Conventional wisdom would say that women’s haircuts are more labor intensive. Women tend to have longer hair and more complex styles, and frequently receive a blowout after their cut. Most men, on the other hand, tend to get a brief trim or buzz before they’re on their way. Nothing too groundbreaking here.
So is it fair to charge women more?
New York City says no – and it’s fined over 100 salons and barbershops for charging differently for a variety of services from haircuts to waxes to manicures.
That said, it’s not always the women who have to pay more for beauty services. Some salons charge more for giving men manicures, saying their fingers tend to demand more cleaning. But city officials say that’s a no-go also.
Let’s examine some various services and think about what would be fair — and how to address this problem.
Some salon owners have complained that men, especially those who work in jobs that require manual labor, require more cleaning and care. I don’t know that I really buy this. Plus, it seems to me that men who care enough about personal hygiene probably don’t have nasty nails! Women also typically get their nails painted, which guys tend not to do. Painting nails takes time.
Solution: A standard, gender-blind rate for a manicure with no polish. Charge women a dollar or so more if they want their nails painted.
Okay, sometimes dudes do have gross, smelly feet. But guess what? So do women! A lot of us walk around in heels and other shoes that mess up our feet.
Solution: Same as manicures.
As I said before, conventional, regular ol’ guys have low maintenance short hair and conventional regular ol’ ladies have long hair that demands blowing and angle-making and bang-trimming and whatnot. Problem solved, right? No! Have you seen Justin Bieber or Keith Urban? That’s some complex, angled hair that most certainly demands blowdrying. At the same time, have you seen Carey Mulligan or Michelle Williams? Short boy cuts! Oh, and there are also lots of men who are bald or almost bald and cutting their hair takes what, three minutes?
Solution: Charge for the style, not the gender. Have a price for short and simple hair, another for long hair that’ll take some time. Maybe even have a price in the middle!
You might think men and women don’t really get many of the same body parts waxed. But that’s not entirely true! Just recently, BuzzFeed Shift sent a brave man to get pejazzled, which involved getting his nether regions waxed. That said, men do biologically have more hair to remove. This is not an issue of style.
Solution: Most of the time, men and women will be waxing different bits, so make up whatever prices you want. For the few overlapping areas, it seems sort of reasonable to charge guys more.
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A lot of salons I went to in NYC had a Men’s rate and then: Women-short
Women-long/dried And as if that weren’t ridiculously complicated enough, who judges your hair length? I considered mine medium (just past the shoulders) but always got charged a long rate. The fact that men were entirely encompassed in one fee but women had several breakdowns always irritated me. And it’s not like these were Supercuts or anything—I would pay $75 for a relatively simple (as I am a relatively simple person!) haircut.