‘Hair hasn’t got gender’: finally hairdressers are charging men the same as women

We did contemplate doing it slowly, raising it little by little,” says Susannah Richardson. “But then we thought no, we’re doing it completely, for moral reasons. It’s about equality, it’s the right thing to do.”

Richardson owns a hair salon in Hackney in east London. As of next week, gents who visit Butchers will be charged the same as ladies. “Hair hasn’t got gender,” says Richardson.

I now have to pay the same amount for a haircut as women? Where will this PC madness end! Check out nearly every unisex salon – this one certainly – and the men’s prices are lower. Surely it is a matter of time and labour costs, not equality? Because we chaps have less hair; it’s easier and takes less time.

Not true, says Richardson. “Sometimes it can take longer to be honest, a more technical, short haircut, with more sections to cut.” Nor is it true that women have long hair and men have short hair. The old price lists are based not just on lies and prejudice, but also on the past. And on salons having to compete with the barbers down the road.

Ah yes, the barber shop. I’m beginning to suspect that the salon I frequent may not technically be a salon. If I went to Richardson’s place, I would have an hour-long appointment, my head and neck would be massaged with oil, my chakras balanced as well as my hair. “We actually look at the face and everything else, it’s about the detail and the balance of the haircut,” she says.

A proper rug-rethink, Martin Amis might say. And though, if I hurried, I might still get away with a £45 cut before men will be charged the same as women, from £55 (price depending on experience of stylist rather than gender of client).

The place I go to in Willesden, north-west London, is really just in the rug-reduction business, using mainly clippers. No chakras or balancing, or even appointments, but, if there isn’t a queue, I can be in and out in 15 minutes. All for a tenner, and I’m sure it would be the same for women, although I’ve never seen one in there. They might be put off by the name: Geezers.

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