With gender equality so heavily in the news, why are women still paying more than men for a haircut? Natalie Lukaitis says it’s time for a…
LAST WEEK I had my hair cut from mid-back length up to my collarbone. No fancy stuff, just a blunt chop. It took 10 minutes to do the job, six of which were spent in the wash chair, so technically, it only took four minutes. The cost? An eye-watering £110. That’s £27.50 per minute. A week earlier, my husband got the full works – a wash, graded styling and a tidy-up around the ears. It took 45 minutes. His price? £65.
Right off the bat, it was apparent that we pay way too much for haircuts, but even more bleedingly obvious was the gender price gap. In fact, a 2016 study found the average British woman spends £750 on her hair each year, with men spending just over half of that. And that’s without taking into consideration the added costs some salons apply if you have extra thick or afro hair. Why? Because women’s hair and certain types of hair require more work – or so I was told when I made a feeble attempt to solve this mystery (not an easy question to ask when someone’s holding scissors near your head). The thing is, a lot of men I see have pretty similar hair to me. In some cases it’s even more shiny, neat and coiffed than mine! So surely it’s time to quit this way of thinking and start charging by time, or apply a blanket price across the board?
Thankfully, a handful are, with Chop Chop London breaking ground last week. Self-described as a ‘neutral hairdressing hub’, their goal is to make the hair salon experience more accessible to all races, genders and hair types at a fraction of their competitors’ costs. ‘It makes complete sense to have a skilled team of session stylists trained in all hair types to provide a fair, equal service that isn’t based on gender or race,’ explains co-founder Kaye Sotomi. With a set menu of 24 styles that suit all hair types, can be completed in 20 minutes and cost just £20, it’s set to shake up the market. ‘Consumers are becoming more conscious of their spending, so we’re aiming to provide a straightforward process without compromising on quality,’ adds Kaye. Mending a recent hole in my pocket, I couldn’t welcome it sooner. Old Street Yard, EC1Y 1BE; chopchoplondon.com