How Much Do You Tip For Acrylic Nails? The Acrylics Guide To Tipping

Tipping for anything can be confusing because there’s not a general consensus regarding what the right tip amount is. People also have different opinions on what the appropriate amount to tip is for nail services such as acrylics. 

Let’s discuss the best way to figure out how much to tip and how you should give that tip (cash vs. leaving it on your card). It’s so important to tip your nail tech any time you get your nails done, but especially if they do a great job! 

Do Acrylics Cost More Than Other Nail Services?

Acrylic nails tend to cost more than other nail services. The biggest reason is that they are more labor-intensive, and they require more materials to complete. This can be compared to gel polish or regular polish manicure, which just need a base coat, polish, and topcoat. With acrylics, you have an acrylic powder and liquid monomer, plus the sculpting of the nail shape and then adding colors and designs at the end. Because of this, acrylic nails are one of the most expensive services you can have done at a nail salon. 

For a standard, plain set of acrylics, it canl cost you around $45. Then, the price goes up from there, with most people spending around $60 to $80 and up for a colorful set or nail art designs. These are also just general price ranges, and some luxury salons might cost you even more than that. That’s not to deter you from getting these services done; they are worth it because they last so long and look amazing. Just be aware that it does cost more, which means you will also have to spend more on the tip. 

What is the Customary Tipping Amount?

The customary tipping amount for any service (waitress, hairdresser, etc.) is 20%. This is just a standard number that provides a fair tip to whoever provided your service while also not being an insanely large amount for the customer. The thought process is that 20% is enough to be a solid amount of money for someone to take home, but it does not break the bank for the consumer. There are definitely exceptions to this rule, and it works both ways (both higher and lower than 20%). There are two instances where you would tip more than the standard tip amount. 

One of these situations is if you buy something extremely inexpensive. An example is if you just get a polish removal, which is typically around $8-10 depending on the salon. With that math, the nail tech will only make a $1-2 tip on that service. And while that is the standard 20%, people will often throw in at least an extra dollar for the technician’s time. The other situation is if your service was absolutely beyond incredible. If the person performing your service went above and beyond what they were supposed to do, you should consider giving them more than 20%. 

Many people complain that tips are outdated or don’t like to tip because it makes the service more expensive. A general rule of thumb to follow is that if you can’t afford the service with the additional cost of a 20% tip, you shouldn’t be getting the service. That may sound harsh, but it’s an important thing to remember. If you spend $60 on your nails, which is already a good chunk of money, you should also be able to afford an extra $12 for the tip, which is not a lot of money compared to the cost of the service. 

There is only one reason why you would leave a low tip, or potentially no tip at all. If your nail tech did a horrible job and messed your nails up (and didn’t offer to fix them), then this might be cause for a lower tip. However, the appropriate thing to do would be to talk to the manager and see what they have to say, rather than just leaving without tipping. They might offer you a discount on your services or a credit to use for the next time. They might also be able to advise you on whether or not it’s ok to leave a smaller tip.  

Is it Better to Tip With Cash or Card?

As the saying goes, cash is king, and that is still true today, even in a predominantly credit-and-debit-based world. Salons and nail technicians are aware of this too, which is why many places have policies that say you can only tip your tech in cash. It’s just better to give someone cash when it comes to tipping due to the cash value. The other reason is that spas and salons have to pay transaction and flat fees for credit card purchases, which can get costly. 

You heard that right: salon owners have to pay money to let people use credit cards at their place of business. Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why they would prefer cash tips. Depending on the salon, they may even deduct money from the tip to go towards the fees. And honestly, above all, it’s just easier to hand a nail tech a single bill rather than go through the transactions and make sure the correct tip gets added to their paycheck. It can be a hassle, and unfortunately, the nail techs are the ones who end up losing out in the end. 

Of course, you would hope that the place of business that you go to is fair and responsible. You want to trust that they will make sure the tips get into the hands (or into the paychecks) of the hardworking people who do your nails. It’s a disheartening fact that many places steal tips or withhold tips from their employees for various reasons. Seriously, some places will dock someone’s tips if they show up a few minutes late to work. With all that said, directly handing your nail tech some cash is a much better way to tip overall. 

What Should You Do if You Don’t Have Cash and They Don’t Accept Card Tips?

Unfortunately, this happens more than you might think. In a world dealing with the pandemic and its aftermath, many people just don’t carry cash due to it being highly unsanitary. And besides that, most younger people simply never have cash on them because of the growing popularity of debit and credit cards. They are easier to use, and you never have to worry about having enough cash to pay for things. We get it, cards are just that much easier than cash, and it means you have less to carry in your wallet and less to worry about. 

There are a couple of things you can do if you go to a salon that doesn’t let you tip on your card. Before you do anything, make sure you tell your nail tech, so they don’t think that you just didn’t tip them. After that, you pretty much have two solid options to choose from. The first thing you can do is just head to the closest ATM and take out the amount of cash you need to tip. This is a simple solution, and you should be able to do it quickly if you have the time. Just make sure you let the nail tech know that you’ll be back with their tip. 

Your other option is to see if your nail tech has a personal payment account, such as Venmo, Zelle, or PayPal. This is a great option if you truly are in a rush and don’t have time to make it to the bank. It’s also easy for your nail tech because then they will have the money transferred directly to their account, which means they don’t have to stop at the bank to deposit the cash either. Just ask them for their username, confirm it’s them, and send the money over. And if they don’t have one, then you are unfortunately stuck with running out to the bank to get them a cash tip instead. Whatever you do, just don’t forget to tip!


Hopefully, you now know why it’s important to tip your nail tech. You should also know how much you need to tip for acrylic nails, which cost more than other nail services. Remember that if you can’t afford to get acrylics plus the cost of a 20% tip, you might want to consider if you should be getting the service done at all. Tipping is an important way to make sure your nail techs make enough money and to let them know you appreciate their services. 


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