tipping for estheticians?

So I've saved up for laser hair treatments for my bikini line and face, and bought a package of five treatments each for each area. In the past, I have been for electrolysis and a couple of laser treatments at other facilities, and the policy there was no tips. (Maybe the esthetician treating me owned the business?) Anyway, now I'm going to a new place, and there seem to be several estheticians, and when you check out after your treatment, they actually ASK you if you'd like to leave a gratuity. There is also a sign at the desk saying, "Gratuities are a courtesy, not an obligation." Of course I'd like to be courteous, but... how do I figure that kind of gratuity? I paid about $1500 for my treatment packages (I consider that big bucks), and if you divide that into ten treatments and figure twenty percent for each, that's $30 for a five-minute laser procedure. If I can't afford to tip that much, am I insulting anyone? Are expected tips figured into an esthetician's pay, like with restaurant servers? So far, I've left her $5 and hoped that was adequate... it's costing me about a month's pay to have this done. Thanks for any advice!
When I get my eyebrows waxed it's $10.00 and I go every two weeks, I usually tip her $5.00 for it, because she's so nice and she's good. But I think any tip you can afford to give will be appreciated, I'm sure they understand if you can't tip more.
I don't tip the woman who does my laser hair removal, but I get it done at a dermatologist's office. I would feel uncomfortable even offering a tip, I think.
I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but I still keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.
if you're having something done at a salon that offers these services but they aren't administered by a physician, then it depends on whether or not you generally tip for other services you recieve, there, for example (mainicure, facial, trims, etc) ,

but

If it's at a medical office or out patient clinic/facility, then no, because that would be like tipping your dentist or their assistant (it's not really appropriate in a medical setting) and it's not really a generic vanity service, more of an esthetic medical srvice, like having your teeth cleaned or getting implants or having medical microdermabrasion, make sense..?

So, I guess it depends on the kind of facility, but anything involving lasers is a surgical procedure and the person doing it should be a double board certified MD...Just incase anything happens or goes wrong...

good luck though and let us know how it turns out!
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Thanks! Actually it is a bit confusing because they call her a "trained technician"... maybe I'm wrong to call her an "esthetician." It does seem to be more of a spa than a dermatologist's office, although my initial consultation when I bought the treatment package was with the dermatologist there, and I got the impression that it was his franchise.
I go to ALS for my laser hair removal. I have never tipped, nor do they ask or have any signs even referring to tipping. Of course, they are more of a dr.'s office type of place.
2c or 3a Cut most of my hair off in July '12 and am working on regrowing it.
I am an aesthetician (licensed) working for a doctor and I depend quite a bit on tips for my livlihood. When people don't tip, I'm not offended or think anything less of them or give them anything but my best at their next service but I sure feel it when I have to pay the bills.
Mid-back length 3a, red.
Currently using: Joico, Redken, LA Looks Curl Look gel, BRHG.
thanks happy-girl, I'm glad you responded!
Is there a percentage that is a rule of thumb for tips?
It is confusing to me since the price per treatment for the laser is much higher than a facial, nails, or waxing, and doesn't seem to take as much of the aesthetician's time... however, maybe more training went into it? I don't know what's right.
There's a LOT more training + risk against her license. Not to mention you're paying for the cost of the equipment... She's not making all that money unless she owns the machine.

For a high price service like that, don't feel like you constantly have to tip her 20%. Heck, if I did a $350 treatment and someone gave me $10, I would be okay with that personally. But that's just me. I feel like, even though it takes a lot of work and money to get me to where I can even do a laser treatment, I realize that it's not as labor intensive.

When I get frustrated is when I do a really strenuous facial or body wax and I'm dog tired afterward and my back is killing me and I KNOW I've given the patient more than they're paying for and they leave me nothing. But, again, that's just me.
Mid-back length 3a, red.
Currently using: Joico, Redken, LA Looks Curl Look gel, BRHG.
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 6,581
The aesthetician I used to go to worked out of a physician's office so I didn't think it was appropriate to tip her. However, at the spa I go to for massages, I tip $10-12.

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