The general rule of thumb is to tip a hairstylist 20 percent of the cost of the cut and style. It is unlikely that a hairstylist would be offended by a 15 percent tip, however, particularly in small towns where gratuities tend to be lower. It is customary to tip the shampooer or stylist's assistant with anywhere from $2 to about $5, depending on the amount of work done. It is always a good idea to tip in cash.
Don't assume that any tip given to a stylist will be divided among everyone who worked on a given client. If someone did the shampooing, someone did a conditioning treatment and the stylist did the actual cutting and styling, give the stylist the full 20 percent tip, and hand a few dollars to the other two. Alternatively, give the entire tip to the front desk staff, and explain exactly how it should be distributed.
When using a discount at the salon, such as a Groupon for a half-priced cut, tip on the original amount of any services received.
In addition, it is traditional to tip a regular stylist an additional $25 to $50 at the holidays, although providing a gift card or small gift is also acceptable.