Finally, The Answer To Life's Biggest Question: 'How Much Should I Tip?'

by Emily Arata

The way you tip says more about you than your horoscope, taste in men or favorite pair of shoes.

Some customers opt for the biggest tip possible, using a little extra money as a chance to show goodwill to their fellow man and woman.

We all have the friend who craves being remembered by individual bartenders, so they lay it on extra thick. On the other hand, there are the Ebenezer Scroogettes of the tipping world.

Miserly grasping the three pennies a cashier handed them as change, they opt for awkwardly stuffing the coins in a pocket instead of dropping them into a Starbucks barista’s tip jar.

Somewhere between the two extremes lies a blissful medium where both customers and servers leave happy, but no one seems sure where it is. In the beauty, nightlife and service worlds, everyone has a different opinion.

We know you don’t want to straight-up ask your manicurist how much money she'd like, so we did it for you. We also consulted the two other exhaustive sources of knowledge in our lives: Mom, and our best friends.

Take out your purse, because there’s no excuse for not tipping now.

The Manicurist

Mom thinks: $3.00, minimum.

Best friend says: 20 to 25 percent, easy.

Experts want: 20 to 25 percent of the total tab, according to Essie's flagship salon in NYC. Divide that tip between multiple technicians if necessary, especially if you had a pedicure as well. If you use a discount or a gift card, plan to tip based on the service’s original price.

The Tan Technician

Mom thinks: 20 percent.

Best friend says: 10 percent, because they’re "not doing that much.”

Experts want: Gotham Glow uses Square to process payments, meaning customers see a tip amount automatically suggested. Customers normally tip between 15 and 25 percent, but 20 percent is considered sufficient.

The Barista

Mom thinks: At least $1.

Best friend says: No tip. Or maybe on occasion if you're a regular.

Experts want: It's hotly disputed, but the staff at Manhattan chain Gregory's Coffee say the area standard is at least $1 per cup (yes, especially if you go every day). But, if you're opting for a frozen soy mocha that tops out around $5.00, put down several dollars instead of a single.

The Personal Trainer

Mom thinks: I already paid for the session; I don’t need to tip.

Best friend says: Are you supposed to tip a personal trainer?

Experts want: According to many personal fitness forums, it’s not necessary to tip a personal trainer. However, a once-per-year bonus, about equal to the cost of a single session, is considered good form.

The Hair Stylist

Mom thinks: 15 to 20 percent.

Best friend says: 20 percent.

Experts want: 15 to 20 percent of the cut's original price for the stylist, as well as 3 to 5 percent for the person who washed your hair, according to the staff of Shampoo Ave B.

The Colorist

Mom thinks: Around 15 percent.

Best friend says: 20 percent.

Experts want: 20 percent of the total bill, with an added $5 to $10 for any assistants involved, say colorists at Brooklyn's The Paint Box. Don't forget to throw $10 to $20 towards the person doing your blowout.

The Makeup Artist

Mom thinks: If it's a make-up counter, buy something in the store.

Best friend says: You should probably tip, but I'm not sure what.

Experts want: Nothing, surprisingly. It's not necessary to tip in-store beauty counter employees and, in some cases, expressly forbidden – but it's a good idea to purchase a product. If you use an artist from an in-home beauty service like Glamsquad, a 20 percent tip is already included in the final bill.

The Massage Therapist

Mom thinks: 20 percent, plus a few more dollars if it was extra enjoyable.

Best friend says: 25 percent, unless it's terrible.

Experts want: 15 to 20 percent, according to the massage therapists at LUSH Spa. They're working to make you comfortable, so you may as well thank them a little. After all, when was the last time you turned your neck without it cracking?