Profligate propensities: haircut edition

Profligate: adj. wildly extravagant

Propensity: n. an intense preference

We care a LOT about how the dead cells that make up our hairs and nails look, even though however we fix them up they grow out in just a few weeks and have to be done all over again.  The hair and beauty salons bank on this constant growth, and bring $46 billion a year to the American economy. Even in a recession, it’s only down 2% over last year.

I too care about how my hair looks because it’s difficult – fine, short and limpish. A bad haircut can be disastrous.  Over the years however, I’ve found some hair stylists who were really gifted with the scissors, and I paid them well (I thought) to work their magic — up to $65  at a trendy salon in Portland. My current gal in Vancouver, who is every bit as skillful, only charges $35.

I knew prices were high in Manhattan but I had no idea HOW high. Evidently women just fork over the big bucks without a second thought.  But perhaps the recession is beginning to register with some of them?  Groups of friends are now organizing hair-cutting parties where they hire a fancy stylist to bob the group after hours at a discount – paying “under the table”.

Not all stylists find this appealing (hold your hats!):

“I had someone call me last week,” Ted Gibson, who charges $950 a cut, said recently. The potential customer was a guest at the Ritz-Carlton and wanted Mr. Gibson, who boasts a celebrity clientele and owns Ted Gibson Salon in Manhattan, to cut his girlfriend’s hair. “He was trying to negotiate for me to come and do it for $650. I was like, ‘No, I charge double if I go out,’ ” Mr. Gibson said. “Needless to say, they did not book me.”

$950!! For the price of a month’s rent could I get a haircut that was 27 TIMES better than what Gina gives me?
If I lived in New York, I’d just grow my hair out, put it in a pony tail, and call it good.
Ted Gibson can stuff it.

6 responses to “Profligate propensities: haircut edition

  1. Hairdressers usually charge according to their training and experience.

    For example, I paid to put myself through a 3 month course at Vidal Sassoon which, in 1999 cost me the equivalent of $10,o00. I also spent three years training at college in order to acquire a Level 3 qualification (advanced) which wasn’t cheap either. I paid $500 for one pair of scissors (I have 3 sets) etc.,

    So as I had good training, the best equipment and products, I was able to charge $60 per cut and I always received good gratuities. I never had to advertise as most clients came to me by word of mouth. I was still out of pocket by the time I gave it up.

    Mostly it’s a judgment you make as a client. I’ve been charged $120 for a bad haircut, but refused to pay. I now pay $52.27 to a friend who normally charges twice that amount. If my hair looks and feels right, I can handle anything (especially if I’m also wearing my Wonder-Woman undies as well) 😉

    I wouldn’t pay $950 even if I were a multi-millionaire – it’s only fiber manipulation, not life saving surgery after all.

  2. Well, when I’m over your way and need a cut, I’ll know where to go! My hairdresser also has spendy scissors. My question is this: can you tell the difference between a $250 pair and a $500 pair?

  3. I have a pair I use on the dog that cost me $50 and I thought that was a lot of dough for good scissors and they’re twice as big as what you stylist use on people….


  4. If we lived near each other I’d happily cut your hair for free – or charge $10 if you felt uncomfortable about not paying.

    It’s what they’re made of – the precision and craftsmanship used in the making, how they feel in the hand, how easy they are on the fingers and wrist, what they can do to the hair, how long they go between re-sharpening, how long they last – the list is endless.

  5. I’m on my way. Just think, for the price of a NY haircut I can fly to London and get it cut for free! Now that makes sense.

    You can even do an experiment on me: one side of my head with $50 scissors and the other with a $500 pair. Then we’ll ask an impartial jury which side got the fancy cut.