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Why Are Haircut Prices Based on Gender?

While most of us can agree that hair is hair, many salons continue to define haircuts as “women” or “men.” Why? More specifically, gender language aside, why do women’s haircuts also tend to cost more than men’s haircuts? While the answer is nuanced, it is partly rooted in stylist training and societal conditioning. But it’s also a reflection of outdated thinking – and an opportunity for change.

Although gender-neutral salons and non-binary cuts do “If you go to most salons’ websites, they still refer to cuts by gender,” says Tommy Buckett, a famous hairstylist at Salon Marie Robinson, who sees the discriminatory labeling as a trickle-down effect. “We’ve become much more aware and sensitive to gender fluidity, but there’s still a long way to go. Why do we still have men’s and women’s departments in department stores?”

Some argue that the reasons for the gender price cuts are not necessarily malicious, but rather a product of another era. “There’s a lot of history behind this discussion,” says Tatum Neill, artistic director of the Aveda Arts & Sciences Institutes. “Going to a salon as a man wasn’t really an issue until the ’90s. Men went to barber shops. There were just different expectations of the service and no blow-drying.”

But even if salons nowadays offer the same services for all genders, why is there still a price difference?

“To be honest, no one has ever given me an answer as to why we’ve always had gender-specific haircuts in the professional beauty industry.”

“If you ask me, it all has to do with patriarchy charging women more, and there’s no justification for that,” says Kristin Rankin, founder of the Dresscode Project, which along with Pantene is calling for a more real, authentic representation of the LGBTQ+ community in marketing and advertising. “To be honest, no one has ever given me a reasonable answer as to why we’ve always had gender-specific haircuts in the professional beauty industry. What I do know is that in cosmetology school we learn that there is a men’s haircut and a women’s haircut.”

The answer may be gender specific education. “There are two licensing routes in New York,” says Buckett. There’s a hairdressing license and a cosmetics license—and the former takes less time than the latter. “At the hairdresser’s you learn how to use a hair clipper and a bit of scissors. For cosmetics, you also learn about color, relaxers, etc.” This could also be due to the underlying (and outdated) assumption that “male” haircuts require less hair trimming compared to females.

Luckily, there have been some advances in stylist training at certain salons, which could impact haircut prices. In fact, at the time POPSUGAR spoke to Neill, he was preparing the curriculum for a class he will be teaching at the Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute in Austin, TX this fall called Fluid Shapes. “We’re not going to talk about gender — we’re going to talk about technology and time.”

Time seems to be the factor that can partially solve the gender haircut price problem. “Some of my longer haircuts finish in 10 minutes, while some of my shorter haircuts take more time to reduce volume and create shape,” says Buckett.

Which leads to the concept of billing in time increments: “I bill the salon every half hour,” says Adam Reed of Adam Reed Salon in London and founder of Arkive Headcare. Reed’s pricing structure is only affected by the level of the stylist performing the cut. For example, a half-hour session with an experienced stylist costs a little more than with a novice. Many other stylists are also beginning to adopt this approach. “If a woman wants a short haircut on clippers, I charge less than a man who wears long layers and wants a blow dryer,” says Nunzio Saviano of Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City. “It’s just a matter of time.”

The same goes for Dresscode Project. “We talk about haircuts and price them by time or length,” says Rankin. “So we could say a short, medium, or long haircut, or we could say a 45, 60, or 90 minute haircut. Because that makes sense.”

As is so often the case, awareness is key. “Sometimes there can be no change unless someone points it out to you,” says Neill. “I would like to say that it is benign in many ways. Salons have always done it that way, and if someone doesn’t make the owner aware of it, they might not think about eliminating gender terms from their menu.” Especially in more remote, less populated areas, there’s a chance that a salon owner just couldn’t help it knows.

Fortunately, today’s young adults have surpassed many salon owners in their understanding of gender. But until they’re all that developed, consider this a request to ask your salon owner to remove discriminatory labels from their service offerings.

“I think when two people come face-to-face — not on social media, but face-to-face — and they talk about these issues, they want to do the right thing,” says Neill.

https://www.popsugar.com/beauty/gendered-haircut-prices-48855203 Why Are Haircut Prices Based on Gender?

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