifts are not mandatory at all—I’m blessed to have my clients.

The business relationship you have with your stylist can often be more personal than the one you share with, say, the team that picks up your recycling once a week. The safe salon atmosphere invites shared creativity and regular updates on what’s happening in your life.

If you have a particularly buddy-buddy relationship with your hair stylist, think of a holiday gift as a small token to show how much you appreciate them and how well you know their interests. Pearl recommends ignoring any advice that the amount you spend on a gift should correlate to the price of your regular salon services—on the contrary, the present should be a reflection of how much you value the relationship.

“It should totally be up to what you feel comfortable giving—anything is appreciated,” Pearl adds.

Now that you’ve got the etiquette down, it’s time to start brainstorming gift ideas. Pearl says clothing is a surprising gift you might want to consider, especially if you can easily guess your stylist’s size.

He explains:

“I’m never upset with clothing if you know your stylist’s taste since half of our stuff gets ruined by color, lightener, etc. We are always buying and needing clothes. A massage is always a great idea since we are always on our feet! Last but not least, money—probably my number one.”

Pearl, who’s an admitted sneakerhead, says his past clients have even been generous enough to add another pair of kicks to his extensive collection.

“I also love sneakers…I’ve even gotten a designer pair or two from a client,” he says. “They are honestly so generous to me. I’m really, really lucky.”

OK, so sneakers might not be the right gift for everyone. If you can think of a present that’s meaningful for your stylist and may improve their day-to-day life, go ahead and give it with confidence. Stepping out of your comfort zone to show others you appreciate them is what the holidays are all about!

Have a salon etiquette question you want to see answered? Reach out to us at [email protected]. For more information about Pearl’s work, read about his favorite pink hair trends for the new year.