Getting your hair cut can be pricey – as any woman who’s been to a hairdresser will know – but one salon thinks it’s high time men and women should pay the same rate. And to be honest, we couldn’t agree more.
Whether it’s being charged more for beauty creams or forking out a ‘pink tax’ for razors, women are well accustomed to paying more for necessities in life – and it’s something 36-year-old Susannah Richardson wants to change.
Richardson owns Hackney-based hair salon Butchers with her business partner Katie Knox, and they’re switching up prices later this month to eliminate the gender gap. From next week, they will charge a flat fee for all haircuts – raising the price of men’s cuts by £10 to match the price women pay - which is £55.
“Historically, there has been a price gap between men and women and we’ve had that since we opened because it’s such a tradition,” she told HuffPost UK. “We’ve always tried to compete against barber shops – and as a small company we were concerned we’d scare men away – but we realised we were basing [prices] purely on gender, and that’s against our principles.”
Whereas men would traditionally have a short, back and sides, they now want a tailored hair experience and fashionable style – and this can take much longer, explained Richardson. Women are also increasingly opting for shorter styles. “We just thought, you know what? This gendered pricing is against what we’re about,” she added.
Butchers isn’t the first company to ditch gendered pricing for haircuts. In 2017, Northern Irish based salon Roco in Derry scrapped gendered pricing, and actually reduced the price that it charges women.
Co-owner Ronan Stewart, age 37, told HuffPost UK what drives his business is the sense of “bringing ethics to hairdressing” – and when he looked at his pricing for men versus women, he realised something wasn’t right.
Stewart said his hairdressers was charging £47 for a woman and £30 for a man, despite it often taking the same amount of time. “There was a lightbulb moment where we realised this wasn’t fair so we introduced gender neutral pricing,” he said.
This made business sense, Stewart said, because men are increasingly opting for longer haircuts and women for shorter. Now, the hairdressers charge a flat fee which changes depending on the level of the stylist: between £25-£35 for a very short haircut, and between £40-£47 for anything else.
“The guys with longer hair were more accommodating than we thought when their prices went up,” he said. “And we’ve inspired some other salons in Dublin and London to do this as well. Culture has changed, society has changed, and this was just the right thing to do we thought.”
HuffPost UK contacted Headmasters, Rush and Toni & Guy – the best known hairdresser chains in the country – to ask why women are charged more in their salons than men, but they declined to comment.
We looked at the prices for a haircut with a stylist at the chains. At Headmasters a woman’s cut costs £49 and a man’s cut costs £33, at one London Toni & Guy salon a woman’s cut costs from £50 while a man’s cut costs from £40, and at Rush, where prices vary depending on location, one central London salon charges £38 for a men’s haircut with a stylist, while a woman’s cut costs £51.