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Anitra Brown

Tipping At The Medical Spa

By August 18, 2008

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Tipping at the medical spa is creates quite a bit of confusion. "I just had my third glycolic peel and it just occurred to me…should I be tipping?" asked one visitor to the site, Dara. She had not because "it's a very short appointment and very expensive." Another person was getting laser treatments and wondered about tipping the esthetician who would be performing the procedures. There is no hard and fast rule here. Many medical spas don't allow tipping because it interferes with their "medical" image. Others allow it, especially if they offer traditional treatments like facials, massage, even waxing. I would tip 15-20% for traditional treatments and glycolics if they are part of an overall facial. If it's a "quickie" like a glycolic peel and is done by an esthetician I would probably offer a $10. For a more lengthy laser treatment by an esthetician, I would offer $20. But for a doctor or physician's assistant doing Botox injections, I would feel strange tipping. How about you? Do you tip at the medical spa?
August 19, 2008 at 1:48 pm
(1) CE says:

I recently had microdermabrasion performed by an esthetician at a dermatology group’s office and inquired at check-in whether it was appropriate or not to tip. I was told no. That seemed reasonable to me since it was in a doctor’s office.

August 19, 2008 at 4:28 pm
(2) PKR says:

I don’t tip at medical appts. I don’t tip the doctors, dentists or nurses so I don’t see why I need to tip someone working in the medical field of another speciality.

September 9, 2008 at 1:32 pm
(3) HMD says:

My membership in a professional skin care association precludes me from accepting tips, however, I would like to let clients know that aestheticians receive little, if any, compensation from the service provided beyond that of an hourly wage (at least here in the northeast). It is my opinion that aestheticians who provide a service that is well done should be tipped.

September 11, 2008 at 3:53 pm
(4) KK says:

Tipping has really gotten out of hand. I am a professional and do not get a tip for doing my job, so I do not tip at a Medical Spa. How about at an expensive destination spa? I have visited several recently and think the all inclusive price should take care of the staff too. At $1000 a day tips should not be expected. Any thoughts?

September 14, 2008 at 2:32 pm
(5) spas says:

The therapist does not get that much of the money that goes to the treatment — maybe $15 to $20 for a massage or facial. The tip brings that up to $35 or $40. That may sound like a lot per hour, but you’re not getting paid at many places unless you’re working and downtime is a fact of life at spas. So the tip makes all the difference.

January 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm
(6) medi-spa owner says:

Medical estheticians`

January 7, 2011 at 9:39 pm
(7) spa owner says:

Medical estheticians are trained above and beyond regular estheticians, provide their clients with the utmost in technology and safety, yet do not receive appreciably higher pay. When you are tipping your esthetician, you ARE NOT tipping a physician because you are not receiving a physician’s service, for which you would pay a consult fee instead. It is proper etiquette to tip an esthetician, whether in a doctor’s office, medispa, or regular spa.

March 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm
(8) CC says:

I am an Esthetician, soon to be Medical Esthetician. As a Medical Esthetician you do not make anymore money, in fact, for the amount of work you do, you are taking a pay cut. Gratuities are always appreciated. Keep in mind that when you are paying a steep price for a service, it’s not going to the Esthetician. On another note, if you can afford pricey services, but can’t tip $10-20 dollars, shame on you.

March 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm
(9) sonya says:

I don’t think one should has to tip at dr’s office for service received. Whether it was laser or glicolic peel.

April 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm
(10) Linh Nguyen says:

I’m getting laser hair removal treatment at a laser center and I was wondering if I should tip my Medical Esthetician but because they are “medical” I assume not because its unethical to accept any stipend from patient. If I have to tip my Med Esthetician then I should start tipping my Medical Assistant too??
PS. I tipped my massage therapist and facial esthetician.

December 27, 2011 at 9:00 am
(11) Amanda says:

Tipping has gone out of control! For haircuts and the like, I do tip. For botox/facials/etc, no way. If I was a millionaire/billionaire, things might be different but since I’m mid-class, don’t expect a tip. Do a bad job, you will not be hearing from my friends and might receive a report to BBB/etc.

January 26, 2012 at 9:06 am
(12) Rosalin says:

I’m going to be starting my exilis tx on my stomach. Just found out that the one performing the procedure will be an esthetician. Should I be tipping at each of my 4 appointments..when the total cost for this was $1000?

February 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm
(13) Anitra says:

Rosalin, I would ask the policy of the place where you are getting the treatment. What is Exilis, anyway?

I know that the therapist always appreciates a tip. If the treatment cost is $250 to $500, I don’t think the usual 15 to 20% applies. A $20 would be nice.

March 28, 2012 at 2:21 am
(14) Jill gildman says:

I bought a package of treatments for microderm/ chem peels and each was 95$. I had to buy them at once. My questio is, do I tip the medical estitician every time. And she is also one if the partners in the office.

June 22, 2012 at 11:22 am
(15) J says:

I go to woman that is a medical esthetician. She owns and operates the spa herself. I pay $125 for a chemical peel. Should I still be tipping her?

August 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm
(16) Christine says:

I thinking tipping the esthetician for facials is appropriate. Some procedures are tip costly to tip 15-20%. I don’t think the M.D should be tipped. That’s ridiculous. Being in the industry I don’t expect a 15% on my services because some can cost up to $400. I was once at a med spa that added on 20% to a 465.00 bill. I was shocked since some of the treatments were expensive but took less than 20 minutes and I had a B12 shot. I refused to tip them that much considering the facial was horrible. They were upset with me but I didn’t care. I gave them $20 and that was being generous given the less mediocre experience.

August 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm
(17) Mystic says:

I tip, I get great service – above and beyond, it is appreciated and I will continue to tip – If I can afford to get beauty treatments then I should be able to afford to tip $10 and skip my morning trip to Starbucks seriously. Plus alot of the ppl I have met need those tips just as much as your hairdresser does

October 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm
(18) Dee says:

I just had a chemical peel today that cost $250.00. On checking out, I wondered what I should tip. 20% would be $50, but thought that was a bit much. I gave the esthetician $40 and have a follow-up in 2 weeks when she’ll apply the remainder for the product. I’m thinking it may not be necessary to tip again at that time. What do you think?

October 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm
(19) K.G. says:

Is it fair to go to a restaraunt and buy the food/drinks you want and then not tip your server accordingly?!
There are certain trades that are paid at a scale expecting the service provider will be additionally compensated with a tip. Fair or not to the consumer, this should be a cost they assume when deciding what they can spend on their service.
No, an esthetician does not expect a 15-20% tip on treatments, such as laser, that cost hundreds or more per treatment.
But on a facial or other treatment that you would tip on at any other spa, YES! That is our bread and butter. We may work with a doctor, but we do not make the money of a doctor. I have spent much time and money to be able to provide the best treatment possible for my clients. I can do more for them in a medical setting. It is upsetting to think that people would penelize me for it, but would readily give an esthetician providing basic services in a non-med setting a tip.
Yes, maybe the employer should pay more so you don’t have to tip, but then, restaurants should too! Until that changes, tips on spa services provided in ANY setting should be worked into the budget of the client.

November 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm
(20) dee says:

I’m looking for thoughts on tipping. I had an expensive peel 6 weeks ago ($250.00) and because I was concerned about the strength and have sensitive skin, the esthetician used 1/2 the solution and suggested that I come back 6 weeks later (tomorrow, 11/8) for a 2nd application.

I tipped her at the initial visit $40.00. After reading comments here, it seems that was reasonably generous.
My question is this – should I tip her again tomorrow?

November 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm
(21) Flo says:

I tip on facials but not on laser removal treatments, botox, etc…

It makes me cringe when I hear, if you can afford to spend $150 for a treatment then you should tip or these workers don’t make a lot of money, etc….

I worked for my money and because every so often I spend $150 on a treatment doesn’t mean that I earn more money than you. By spending if on beauty treatments I’m already giving you job security, if people are not happy w/ their salaries they should take it up to their bosses. I’m not a bank nor social services. This tipping craze has gotten out of control.

February 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm
(22) PP says:

Why the owners don’t pay well to their employees? If you think your job doesn’t pay well, why don’t you change your profession. A true professional should not accept tips. How do you want other people to look at you or your job?

April 4, 2013 at 4:49 pm
(23) C.L. says:

In response to K.G….You can’t compare a Medical Spa to a Restaraunt, because a server doesn’t even make minimum wage! I’m going to ask the receptionist what is appropriate.

April 23, 2013 at 9:12 am
(24) Stephanea says:

I think that when you are provided any service and it is done attentively, you should tip respectively..a medical esthetician is not a physician and last I checked gets not even the fraction of the wages a physician would. I believe that if someone providing you a service has met your expectations and has given you the utmost service, then you should definitely tip. It is proper etiquette.

April 30, 2013 at 9:10 am
(25) Kelly says:

It makes me cringe to hear – On another note, if you can afford pricey services, but can’t tip $10-20 dollars, shame on you.

I honestly don’t mind leaving a tip -but the salon needs to be very up front about what they EXPECT your payment to be (service plus tip). If when offering the service to you, they OMIT to tell you they expect a tip, then they are being dishonest about the actual cost of the service. It should be stated up front whether a tip is part of the service and added to the bill so you see it up front. By not doing that they are being dishonest and hiding the true cost of the service to the consumer. I can’t make a decision about a purchase unless I know the actual cost. Then I can make my decision. All this debate is ridiculous…it’s up to the spa to communicate their expectations to their customers….and let them make a decision on the service based on a very honest discussion about the true cost. Hiding information does not help anyone.

May 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm
(26) Kathy says:

Monday I have an appointment for permanent eyeliner at a medical spa, applied by a RN. After purchasing this groupon, I received an email telling me to tip on the full $700.00!!! Does anyone really tip an RN $100.00+ on a $700.00 procedure?? Im still unsure/confused as to what I should do. I also work for my money!

May 9, 2013 at 5:57 pm
(27) Anitra Brown says:

Hi Kathy, That does sound unusual. Oftentimes permanent eyeliner is applied by someone who owns their own salon and they keep the entire amount. If this is a medical spa, they might just be paying the R.N by the hour or a portion of the groupon rate you paid. And they are trying to boost her compensation by asking you to tip on the full amount.

So….I would take into account how much you’re paying, how much the service is worth, whether the person is keeping the full amount or is someone’s employee, how good a job she does, how long it takes and then do what you think is fair. You can also take into account that when you bought the service you weren’t expecting to pay a $120 tip! I would give something, though, as it sounds like she’s an employee.

July 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm
(28) KC says:

Hi, I just bought a groupon for a Lipo treatments, it will be done at an Aesthetic.
The price of it is $159 for 3 treatments, and they said the value is $1,000.00.
Can someone please tell me how much should I tip then?
If I give $20-30 per treatment, will that be okay?
Thanks for answering!

July 18, 2013 at 11:23 am
(29) Anitra says:

I think in this case I would ask the front desk what would be appropriate. To me, $20-$30 per tx sounds good.

July 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm
(30) Jess says:

As an Esthetician that rents out my room I do make the FULL price on a service. If people ask me about tips I say they are always appreciated, but that referrals are always the best. If I do a good job word of mouth to friends and family is what I love! Most of the time my longtime clients tip me always even if it is just a little and I am always thankful. One thing I might add though it that of you are purchasing a Groupon the seller only makes HALF of the deal price ($20 deal facial, $10 we make off of a $60 treatment) In this case make sure you absolutely tip your service provider. So I think referrals are the best tip, but if you are getting a deal I think a tip should be included.

August 8, 2013 at 2:20 am
(31) Don't be cheap! says:

Karma is a… Well not a nice being. I hope your children aren’t in the service industry.

August 13, 2013 at 7:26 pm
(32) a says:

I’m getting my first treatment at a medical spa and have read all the comments. I’ll probably call ahead to hear about how they handle these things.

It did get me thinking about the dentist office. Technically, the hygienist is who you see for 90% of the cleaning visit. …We don’t tip the hygienist. What I don’t know is if a dental hygienist and a med. aesthetician have a similar pay scale. Service costs do see similar. In fact, my facial will cost more than tooth cleaning, polishing, basic x–rays and a review by the dentist. I’m probably only going to this spa once now that I’ve just reasoned out how ludicrous it sounds.

August 14, 2013 at 11:03 am
(33) Amy Green says:

I agree with one of the comments, tipping has gotten out of hand. However, I am getting a facial peel at a medical spa this week and I definitely intend on tipping. Unless noted by the spa that tipping is not needed, I will give some appreciation to those that are providing a service in which they are spending at least a half hour of their time on me. The kid that handed me my ice cream cone does not get a tip; I can only give so much and don’t expect a tip in my profession.

October 22, 2013 at 1:51 pm
(34) Bradley says:

I am a Medical Professional. It is a Federal Offense for any Medical Professional to accept a gratuity for any duties performed under a License issued by the Department of California Public Health Services. This includes but is not limited to. MD, DR. Phd. RN. LVN. CNA. RNA Dentists, dialysis tech, ect… A medical professional may lose the license as a result of a violation. There are specific test questions one must answer on each examination required to obtain a health care License in California. If a Medical professional encourages you to leave tips as a customer, the health care provider is indeed doing so knowing that accepting gratuity is a violation of federal law.

December 15, 2013 at 8:23 am
(35) Gen says:

It’s a service. Bottom line services should be tipped. Waitress, hairstylist, cab driver. Pizza delivery, Botox, massages, laser treatments etc are all services. Tipping says thank you and appreciation for a job well done. Nothing worse than doing an amazing haircut and being proud of it and then seeing the client walk out with no tip. It’s rude not to mention those that tip get better service. It’s true… Waitresses will seat you at better tables and hook up free food or drink… Stylists will throw in an extra conditioner treatment.. Medical estheticians will add in those extra couple CC of Botox on your face.. Better tip is better appreciation equals better service

January 1, 2014 at 11:14 pm
(36) Noel says:

Teachers are a service industry…as well as postal workers, police men, firefighters…. Do you tip them each time they preform a service?

February 14, 2014 at 10:40 am
(37) Paula says:

So, should a yoga instructor at a spa be tipped?

February 19, 2014 at 3:01 pm
(38) Stephanie says:

For those of you trying to compare a waitress who earns $2.13/hr to professional Esthetician is ridiculous!! If they were paid the same as a waitress i would DEFINITELY tip. They are fairly compensated as a medical professional. I, as an accountant, do not get tipped….. I am performing a service as well am i not? Tipping has gotten way out of hand.

February 26, 2014 at 5:11 pm
(39) Medical spas says:

Best Comment here:

“when you are provided any service and it is done attentively, you should tip respectively..a medical esthetician is not a physician and last I checked gets not even the fraction of the wages a physician would. I believe that if someone providing you a service has met your expectations and has given you the utmost service, then you should definitely tip. It is proper etiquette.”

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