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How much did you pay for your last haircut?

By Steven Bailey 16 June 2015 44

cosmo hair and beauty

Call me a metrosexual or whatever you like, but I love getting my hair cut. Unfortunately it doesn’t make me any better looking. I still walk out with my worry (and laughing) lines, and my nose is just as big and my muscles are just as small. But I do walk out happy. I’m happy with my haircut, and I’m happy with the conversation that I’ve just had.

Hairdressers, similar to taxi drivers, are great political bellwethers and I’m just as satisfied with the conversation as I am with the service, which is why I have no problems parting with $50 when everything is said and done.

I must admit that my more blokey friends do give me a bit of curry when they hear how much I spend at the hairdressers, and sometimes I’m equally astonished at the price of a haircut for some of my female friends. Two, three, or four-hundred dollars seems crazy to me, but after speaking with some respected hairdressers recently, I think it’s only fair that we consider some of the realities and pressures that face the industry.

Hair and beauty teacher at the Canberra Institute of Technology, Suzie Walden, says the industry is experiencing significant pressure, particularly in the ACT.

“It is very difficult [for small businesses] to secure skilled workers with three to fifteen years of experience, and being a predominantly a female industry, many hairdressers leave to start families and don’t return to the industry or decide to work from home,” she says.

“This is problematic for the hairdressing industry as it can create unfair competition with salon owners when they are competing against ‘backyard workers’ without any high overheads like insurances, rents, and tax.”

The award wage for a qualified hairdresser is $746.20 gross per week. When you consider that a qualified hairdresser has completed a four-year apprenticeship which includes two to two-and-a-half years of formal study whilst on the job, it really isn’t a lot of money.

In every other state and territory in Australia, hairdressers are required to train for three years. However, Canberra’s hairdressers must train for an additional year before they are qualified.

“This is difficult to believe when we have apprentices from Queanbeyan training with ACT apprentices,” Suzie says.

Owner of Cosmo Hair and Beauty, Tony Basilisco, has been in the hairdressing business for 30 years. He pays his staff above the award wage and contributes 50 per cent of his staff’s ongoing training.

“We’re just trying to stay alive,” Tony says.

“It’s hard for our industry because it does seem like it is often undervalued by society, but I do have some great customers who are very loyal. My father was a hairdresser and I’d encourage my daughter to do whatever her heart told her to do in life but being in the hairdressing industry really can be a struggle.”

The attrition rate is very high in the hairdressing industry, with the current projected attrition rate at 47.3 per cent, according to CIT.

With half of apprentices dropping out, a long study requirement and low wage prospects for the future, I think Canberra’s hairdressing industry needs our support – especially the small businesses.

(Photo: Tony Basilisco from Cosmo Hair & Beauty with long-time customer Mary Gaskill)


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44 Responses to
How much did you pay for your last haircut?
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zllauh 11:36 am 11 Sep 15

more than a good dinner for a haircut given the growth rate of mine, which will grow within a couple of weeks.

ungruntled 7:08 pm 20 Jun 15

I get my hair cut at Bond Hair Religion is Kingston. I pay quite a bit more than Steven. I’m not a big earner, so sometimes its a bit of a struggle. But, that said, when I go it’s worth every penny. Jenny Tarrant owns the business & cuts my hair and has been doing for nearly 20 years now – I have followed her.

She is an exceptional stylist and runs a very creative, professional salon. Being cared about & for is basic to the experience along with extras – drinks, massage chairs, conversation, everything to make your experience a delight.

But more than that. My experience is that this is a moral, ethical person. There are often collections going on in the salon to support specific & well chosen charitable causes. Everyone is invited to participate if they wish. Always totally without pressure to do so if it does not suit you to do.

There have been times when I couldn’t afford it, but it’s one of those things I do for me – I don’t have many, but i enjoy this one

Holden Caulfield 10:08 pm 18 Jun 15

bryansworld said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Well, we pay more for car insurance.

Based on very solid actuarial data showing that men have a much higher accident rate, I suspect.

Quite. Could it be that there is solid actuarial data that women are prepared to pay more for haircuts etc than men?!

A churlish comparison of mine I agree, but to sidetrack the issue for a moment, it’s discrimination to charge someone more for a product based on sex. And were it true that women were more likely to be involved in a car accident good luck to the insurance company trying to get that past the EEO.

I’m not that serious about the issue and as a straight white anglo guy I totally understand I have it pretty easy on the discrimination from, it’s just that the insurance thing is an odd societal quirk that amuses me a little.

Getting back to the point about the price of women’s haircuts, it really is simple economics isn’t it? That is, while there’s a market willing to pay the price charged the apparent imbalance will continue. Having said that, if I’m getting a buzzcut at a pro rata rate of $150/hr are women actually paying more than men for a cut only given that a standard women’s haircut would usually take a lot longer than 10 minutes?

Maya123 6:20 pm 18 Jun 15

Alexandra Craig said :

Maya123 said :

Alexandra Craig said :

bryansworld said :

Maya123 said :

“How much did you pay for your last haircut?”
Nothing. I don’t pay to get my hair cut. My mother cuts my hair and I cut my fringe. She does it as well as a hairdresser would do. When one day she will no longer be able to, a friend will take over. For me, paying someone to cut your hair is an unnecessary expense and waste of money. In the same league as having your nails done. It’s money that can be saved to spend on better things, such as an extra payment on the mortgage, a holiday, etc.

Sounds good. Does anyone know why womens’ haircuts cost so much more? It seems a ridiculous rip-off for a section a community that earns less money.

I suppose it’s because women mostly have longer hair (and most salons have different prices for long, short, and medium length hair with the short hair price pretty close to the standard men’s price) so it takes much longer, and more product is used for women. Maybe there’s more technical skill required with ladies hair too.

Like any business though, you’re not just paying for someone to cut your hair. You’re paying for the salon rent, electricity, furniture, hot water, shampoo, blowdryers, straighteners, the drink they offer you, the magazines, the cutting scissors (they are actually very expensive – basic ones cost several hundred dollars, the good ones cost over $1000 a pair) etc.

Don’t men’s hairdressers also have expenses, but men don’t pay as much.
If I were to go to a hairdresser I don’t need the “shampoo, blowdryers, straighteners, the drink they offer you, the magazines”, but still I would have to pay more than a man does for a simple haircut. My hair is straight and shoulder length. It is just a matter of cutting around the end and taking some length off. I can’t think of a simpler cut. But fortunately I have people who are capable and willing to cut my hair for free for me, so I don’t need to go to a hairdresser. The job is over quicker too than if I were to visit a hairdresser, which is another advantage. No unnecessary time-filling, extra money-making shampooing my hair (I do shampoo my hair), delays while they attend to someone else, etc. No trying to sell me expensive shampoos that don’t do a better (proven) job than cheaper shampoos. And I don’t have much interest in what the royal family is doing, or the latest in the magazines. (Or perhaps these last comments are showing how many years it is since I have visited a hairdresser.)
If I did need to go to a hairdresser, perhaps I would find out what it cost to get my hair cut with a woman’s hairdresser, and then make enquires at a men’s hairdresser to see if this were a cheaper, possible alternative. It’s just a hair cut after all. Of course another alternative would be to do what I did until my twenties; not cut my hair. However, waist length hair no longer appeals to me.

By the way, what is the cost to get straight shoulder length hair cut in a woman’s hairdressers, versus a men’s hairdresser? Does someone know?

Sounds like you should go to somewhere like JustCuts. They pretty much only have basins and scissors. I’m pretty sure they don’t style people’s hair either.

I could be wrong here (and hopefully a hairdresser will see this and clarify) but I think the reason they wash your hair is because it ideally should be wet for cutting.

What do you mean in regards to “woman’s hairdresser” and a “men’s hairdresser”? I thought it worked in the way that there is hair salons that do both female and male, and then there is barbers that only do male. I’m not aware of any ‘female only’ or ‘male only’ salons. However if you mean that if you take all costs away except for the cut itself and men still pay less, I suppose it’s what Tymefore said: “In hairdressing our customers expectation is for a set price. So the set price of a haircut service is representative of the average. If I had 1000 random mens styles to complete. The time it would take me to do them, the complexity in achieving them and the overall diversity of skills needed. Would be significantly less than doing the same number of random ladies haircuts.”

And about the hair care products that are more expensive but don’t work as well – do you know where I can find the research? Not trying to have a go – I’m actually genuinely interested in reading it. I buy salon quality shampoo (not from my hairdresser) and have been using it since I was maybe 17-18. The other day I ran out and had to use a cheaper brand that I had in the guest bathroom and I could notice the difference immediately, my hair felt like steel wool. Could be a case-by-case thing though I suppose.

Comments on shampoo:
https://www.choice.com.au/health-and-body/beauty-and-personal-care/hair-care-and-removal/articles/shampoo-user-trial

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