Generally speaking, women’s haircuts cost much more than men’s haircuts.
With gender lines blurring and styles changing, it seems unfair for women’s haircuts to still cost as much as they do.
It’s hard not to feel slighted as a woman when it comes to haircut pricing.
However, there are a number of possible reasons—many of them practical—that might help explain the higher cost.
Why Are Women’s Haircuts So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
1. Women Traditionally Have More Hair Than Men
Though chain salons, such as Supercuts or Great Clips, and even higher-end chains, like Phenix Salon Suites and Blo Blow Dry Bar, differentiate pricing based on gender, this typically refers to the length and amount of hair that needs to be cut.
Some local and independent hair stylists and salons will set their prices based on the cut regardless of gender—something more salons are trending toward.
There are no clear rules regarding the length of hair dictating the price, but it’s typically (and unfortunately) assumed that women have longer hair than men.
Longer hair means more time spent in the chair, which is the main factor in pricing for stylists.
Perhaps haircut prices would be more reasonable if salons charged an hourly fee, but as of now, they typically charge by gender due to the assumed length of hair.
2. Women Traditionally Want A More Stylized Cut
Many men are only looking for a basic trim or cut which takes a minimal amount of time to perform.
Women, on the other hand, usually want a more detailed and intricate style, which is more time-consuming.
Along with the added time required to do more detailed haircuts, the stylist also needs more specialized skills.
The more skilled and experienced a hair stylist is, the more they are going to charge for their services.
Hair stylists who specialize in certain cuts or who have undergone an immense amount of training are prone to charge more.
Though this doesn’t always mean you’ll receive a better cut, most of the time you’ll see a big difference in the final result.
In addition to the amount of time required, independent hair stylists will often base their prices on what they think they are worth.
So, if they’re heavily trained, experienced, and highly regarded among the stylist community, they’ll set their prices higher.
3. Women Often Want Additional Hair Services
In addition to more intricate haircuts, women also often opt for additional services, such as hair dying and coloring, highlights, conditioning treatments, perms, blowouts, hair extensions, weaves, and more.
All of these services require a great amount of time and skill to perform professionally, helping to justify their high cost.
Getting your hair dyed or colored at a professional salon can cost between $50-$150 in addition to the cost of the cut.
It can also take anywhere from two to six hours to complete.
Though much of that time is just spent waiting on things like color to develop, your stylist is still working this entire time to ensure your hair is developing properly and to conduct the other steps involved in the process.
All of those things take time and effort, driving up the cost.
Professional sew-in weaves and hair extensions can take up to six hours of precise skill to complete and will end up costing you much more money than average for your hairdresser’s time and expertise.
4. Women’s Haircuts May Require More Products
Although it’s not always necessary, hair stylists tend to use a lot more finishing hair products on their female clients.
These products include hair spray, mousse, gels, anti-frizz sprays, sculpting creams, leave-in conditioners, straightening creams, and more.
Many times, these products are given to hair stylists by beauty companies and manufacturers in an effort to promote their products, but they are also often purchased by the hair stylist themselves.
Therefore, when they use these products on you, chances are they’ll be charging you for them by incorporating the price of the product into their haircut fees.
Since women tend to have more hair so they require more hair products, driving up the cost of the haircut.
5. Inflation In The Service Industries
This reason may be a little more difficult to understand but also makes sense if you’re looking at the wide scope of our economy.
Post-pandemic, the rates of inflation in the service industry have continued to rise, reaching over 8% at times.
To keep up with competitors, hair stylists have to raise their prices regardless of the actual hair services they are providing.
The rise in inflation is caused by a number of things, but much of it likely has to do with the limited number of hair stylists available to perform specific services and the smaller number of clientele.
In other words, it depends on supply and demand.
With the advent of social distancing and the lessoning amount of human-to-human interaction and exposure, fewer and fewer workers in the service industry, including hair stylists, are willing to put themselves in danger.
This forces the ones who are remaining to charge more as their value and the value of their services rise.
Also, because fewer people are willing to get their hair cut in public since COVID, the clientele number of many hair stylists has lowered significantly.
In order to make ends meet, this means hair stylists need to raise their prices more.
6. Women Typically Get Their Hair Cut Less Often Than Men
At face value, the higher cost for women’s haircuts may seem outrageous, but it tends to even out when compared to men’s haircuts.
Because women are assumed to have longer hair that requires less professional upkeep, they tend to visit their hair stylists less often.
Since they make fewer visits, stylists make up for the lower number of visits by charging more for one session.
Men, on the other hand, who are assumed to have shorter hair and require less time during their salon visits, may pay less per visit but make up for the lower cost per visit by having to visit more often.
Plus, women may actually be saving more money on haircuts than men by paying less in transportation costs, gas prices, and potential earnings lost from taking work breaks to visit the salon.
These savings add up over time and may push the cost of savings over the cost of spending when it comes to women’s haircuts.
In addition to these costs, women are saving time and energy by getting their hair cut less often than men so they can spend their time on more significant matters.
7. Rental Fees Are Higher At Nicer Salons
Again, generally speaking, men don’t usually tend to care as much about a salon’s appearance or location as women do.
Men are more prone to pick any salon they can find or the nearest and most convenient one to their home or work.
On the other hand, women are generally more concerned about where their salon is and what it looks like inside.
Therefore, in order for hair stylists to attract more female clientele, they must invest more in their rental space and ensure it’s in a desirable location.
The cost to rent a good salon space is not cheap—something that factors into the service cost.
Because of this, higher-end salons are not necessarily more expensive because of the skill level of the hair stylists.
Instead, female clients are paying for the location and the prestige of the salon itself.
Additionally, higher-end salons come better equipped with more appliances, driving up utility bills.
Again, this is something that clients end up usually paying for in the long run.
Studios that are properly equipped to handle female clients have more equipment such as hair wash basins, hydraulic styling chairs, hooded hair dryer chairs, and more.
Because this equipment runs up utility bills, women are also paying for the amount it costs to blow dry, wash, and style their hair.
8. Women Tend To Care More About Credentials
Most men don’t care who cuts their hair and usually don’t look into credentials or ask around for the most talented hair stylists, as some women do.
Therefore, they tend to choose their hair stylist based on cost and convenience.
However, many women care greatly about who cuts their hair. In fact, many women are on a constant quest to find the perfect hair stylist who can cut and style their hair to their liking.
Therefore, women are willing to pay more for their haircuts, allowing many stylists to charge more knowing they’ll get the fee they’re asking for.
Besides salon licenses, individual hair stylists must keep up their cosmetology license, which costs money.
Even though licenses and certification credentials don’t always factor into a woman’s choice of hair stylist, these things must still be kept up to ensure the stylists can legally operate in their city or state.
Keeping up with legal credentials is not cheap and the higher certified a stylist is, the more they’re probably going to have to pay to keep their certification.
After all, they had to pay to get their certifications, so they are going to charge more in an effort to earn that money back.
Each state requires different amounts of professional training time and cosmetology license upkeep time.
Though some hair stylists only meet the minimum amount of time, other hair stylists, many of whom specialize in women’s cuts, spend more time on education than the state requires.
This ensures they maintain their skills in addition to learning new cutting techniques and styles.
More time and money spent on education for the stylist, however, might mean higher prices in the salon.
Although better-trained hair stylists might charge more to make up for their money spent on more education, clients will also usually get better results from better-trained stylists.
9. Women’s Haircuts May Require Better Tools
Not many people think about the out-of-pocket expenses many hair stylists have to pay in order to keep up with their practice.
In addition to maintaining proper certifications and licenses, hair stylists also have to purchase new cutting and styling tools frequently.
Plus, these tools are not a one-and-done deal.
Good scissors, sheers, and razors cost a lot of money and must be purchased periodically throughout the stylist’s career.
In order to give great women’s haircuts, hair stylists need to have the best and sharpest tools at their disposal.
This means they must continually invest in the latest and greatest tools and sharpeners to maintain their tools.
Good hair-cutting sheers can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars.
Even though they usually last for around 400–500 haircuts, sheers are not cheap and are not something a quality hair stylist will skimp on.
To put the cost of professional hair cutting tools into perspective, that is just the cost of sheers alone.
If you factor in the cost of all the other tools hair stylists use, you’re looking at multiple thousands of dollars spent out-of-pocket.
10. Women Tend To Receive A Shampoo And Conditioning With Their Hair Cut
Though some men also get a shampoo and conditioning with their haircut, this is not always the case.
To save on time and money, many men simply opt for a quick cut and trim and some hair stylists find it easier to cut men’s hair while it’s dry.
Women with longer hair almost always receive a shampoo and conditioning with their haircut, as any professional stylist will want to cut longer hair while it’s wet and clean.
A shampoo and conditioning, however, takes more time and uses more products, driving up the cost of a woman’s haircut.
As mentioned previously, hair products used on clients are often purchased by the hair stylists themselves.
So for them to get their money back, they must charge more for the cut.
Shampoos and conditionings also raise the water bills of the salon which is something that salons and stylists must also factor into their fees.