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Price of haircuts a gender equality issue, stylists say

Despite the growing “man bun” phenomenon, women are still paying more than men to have their ponytails trimmed

3 min read
caption .blu salon downtown Halifax displays gender price gap
Nicole Gnazdowsky
.blu salon downtown Halifax displays gender price gap
caption .blu salon downtown Halifax displays gender price gap
Nicole Gnazdowsky

With more men sporting more intricate haircuts, hair stylists across the country say it is no longer fair to continue to use the traditional payment model where women’s haircuts cost more than men’s.

Nadine Eberts is a hairstylist who has worked in a number of provinces. She is currently working at Shear Escape Salon and Spa in Regina, where cuts for women range from $35-50 and haircuts for men start at $25-$40.

She said while the issue isn’t one that has been brought to the forefront of gender equality debates, it should be. Tying long hair into a “man bun” has become a popular style for men in 2015.

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“Men’s cuts are as hard to do, take up as much time and sometimes require more detail. They absolutely should be charged as much as women,” she said.

She says there has been a change in the requests men are asking for when getting their hair styled, but little change to pricing structures.

“Most men used to simply get what’s called a guarded haircut. We use a clipper with a guard, buzz it down, that’s all men really wanted, it took maybe 10 minutes,” Eberts said. “Now, there are lots of guys out there who would complain about prices going up, but they want more details and that requires more skills.”

Eberts believes the ideal pricing structure would be based on how much of a stylist’s time an individual haircut takes. This way no matter what the gender of a client may be, or what style they may want, the stylist gets paid equally and appropriately for their time.

“I know stylists who work with mainly male clients, they work the same hours, but make a lot less money,” she said.

Exploring other options

Kristina Hallwas is a hairstylist who recently opened The Junction, a hair salon in Regina, Saskatchewan. This is one of a few salons nationwide that has started to offer a gender-neutral pricing structure.

Their motto is, “don’t pay for the ‘bits’ you have, pay for the ‘do you get.”

Hallwas has structured her pricing by dividing her services into four categories ranging from $12 to $56 depending on the time, expertise and attention a client requires, no matter their gender.

Hallwas said that morally this model just makes sense to her.

She said the feedback she has received varies. “Some males are accepting, others are not happy to see their prices sometimes go up depending on what they’re looking for,” she said. Hallwas said her female clients are happy with the pricing.

“They always wondered why they were paying more for similar service.”

“A lot more females have hairstyles that require less effort than men now,” she said. “It’s only a matter of time before people realize a shift in the pricing structure throughout the industry actually makes more sense.”

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