Why are haircuts so expensive?

stir_fryiMay 6, 2009

I usually go to a cheapy place ($12) but my girl is moving out of state.

I've asked for recommendations from friends and the places they go all start at $35! I just can't see paying someone to cut your hair the same as what you would pay for a doctors office visit in some cases.

Since when did cutting hair become rocket science?

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Mine only costs $17, plus tip.

Why don't you learn to cut your own?
I used to cut my own, but like the idea of keeping someone employed...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 4:42PM
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I cut my own (a short precision cut that requires trimming the neckline with clippers). I budget and pay myself $20 and put the money in the Emergency/Christmas Savings Account. A nice way to sock away $240/year.

Look around for a "beauty school" for low prices - if you don't mind a cut from someone in training. Good old-fashioned barbers are usually less expensive than a salon. Order a Flowbee. My sister has used one of these for years, and another friend also uses one on herself and her husband.


Here is a link that might be useful: Flobee

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 5:43PM
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As a hairdresser, I thought I would reply to this. Not sure where you are located, but I am in North Central Ohio and the average price here is $25.00. That is a shampoo and cut. Shampoo, cut, and style...$35.00. However just 40 minutes south of me one could expect to pay $50.00 or more for a shampoo and haircut. I include the shampoo with my cut because, frankly, I think you get a better cut then you do when trying to spray down with the water bottle. So far this year, I have spent almost $800.00 furthering my education (which is state mandated for renewing my license). All of which has come out of my pocket. In March after my expenses (I am booth renter; station rent, supplies, taxes etc..)I brought home about $250.00. That was for about 80 hours of work. Does your girl not like anyone she works with that she can recommend with the same price? I think alot of people have a misconception about hairdressers....We don't make the money that most think we do. Our tools are also very expensive. My newest pair of shears were $350.00. Yes they will last a long time but still expensive when you consider most of us have at least 2-3 pairs of shears, texture shears, thinning shears, razors, clippers, and styling tools. I have never worked in a salon that provides tools. Our product has went up tremendously in the past two years and many of our distributors stopped offering free shipping when gas became so high. One company I deal with charges $15.75 (flat rate) to ship my product. I have to pay it because it's the only one that carries what I use. Luckily I only order once a month, but from three different companies. However most salons order on average once a week from as many as three companies. That adds up. Chain salons often have lower prices because they get kick backs from the distributors due to the size of their orders. Independent Salons often do get those kick backs. Sorry to make this sound like a rant, I just wanted you to understand all the factors that go into how we set our prices.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 5:46PM
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I pay $45 for a hair cut and wash...and another $65 for root touch up and highlights...if she raises her prices any more, I will go back to doing my own color. I have two very bad shoulders and it is difficult for me to do that. I am at the limit for what I spend on my hair...thanks to the economy.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 7:55PM
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I am lucky. I am a guy. A haircut at my local barber is never more than 10 euro. I have a number 2 and wait until I look like someone out of ZZ Top before going back. Guys can get away with that. But what I save on haircuts my wife spends on shoes.

My barber's brother empties out our septic tank, and her uncle services our cars. Pity this family don't give out green stamps.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 8:01PM
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Women's heads are reported to be much more complicated than mens'.

Outside as well as inside, apparently.

ole joyful

P.S. Instigate some of your friends at a social, community, sport, religious, etc. group to go with you when you get a cut to watch carefully to see how it's done, then turn yourselves loose on one another .... when you don't have any high-profile gathering to attend for a while.

If someone botches things up too badly, you can go to a professional to get things cleared up.

Do you have a hairdresser/beauty school nearby? The students there are well supervised.

I had my first haircut in about three months the other day with the neighbour lady who's a good friend ... and my lanlord said that spring must be upon us, as he saw that my ears were back out.

o j

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 2:41PM
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Joyful, don't you wear a hat 51 weeks a year? :)

One of the problems is when a person has to have "a girl" or "a guy" doing this. There must be others at the same place isn't there? There must be someone who can cut hair.

I've been using a Flowbee for over 15 years. I don't usually get haircuts, or now cut it more than 2-3 times a year so I didn't have the expenditures that some have but I've still paid for the unit over and over again. I'm not hung up on styles. I generally cut it quite short and let it grow out quite a bit before cutting it again. The added benefit is the lack of shampoo and conditioner required with short hair. Added savings. If my Flowbee were to die I'd buy another one without a doubt. The one thing is I haven't found a real competition for the Flowbee. It's not made for EVERY type of hair but it works for me. And works well.

But I should say that $12 seems cheap enough. I think I was paying in that area when I was going to the cheap places.

I don't know that guys really have it any more fortunate. A good friend of mine keeps her hair rather short, and isn't all bothered that she's getting gray highlights. She keeps it clean, combed and it looks great on her. I will say I like well maintained long hair on women but I understand with the economy tanked like the last 8 years, I don't blame anyone for saving a buck when they can. And we all have to have priorities and each have different priorities.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 9:43PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

The place I normally go to recently raised their prices to $27 for a shampoo, cut and style and I normally try to tip on top of it. Because of that I only go every 4-6 months.

I have tried cutting my own hair before but my hair has natural curl and needs to be layered or it looks like a big brown helmet. I do color it myself to save money in that realm.

I don't know that men have it much easier, it realy comes down to the cut. Dh prefers his cut very tight and tapered and is very particular about the cut and his needs to be done more often (he would love to have it down every week but has settled for every month). Even at $12 a cut, he spends more than I do over the course of a year on his hair.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 11:10PM
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I bought two flowbee's at auction. I forget - under $50 for the pair. Think they're discontinued now.
Once every month or so... out comes the shop vacuum.
My last paid haircut was 1995 during a stay in the hospital for several weeks.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 11:55PM
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Stir Fry, can you really get a doctor's office visit for $35? Wow! It's anywhere from $65 to $145 here.

I cut my DH and DGS' hair using the electric clippers and a spacer. DH doesn't like that "sheared" look so I only use the clippers on the back and sides and trim the top to about 3". DGS is part African-American and his hair, though not tightly curled, is thick and somewhat coarse. I have used clippers on his hair all his life.

For a long time, while I was working, I would keep a perm in my hair. It was a real frustrating thing, as my hair does not look like it has processed when the "test curl" is done, so someone who doesn't know my hair always overprocesses me and I'm frizzy. As soon as I found someone who understood how to deal with my hair, she would get married, have a baby, or move away. My hair also grows fast so I need a new perm every three months. It was not uncommon for me to pay at least $50 for a cut and curl. That's if I shampooed myself right before I went in.

Now that I'm retired, I have given up trying to keep a perm in my hair. I cut my hair the same way that I do DH's. I wish I had the nerve to just buzz it all over.

I've looked into getting a Flowbee, but they're kind of expensive. I understand you shouldn't get a used one because the cutting blades get dull with use. I also have heard you have to either use a vacuum cleaner that has really good suction or you have to buy the vacuum that is an optional purchase with the Flowbee. I've never known anyone who's used one so it just sounded too complicated. But, hearing from some of you, maybe it's not after all.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 1:30PM
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Flowbee is simple after the first use. The only hooker is the edges end up with a thin layer but with a home made taper adapter I've pretty much eliminated any scissors use.

Every hair on my head is exactly 3.5 inches long when I'm done, excpt for near the edges. And about every other cut I dont mess with the edges.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 3:36PM
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My stylist is $65 for a cut. But I have horrible, slow-growing hair, and if I get a bad cut, it is bad for a long time. :)

I scrimp on other things (and highlites are one of them as I do them myself), but not this.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 5:31PM
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I'm willing to pay for a good haircut. We always expect to get things for cheap, then complain about them. Hairdressers need to earn a living, too, and they pay a lot of their own expenses, tools of the trade, etc.

Most hairdressers have to pay for their own health insurance, too. I don't think that's fair.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 2:17AM
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I have no problem paying my stylist for the great job she does on my hair either. I have fine straight hair. It needs the layering and cut that only a stylist can do to make it look good. She is definitely worth it. I do color my own hair when the gray starts to peek through. I do have a vain streak when it comes to that, lol! NancyLouise

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 9:07AM
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I'm willing to pay for a good haircut

The problem is more $$$ doesn't guarantee you a "great cut." At least in my experience.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:46AM
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I am going to a local hair dresser next week and my perm is only going to be between $25 to $30! Grown daughter gets her hair trimmed for $5.00! I would not be able to afford a perm if it were much more! She has her shop in her home and is the only one that works there. I have been going to her for years.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 3:24AM
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In school (economics) our teacher told us: the value of something is what a fool is prepared to pay for it. Why would they do it for $10 if people are prepared to pay $35?

I pay about $10 in our village, but 2 streets away they charge $30 for the same haircut.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 5:18PM
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Why do you people begrudge hairdressers a decent wage for his or her time?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 10:59PM
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I bring home current store flyers (and groceries - for which I'm compensated) for the neighbour lady who cuts my hair at no charge.

That family (recently retired farm couple) have been vey kind to me since I moved here.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 12:33AM
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Most here are $20. I am sure there are some a lot higher. Back in the 50's and 60's I paid $10., so this is not bad. I went in to get my hair shampooed because I could not do it with my broken arm. The first time the owner saw me in there, she wouldn't let me pay. It made me a bit uncomfortable to go in knowing she wasn't charging me. It was an unexpected kindness on her part.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 10:27PM
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Nobody here "begrudges" anyone a decent wage for their time and that's a silly and inappropriate question. This is a commentary and exchange of opinions on the costs thereof. Fancy style cuts and more are not what most of us consider necessities but we all have our splurges and some choose this as a splurge while others feel it's a good place to economize. I don't begrudge them a decent wage, but then again why would you suggest, as your question and tone seems to suggest, that I or anyone else here should spend more of our hard earned money than we need or want to? I don't follow why you're so upset about this thread.

For me to not use a hair stylist for decades doesn't begrudge anyone a living. Nor does my buying a used car rather than new close an auto dealership. For me to selectively shop doesn't close down stores either.

Is there a reason you're so sensitive about comparing costs and methods of hair service?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 8:31PM
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Neither upset, nor sensitive, Cynic. Simply asked a question which was neither silly nor inappropriate, as you characterized it.

You, on the other hand seem both upset, sensitive, and highly inappropriate in your harsh response to a reasonable question.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 10:46PM
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Now, now, children ... let's not fight before supper, O.K.?

o j

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 1:33AM
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For me paying a seasoned professional to get exactly what I want and to look good is why I don't mind paying. At the salon I frequent, they have different levels of stylist (ones that are recent graduates to my stylist's level of professional that has been doing this for years and years) and the charges are also appropriate for the level you choose. Having tried different levels, I certainly could tell the difference in cut and style from the greener stylist to the more seasoned. You get what you pay for. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 7:56AM
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I am a hairstylist and a salon owner and we as stylist like to get a raise just like you do.
I don;t go up on my prices about every 2-3 years and i bet you all are looking for your every year.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 4:29PM
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Wow People there are lots of points of view. I myself will shop around for haircut prices since it is a luxury for me too. I get a perm about every 4 months. I went one place it would of been $85 because my hair just touched my shoulders. Then I went to Walmart hair salon. Same perm fo $45 within my budget included hair cut. The style I could of did without,that was terrible! But my perm was great and I styled it myself when I got home.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 11:38PM
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I'm in the military and pay $7.50 + $2 tip every two weeks or so.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 11:43AM
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I used to pay about $15, plus tip. I then decided to have my fiancee figure it out, and I spend that money on something far more fun. If I need a "nicer" haircut for a fancy event, I have a hairdresser friend come by and cut it. I cook her meals regularly as payment.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 11:03PM
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I go to a stylist that I think is really reasonable, $18 before tip. My hair is fine and I wouldn't dream of doing it with a flowbie, I really like the way my girl layers my hair. I generally give her a $5 tip and at Christmas pay her double. I do my own coloring, though! I really enjoy going in to see her about every six weeks. I am definitely not high maintenance! Even though I like to look nice I do my own nails, trim my own eyebrows and shop the clearance racks. I couldn't jusify going to salon just for pampering. This is an affordable luxury I enjoy.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 8:27PM
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If you are on a tight budget, keep an eye on places like craigslist, under the free section. Often times, hairdressers advertise in the free section when they need someone to do a haircut on to try out for a job at some of the better salons.

Also, look around and see who has a haircut you really like, then ask them who their stylist is. That way you can call around to the salon and find out the price. You will be surprised at the variation in cost from person to person. Eventually you will find someone that cuts your hair just how you like, for a very inexpensive price just by asking people who you like their hair who cuts it.

Me personally, I would never cut my own hair. I am willing to scrimp in many areas of my life. Getting a decent looking head of hair isn't one of them. I wear an inverted bob and in order to have it cut correctly, I need to go to a pro that really knows what they are doing. I just have them cut it a bit shorter than I would like, and don't go back except every other month. This saves me some money.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 11:03AM
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I just went to the beauty school this a.m. where they are strictly supervised. Haircut was $5.00 + tip from a student who is graduating in 2 days and she was supervised by a teacher who was training her the whole way.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 3:54PM
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anggi, can you tell us how renting a booth works? It sounds like you don't make any money except tips.

I like my hairdresser, except she always cuts my hair too short and it takes forever to grow out to a length I like. Good I guess in that I don't have to go very often, every 4 months or so, but I have 1 month where I really hate my hair, a month I'm not wild about it, a month I love it, and a month I'm not wild about it again.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 6:52PM
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Booth renting/independent contractor is essentially a salon with in a salon. I am completely self employed. 100% of my services goes into my pocket. I buy all of my own supplies, pay rent on my station, & pay my own taxes. I pay almost double what most pay for taxes, because when you are self employed you don't have an employer to match your taxes, you pay it all, which is roughly 25% for fed, state, and city. I have been booth rent for 10 years now and if you are very busy it is worth it to do it. However, for the last few years my income has fell dramatically. People are not coming in as often, alot are dropping to one chemical service, I am down to one weekly client (comes in every week to have hair set) as the rest have past on. I have had 5 weekly clients die in the last year and a half which took about $4000.00 a year from my income. I only work about 15 hours a week and after my expenses I bring in around $500.00 a month. I know, it's not much but it helps. I used to average closer to $1000.00 a month but with all the cut backs and deaths over the last few years it's dropped alot. I have often thought about going back on commission but, I like the product I use, setting my own hours, and doing my own thing (I have kids, and my schedule can be as flexible as I need it to be). At any rate, I love my job and my clients and I wish people would remember that when you complain about the price, 9 times out of ten your stylist works on commission. Which means when s/he is setting around, s/he is not making any money. So the next time you forget your appointment or you cancel at the last minute, you just took income from them. Chances are that when they have a two hour or more gap in the day, if they are an employee, they are not allowed to leave (which I can) and if they have kids, they are paying for a sitter while not making any money. In closing and back to the original post, I think I am worth the $35.00 I charge as I believe you get what you pay for. And to everyone in this thread that keeps going to their stylist when you don't really like what they do. Have you told them you don't like something? If they are still not doing what you want, find a new stylist and let that new stylist know exactly why you left your last stylist. You would think an inch is an inch, but everyone's inch seems to be a little different in my world. Show them with your fingers how much you want off. And FYI, most of our combs are 7 inches long and are marked like a ruler. You can use the markings on the comb for reference as to how much to take off. Sorry for the book. Have a great day!:)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 8:14AM
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Wife used to cut my hair, but I've been buzzing my own for the last 20 years. Use a 3 - 2 - 1 guard. Can't afford even when it was $5 or 6.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 2:24PM
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$35 for a doctor visit? I got a skin cancer burnerd off, took about 10 minutes. cost $450. Wish it was $35.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 2:30PM
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