Ah, getting haircuts. For me (and I think most guys), a men’s haircut is one of those annoying necessities, like clipping your nails. I dislike them because not only do they cost time and money, but you’ll look like a fool if they mess up down at the barber shop. Also, it’s common for your hair to look unnatural right after; it sometimes takes about a week to “settle”.
Today, I want to talk about the cost of a haircut for men. I’ve come to think about this topic because I’ve had trims in many places, and paid wildly different prices: from about $18 to over $50 (without tip). Here’s what I’ve learned.
A Barber Shop Is Best
Guys, have you ever cut your hair in a beauty salon? I have, and it can be uncomfortable and awkward. You can feel like (and literally be) the odd man out. Plus, even if the stylist does a great job, they can easily charge you a fortune and try to sell you all manner of expensive hair products that you’re not really going to use.
So, I recommend one of two paths: either go to a barber shop, or to a salon that has a barber who is on staff or comes in regularly (in other words, a place where they regularly do men’s haircuts). I’ve done both and currently go to a salon with an awesome barber who’s there every week.
What I don’t suggest is that you go to a beauty salon where the clientele is overwhelmingly women, just like I would advise against going to a steakhouse and ordering a veggie burger.
Super High-End Places Are Probably Not Worth It
Every so often, politicians make headlines because of their crazy expensive cuts. Remember John Edwards, who paid $400 for his trim (to be fair, that was because it was a house call)? Or what about Bill Clinton’s $200 ‘do?
My record is about $50 per visit to a fancy salon in Boston when I lived there circa 2003, and where I had trouble finding a place that did my hair just how I liked it. I remember thinking I was overpaying, but I loved the cuts and so I shelled out the money.
Other than that, I used to spend about $25 (including tip) at my usual barber shop when I lived in Puerto Rico. When I moved to Miami, I started paying around $40 (including tip) at barber shops in a high-end area, until my neighbors opened up a spa with a great barber. Now, I go there, and pay $20 plus tip ($25 total).
Honestly, I can say that I’ve been happy in every one of these places, except one of the barber shops in Miami, where the guy sometimes seemed distracted and did not really pay attention to what I wanted. I’m super happy at my neighbor’s spa, especially when I’m paying almost half of what I used to.
But don’t just take it from me. It turns out that Town & Country had a reporter get two haircuts: one at a famous salon that cost $350, and one at a Supercuts that cost $23.
Take a look at his results (the expensive cut is on the left):
What do you think? I think he looks good in both pictures.
And that’s been my experience too. While I would not risk it at a Supercuts, every competent barber I’ve been to has managed to make me look at least decent.
Speaking of getting a barber, I think a good way is to start with someone with the right credentials (works at a well-organized, legitimate salon or barber shop) and switching around until you find someone you can converse with (for me, it’s awkward to sit in absolute silence for 30 minutes) and who gives you results you like.
The Neighborhood Sets the Price
In my experience, the single biggest factor in determining the price of a haircut for men is the neighborhood where the establishment is. While I’ve never had my haircuts in rough neighborhoods, I’ve gotten them in both rich areas and middle-class ones. There hasn’t really been a difference in quality (which I find comes down more to the individual barber), but there’s been a big difference in price.
I got great haircuts at the tony salon I went to in Boston; but I also did at barber shops in middle-class areas. Kind of like with fine dining, where the food in glitzy, trendy restaurants usually does not eclipse that of good neighborhood joints.
So, I’d advise against going to salons in expensive areas. Rather, ask for recommendations in middle-class neighborhoods, or even rough ones if you feel comfortable going there.
What’s A Good Price for a Men’s Haircut?
In my experience, you should pay around $20-$30 (including tip) for a haircut from a skilled barber or stylist, provided you have a somewhat standard hairstyle.
Some places now offer memberships, which include unlimited cuts for a monthly fee. I wouldn’t go for that unless I was sure it would save me money.
Summing It Up
For a nice haircut for men at a good cost, look for a barber shop or salon-with-a-barber in a middle-income neighborhood. Try different barbers until you find one you like, and expect to pay around $20-$30 (including tip) for a quality cut.
What do you think? How are the prices in your area?