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Why Do Women Pay More Than Men Do for the Same Haircut?

August 2, 2013

This is the e-mail that I just sent to the salon I’m going to about one of the most blatant examples of gender discrimination that still exists in our society. I would love for more people to raise a stink about this. Maybe the salons would stop this madness.

Dear CutLoose,

I have a serious concern with your business practices which I wanted to relay to you. I looked on your website and noticed that you charge $20-$30 more for a women’s haircut than you do for a men’s haircut. This pricing is based solely on the customer’s gender and not on his or her hair type, hair length, desired cut, the difficulty of the cut, the time needed for the cut, etc.

As a woman who has very easy-to-cut hair and simple tastes (I will be getting a quick trim which can usually be knocked out in under 10 minutes), I don’t understand why my gender should cause me to have to pay $20-$30 more than a male customer who may desire a more complicated, difficult cut.

My issue is not even with the actual price…it is with the price discrimination. I would have no trouble paying $70+ for a haircut if I knew that every other customer with similar hair needs were paying the same amount.

Your price difference by gender has the potential to lead your stylists into some uncomfortable situations. For example, what is your policy for transgendered customers? Do they pay the average of the two cuts? If I walk into the store and insist to the stylist that I am a man, will I receive a cheaper haircut? Along similar lines, would you charge separate prices for individuals of different races who have different hair types?

I understand that this policy is not only in place at CutLoose but is standard for the industry. In fact, this gender discrimination is the sole reason that I never get my hair cut by a professional. (I will be coming to CutLoose because someone gave me a gift certifcate and otherwise would not even consider it.)

However, if CutLoose were willing to take the lead with this issue by eliminating gender discrimination with haircut pricing, I can assure you that I would become a loyal customer.

Thank you,

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From → feminism, gender

12 Comments
  1. Same with dry cleaning. A plain woman’s shirt or woman’s jacket is usually charged more than a man’s and somehow that’s all okay.

    • Really? I had no idea about the dry cleaning. Based on people’s reactions to my letter, this price discrimination is not something that has occurred to most people. Thanks for the helpful post. I want to figure out what to do about this.

  2. cristycan permalink

    At one time there was a reason for this. Womens haircuts in general took longer, and in the old days women often had more styling done after their cut. They had a blowdry, curling or flat iron, and roller sets that were included with their cuts. Their cuts were often more complicated and took twice as long as a mans cut. BUT THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE TODAY. Sometimes a mans haircut can take just as long as the women in the chair next to him and yet she pays more. Salons are reluctant to raise the price of a mans cut also because they fear the man will go to the barber and men would complain more, whereas women do not complain.

    • Good point about the complaining. I agree that the reason salons get away with this is that women don’t complain. So now we need to start complaining! Thanks for posting.

  3. cristycan permalink

    I know I have worked in the industry for 30 years. I say more women should complain, and at the same time though we have to convince men they should carry some of the financial burden of supporting this profession….so it does not all fall on the womens shoulders. Men like a good cut too…they should be willing to pay abit more.

  4. It’s true. And I would think that a man going to a nice salon would be in the demographic of men who would be willing to pay more for a cut.

  5. Sandy permalink

    I’m curious if you ever received a response to your letter…

    • I actually had the chance to speak to them in person about it. They assured me that, in practice, they charge less for women who have simple haircuts. They also said that charging according to gender is standard industry practice. I told them that I would not be able to get my hair cut there because of that. They seemed sorry but not sorry enough to change anything.

  6. cristycan permalink

    I hate to say it but I think about this constantly at work where we charge two thirds to men that we charge to women sometimes for a very similar cut…just because…one is a man and one is a woman Women still pay more….for JUST A CUT without a shampoo or any fancy styling afterwords…than men do. Men who get really quick buzz cuts pay even less yet….and in fairness women who get a really super quick cut will also be given a discount, but still overall women pay more JUST BECAUSE they do…..and there is a fear that if we charge men more they will all go to the barber. When the price of a mans cut rises to a certain level men complain as if you are cutting off their left …you know what…women just accept it but don’t like it. I WISH this would change in our industry…but everyone has to be on board at once. Very hard to get competing salons to agree on any kind of standards. You know who DOESNT discriminate anymore, are the quick haircut places like Great Clips etc…they often have one price for a cut regardless of your sex…..but they also only spend about 12 minutes on your cut too regardless of the style….so some women with complicated cuts will be very unhappy with that kind of cut….and some men with quick buzz cuts might even pay MORE at these places than in a regular salon.

  7. I didn’t know the cheap salons had stopped discriminating. That’s heartening. I wonder what made them make that change. You’re right about it being difficult for one place to change without all of them changing, unless they’re guaranteed of some kind of financial benefit for changing. For example, a place like Whole Foods can charge more for food, claiming that their food is morally superior, and can expect a lot of people to shop there just because of the moral superiority of the food. If a salon could boast that it doesn’t discriminate based on gender and bring in certain customers only because of this claim, salons would be more likely to change.

  8. Why not cut it yourself with hair clippers

    • Steven, it’s so funny that you just posted that, because I actually just did that for the first time to myself a couple of weeks ago. And you know what? Totally fine. I will now be doing this for the rest of my life.

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