How Much Should a Guy Pay for a Haircut?

For the first 50 plus years of my life I went to a traditional barbershop to get my hair cut.

There were two primary reasons for using a barbershop – low cost, and having a guy cut my hair. In fact, I was a bit frightened about the prospect of a woman cutting my hair.

Then one day I found out that Hair Cuttery does men’s haircuts for less than $20, and that included a shampoo. I had always viewed a salon as a place where women got their hair cut, by women. Thus, there was no reason for me to go to such a place.

But then when I heard about the low price and was told that men do indeed get their hair cut at the Hair Cuttery, I decided to give it a shot.

It was my first experience having someone wash my hair, and I have to admit it felt good. The haircut itself was fine, and seemed no better or worse than what I used to get at a barber shop. And I got over my fear of having a woman cut my hair.

After that first visit, I became a convert, and have been happily using Hair Cuttery for the past five years. My total cost is $22; $17 for the haircut and shampoo and a $5 tip.

I always felt that such a price seemed reasonable, but then in today’s Wall Street Journal there is a story about the wide range of price men pay to get their hair cut.

At one extreme is the $14-plus-$4-tip cut that James Santelli pays for a serviceable haircut in a bare-bones shop care of a barber who can yak about last night’s hockey game.

On the other end of the spectrum is a salon-style treatment (shampooing, snipping, styling, prolonged fine-tuning) like the one offered by stylist Mackenzey Forrey for $125 at Bumble and Bumble salon in New York.

$125 for a haircut, plus a tip? Given that I get my haircut about 6 or 7 times a year, that is almost a year’s worth of haircuts. I don’t think so.

My guess is that I would notice no difference in outcome between my $17 haircut and a $125 haircut, so why should I pay more?

The author of the WSJ story, Jacob Gallagher, claims that there is a noticeable difference, and that it is worth paying for that increased quality. He also points out how importnt trust is in the relationship between customer and barber. Again, that is not something I care about; I always jsut take the first available stylist.

Gallagher seems to suggest that there is a happy ground between the no-frills chain salons, and the high-end salons, and that $30-40 is a reasonable price to pay.

He also notes that among the dozens of men that he spoke with about their hair, many expressed an apathy or uncertainty about how they looked. I would certainly be included in the apathy group.

My goal with a haircut is to get in and out as quickly as possible, for my hair to be shorter when I leave than when I came in, and to pay less than $25 total.

If those three criteria can be met, then that’s where I’ll get my hair cut.

 

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