Thursday, January 22, 2009



Talent comes from within. Some of us have to work very hard for it and some times it comes naturally. When hairstylists begin their career we all start with different educational backgrounds and work for different levels of salons. While the ultimate goal for some of us is to do our best, for others it is simply to do hair. I don't think there is a wrong way. It is simply whatever makes you happy and satisfies your clients. In New York, here are three price points that are common for hair cuts for men and women. Which one are you?

The $40 Hair Cut

This price point can easily be a great or bad experience compared to the other more expensive hair cuts. Of course, this depends on the hairstylist and the client’s expectations. You can easily find someone who has raw talent at this price point to understand what you want, to a point. It is doubtful that you will find a full service salon with a variety of products and glamorous surroundings. It is a real struggle for many stylists in this price point. I know first hand what it is like for these stylists as this was my price point at one time in my early career, So I'm not blowing hot air, get it! The stylist at this price point feels a certain level of confidence based on how long they have been cutting hair, however, continuing education is the real challenge for this stylist. Most salons that offer the $40 hair cut don't have the financial resources to send every stylist to continuing education. They may send the stylist that has been with them the longest and as a result maybe the busiest person as the salon sees education as an investment. If you are not the stylist sent by the salon, how much are you willing to spend on your own education when classes can run from $500 a day to $5,000 for three days? Although you may be getting your hair cut at a reasonable price point, your stylist is probably not going to be well versed in the latest cutting methods, tools and hair styles. At the end of the day it really depends on the client’s expectations and the level of service they are accustomed to receiving. Some people are easier to please than others and some may want more of a salon experience.

The $60 Hair Cut

Depending on your budget, you may think $60 is expensive. Yes, there are talented hair stylists at this price point (I used to be one of them). Everyone has to start somewhere, right! :) One of the biggest challenges with the $60 hair cut is the amount of time spent on your hair. Most salons at this price point are booking half hour to 45 minute appointments at the most. The salon can not afford to give up a chair for much longer so the stylists are trained to work fast. Even the work of a very talented stylist suffers by such time constraints. The hair cut is rushed and the stylist does not have ample time for cross checking and dry cutting, which is when the real transformation happens.

The other challenge with hair cuts at the $60 price point is that salons can't afford to pay for very much education and training for their stylists. Consequently, the stylists are forced to pay for their own training, if they think they need it, which many stylists do not. Even those stylists eager to learn are probably not able to afford the expense of adequate training. This lack of education typically means your stylist is probably not keeping up with hair trends and the latest styling techniques.

Oh and by the way, don't expect a little cup of green tea in some fine china with a great fashion magazine and an environment that's says, ooh, I feel special.

The $160 Hair Cut

While we all know expensive is not always better, no salon in Manhattan would be bold enough to charge this amount and give bad haircuts. They would not be able to survive. Any decent salon in this price point knows that to keep up with the latest in this competitive City, their stylists must be well trained in the latest techniques and styling trends. Most stylists in salons at this price point are encouraged to travel all over the world for education with companies like Vidal Sasson or Mahogany (just to name a few). In addition, most stylists in this price point will take the time to sit with you before each cut and discuss the look you are trying to achieve and will have the skill set to make recommendations on the various looks that will be best suited to your facial structure. They will also discuss with you how they envision the process unfolding to arrive at the end result. You can expect your hair to be washed before with a relaxing head massage and after your cut, as a bonus, professional hair care and styling products are used and sold in these salons. The teas are to die for and the bathrooms are not reminiscent of McDonalds in Times Square. If your salon does not offer you these amenities, my advice to you, darling, is to find a salon that will treat you like the celebrity you are.

Antonio Gonzales

Copyright © 2008 Antonio Gonzales, All Rights Reserved


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