In most cases, at some point, you’re going to find yourself needing a haircut.
As long as your hair grows, it will continue to grow until you have it cut.
Stopping by your local hairdresser, however, can sometimes be an expensive venture.
Even chain hair salons can sometimes be quite expensive.
You may wonder what it is about haircuts and hairdressing that makes the service so expensive.
Why Are Haircuts So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average cost of a haircut is around $15.
However, some hairstylists charge around $90 for a haircut.
Certain factors like the status of your hair, the costs associated with the business, and whether you include other services with your cut can all make receiving a haircut expensive.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. Length Of Hair
The length of your hair might impact just how much your haircut costs.
Each stylist has their own way of charging clients.
Some will charge a flat fee no matter how long your hair is.
Others will charge you by the hour.
Some will also charge you based on the length of your hair.
Those who charge by the hour and by the length of hair tend to have higher prices if you have long hair.
For those who charge by the hour, if you have long hair, then it means it’s going to take them longer to cut it.
Cutting hair isn’t as simple as just cutting a straight line and calling it a day.
It requires quite a few steps to ensure everything matches your face and looks great.
The more hair you have, the longer the steps take.
The same goes for stylists who charge by hair length.
They know that they’re going to be spending a lot of time on you.
As such, they charge according to their time.
Haircuts are expensive if you have long hair.
2. Complexity Of Hairstyle
It isn’t only the length of your hair that can impact the price of your haircut either.
If you choose a complex hairstyle, then you can also expect to pay more.
Complex hairstyles usually involve a lot of layering and styling.
They can take a long time to do, especially if you ask your hairstylist to recreate a hairstyle based on a picture that you have.
They may need to refer to the picture a few times, then think of a plan of how to create that style with your hair.
It may even involve a few rinses or layers of product.
The more that goes into your hair, the more expensive the cut is going to be.
That’s because the hairstylist is also using products on your hair.
They’re investing resources and time into you.
To make up for those costs, they must charge you a high price for your cut.
If you want a hairstyle that knocks everyone off their feet, then you can expect to pay a high price for it.
Haircuts are expensive when you want a complex hairstyle.
3. Additional Services
Sometimes, you don’t go to the hairstylist for just a haircut.
They also provide a few other services.
For men, it might be beard trimming and grooming.
If you want this service on top of your haircut, then you can expect to pay a bit more.
Some stylists will offer the service free of charge, but others will do it for an additional fee.
You might also need to pay if you want your hair washed.
In some cases, a hairstylist won’t automatically wash your hair.
They tend to only do that if they need a fresh head to work on.
If you want your hair cleaned by a professional, then you usually need to pay some sort of service fee for it.
You’ll come out of the salon with hair that’s shiny and looks great.
Another service that you need to pay extra for is hair coloring.
If you want to dye your hair, put in highlights, or just cover up some grey areas, then you’re going to need to pay extra for it, too.
Your hairstylist will either dye your hair first or cut it first.
Either way, you can expect to pay extra for any services you add to your cut.
Haircuts are expensive when you include other services.
4. Rent Or Booth Fees
Depending on the hair salon, some stylists have to pay “rent” to the salon to work there.
While some studios might hire employees and pay them an hourly wage, others act more like a building where stylists can pay a fee to use the facilities to make money.
For example, a freelance hairstylist can pay rent to a salon to use one of their booths to serve customers.
They have some freedom to offer what services they want as long as they pay a monthly or annual rental fee to work there.
In this case, the hairstylists can potentially make a good amount of money if they’re able to attract clients to the salon.
Most salons also have walk-in sessions available and will help their stylists find new customers.
Since hairstylists have a rental fee or booth fee that they need to pay, some might need to charge extra to cover the cost and still make a profit.
For example, if their business was light for the month, then they might need to make up for those losses with higher prices.
Haircuts are expensive because some stylists have to pay rental fees or booth fees.
5. Product Purchases
When going to the salon, you’ll usually notice desks or shelves filled with products.
Some products are exclusive to the salon while others may be rarer versions of products that you see in the store.
One of the ways that salons make money is by selling products.
Some salons will partner with a specific brand to carry their products exclusively.
Others will work with a few brands to give their customers more choices.
Some even make their own products and sell them.
The benefit of those products is that they’re often the same products that the stylists use on you.
As such, you know right away whether they’re high-quality or not.
Because some of the products are exclusive, they tend to come at higher prices.
If you want a really good shampoo, body wash, conditioner, or other hair product, then you can usually find them at a reputable salon.
The problem with these products is that they can make your overall haircut a bit expensive.
Your haircut can be far more expensive if you end up buying a lot of these products, too.
Haircuts are expensive when you buy the salon’s products.
6. Skilled Trade
Hairstyling is a skilled trade.
To become a hairstylist, you need to go to school, attend classes, and graduate.
You usually need a high school diploma or GED to attend the program.
As for the program, itself, it has to be state-licensed.
Essentially, you can’t learn from the Internet.
While you can potentially try to learn on your own and open up an in-house salon, you’re likely going to run into trouble if the state finds out.
Attending school usually involves learning the trade and practicing.
The students will work on wigs as well as people as their skills develop.
To complete the program and become an official hairstylist, students usually need to pass some sort of written exam and practical exam.
Attending cosmetology school costs money.
Depending on the school attended, it might be an expensive program or a relatively cheap one.
Those who go to the more expensive schools usually do so to try and work at the more prestigious salons.
Since hairstylists sometimes take on some form of debt to become a stylist, they need to pay back any loans that they took out for school.
As such, some might charge expensive prices to help them alleviate their debt.
Haircuts are expensive because cutting hair is a skilled trade and not everyone has the qualifications to cut hair.
7. High Demand
There’s also a lot of demand for haircuts.
In most cases, people don’t just let their hair grow and grow.
They usually need a hairstylist to help keep it manageable.
Even people who grow their hair for a cause or for donations will sometimes visit a hairstylist to help keep certain parts of their hair more manageable.
While you can always attempt to cut your hair at home, the results aren’t always great.
As such, if you want to look great and presentable, then you should go to a hairstylist.
The way your hair looks can give people a good or bad impression of you.
If your hair is well-styled and you’ve groomed it well, then you’ll leave a good impression on people.
If your hair is too long and doesn’t look cared for, then you may leave a bad impression on people.
Because humans are social creatures by nature, they often feel compelled to make great impressions whenever they can.
Going to a hairstylist and having their hair cut can help them form that ideal impression.
However, this means that hairstylists can charge more expensive prices.
They know that, in most cases, you have no choice but to visit them to have your hair cut.
Haircuts are expensive because hairstylists are in high demand.
8. Skill Level And Experience
The amount of experience that your hairstylist has can also impact their prices.
Hairstylists who are just starting out tend to be a bit cheaper than hairstylists who have been in service for several years.
That’s because new hairstylists are still learning the trade and looking to acquire new customers.
They have lower prices to attract new people.
Experienced hairstylists, on the other hand, typically already have a list of loyal customers.
If you want to receive a cut from an experienced hairstylist, then you’re going to need to pay them a good amount of money to add you to their book of clients.
You’re also paying for their experience.
That usually means you can expect a great cut from them.
Haircuts are expensive when you receive one from a stylist with a lot of experience.
Tipping culture is also common in salons.
Although you have a fee that you pay to have your hair cut, it’s good form to also tip your hairstylist.
That’s because they’re providing a service to you.
Some hairstylists also keep their prices low.
The tip helps them boost their funds for the day.
Others face high prices and fees that they need to pay to work at the salon.
Your tip might be the only portion of the money that you paid that actually goes home with them.
That said, tips can make haircuts more expensive.
You’re essentially paying for your service, then paying for your service again.
Haircuts are expensive because you usually need to tip the hairstylist.
10. Cost Of Living Increases
A final reason haircuts are expensive is that some salons base their prices on the local cost of living expenses.
They want to ensure that their stylists are making enough money to afford to live.
When the cost of living increases, then they also increase their prices.
Haircuts are expensive because the cost of living in certain areas can be expensive.
Haircuts are a necessary part of life.
Because of their necessity and due to various other costs that the stylist has to pay, haircuts can be quite expensive.