Haircut Negotiations

I get my hair cut every four or five weeks because I like my hair short, and I pay around $50, plus tip, to get it cut each time. There are a lot of reasons why I pay $50: I’ve always been completely satisfied with my cuts (I got a lot of bad $20 haircuts from Supercuts before I made the switch); the place I go to is conveniently close to my apartment; it’s really social and a great place to have a conversation with everyone who is getting their hair cut at the same time—I led a discussion about credit card debt this weekend (Susan Orlean wrote about the vibe of this place 20 years ago); and last, but most important, I actually have a terrible haircut phobia where I literally start shaking in my chair (“Are you cold?” “No, I’m just terrified!”), but I don’t shake if I trust the hairdresser, and at this place, I do, so I gladly hand over my money each time I have an appointment.

On this particular Saturday appointment, I was armed with a question that Logan asked out of the blue one day while we were at the park.

“Oh, look at that girl’s hair,” she had said. “It’s so short, and it looks so good. The problem with short hair is that it grows out quickly and starts looking bad, so you have to get it cut a lot, and that’s expensive, obviously.”

“I have short hair, and I get it cut often,” I said.

“Yeah, but it costs a lot more for women to get their hair cut.”

Which: True! So that was the question I asked when I got my haircut this weekend. If a woman with short hair is getting a haircut, shouldn’t she be able to pay the cheaper price that men pay?

My hairdresser told me that women who get short haircuts aren’t really getting a men’s cut, and it requires a different sort of skill.

“If a woman were to get an actual man’s haircut, it would probably look bad on her,” she said. “We have to consider the shape of her head, and her face. If we’re cutting it that short, she’ll want to be pleased. Also, the women’s prices here aren’t so much different than the men’s.”

The price was about an $8 difference, depending on the stylist.

“Well, what if a woman wanted to get a man’s haircut,” I asked. “Would she be able to pay the same price as a man?”

“That’s a good question,” she said. “And now that we’re talking about it, it’s important to have this discussion when you’re having your initial consultation with your stylist, because if you felt really strongly about it, you could probably negotiate a lower price.”

“So, if you don’t ask, you don’t get,” I said.

“Exactly. We obviously have close relationships with our clients here, and we want them to be happy.”

So there you have it. Haircut prices can be up for negotiation—just make sure you have a good reason to ask for a discount.


Photo: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia



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