Do you tip a haircutter?
The short answer: if you want to.
When you value the service given higher than the amount asked, add a tip. If you are truly appreciative, but financially unable to tip, express your pleasure verbally and return regularly. You could also recommend your haircutter to others. There is no greater compliment than a loyal clientele–true haircutter success takes hundreds of clients getting 1 to 52 haircuts year after year.
Tips are especially appreciated where service prices are uniformly set for every haircutter and where stylists are paid wages–a cruel practice I am fervently opposed to. (For example: the business charges you $15.50 for a haircut, but pays the person who cut your hair an hourly wage of, say, $7.50. If she does two cuts in an hour, the business makes $31 of which less than 25% will go to the one who did the work.) In these cases, any additional money you gift your haircutter shows you value their unique service.
I’ve been told it’s common practice not to tip shop/salon owners with employees, since they profit by collecting either a small percentage of their business or weekly chair rents.