How much do you pay for a haircut?

$100? $50? How about $30? According to a Charles Sturt University Study, the average cost of a woman’s haircut in 2010 was $40 in Melbourne and $30+ in Sydney. Is it just me, or was as everyone fibbing in that survey? Because it seems that the majority of salons Australia wide are charging more than double the average, and that’s just for the blokes.

A quick survey of friends, revealed that only one pays $30 for a trim, saving her money for when she needs colour and then visits a more upmarket salon. Having shopped around at various hairdressers and paying upwards of $80 for a haircut, she concluded that the haircut she paid $80 for, was no different to the one she paid $30 for.

So if we can possibly pay a third less for the same haircut, what makes some of us (myself included) pay more? For some women it’s the experience of the event, rather than the cost. A ritual of pampering, head massages and time away from family, can mean hours happily spent at the hairdresser. I don’t fall into this category, I get really bored after the initial excitement of free lattes and new magazines wears off. Once I was in a Paddington salon for three and a half hours, yes THREE and a HALF hours, I might have got really cranky, I was definitely not expecting to be there for the majority of my weekend. I had cheated on my hairdresser and it was not a pleasant experience. I realised the reason I liked the salon I went to, was because the same person that cut my hair also coloured it and washed it, I didn’t get passed through four sets of hands.

For others its purely psychological, experiencing a newly formed sense of confidence after leaving the salon. I’ve experienced this, people  turn to look at you in the street and you flick and nod your head around like you are starring in your own shiny hair commercial. Even if it is short-lived; humidity having flattened it by the time you arrive home or once you’ve washed it, it is never to be replicated again. Still, it’s the sense that this hairdresser, YOUR hairdresser, understands you.

And I haven’t even mentioned the kind of confessional relationship one can have with their hairdresser, the kind usually reserved for the closest of girlfriends, with the hairdresser acting as a kind of therapist. In my teens I worked in a salon after school and saw how they talked about clients after they left, so I never really fell into this trap. However much you divulge, a long-term hairdresser will see a woman throughout the big events in her life like formals, weddings, pregnancies and not to forget, break-ups. A good hairdresser will even advise you that dyeing your hair black and cutting into a short crop might be something you’ll later regret.

The connection that females have with their hairdressers is a complicated one that many men can’t understand. My husband is happy to plod along every few weeks to the local barber shop to line up to be cut by whoever is next available, even if it doesn’t always turn out exactly how he had imagined, he still won’t pay more than $30 for a haircut. He is continually flummoxed at the time and money women (read: me) spend on their hair.

With some exclusive salons charging upwards of $250 for a cut with the owner or creative director, how much is too much to pay for a haircut? $250 is unrealistic for most of us to pay for a trim, but how much do you pay for a haircut, and how do you justify the expense? How does it compare to your partner?

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…and when did foils get so expensive? Do you go every six weeks like they recommend?

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