For me (and I think most guys), a men’s haircut is one of those little necessities that you can’t take care of yourself. So, today I want to talk about men’s haircut prices. After all, no one wants to overpay.
I’ve come to think about this topic because I’ve had trims in many places, and paid wildly different amounts: from about $18 to over $50 (without tip). Here’s what I’ve learned.
What are Reasonable Men’s Haircut Prices?
Men’s Haircut Prices: The Stats
In the US, the average price of a men’s haircut is about $28, per US News. The average tip is about 20%, making the total pre-tax cost around $33.60. (Those numbers are from 2014; adjusted for inflation to late 2019, the average rises to about $30.60, pre-tip).
Further broken down by cities, the average price of a men’s haircut in Minneapolis is around $31, while in San Francisco it’s a whopping $49 (all pre-tip).
Source: US News
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 barber shop.
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? Insane men’s haircut prices, eh?
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. I went there until he quit, and paid $20 plus tip ($25 total).
Now, I go to a nearby “classic” barber shop where cuts start at $27.
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.
What About Supercuts?
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’ve never been to 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 Prices
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 are Good Men’s Haircut Prices?
In my experience, you should pay around $20-$35 (including tip) for a haircut from a skilled barber or stylist, provided you have a somewhat standard hairstyle. (As the stats show, this is in line with the national average).
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 Up Men’s Haircut Prices
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-$35 (including tip) for a quality cut.
What do you think? How are the men’s haircut prices in your area?
Last updated on October 18, 2019.
Great topic! I usually spend $15 with tip included every 1 1/2 month. But for a few months, I have not been since I am growing my hair out. For a while, I was cutting my own hair but that became really messy. I may go back to that though. The styling is more important than the actual cut and that we can do ourselves for sure 🙂
The Rich Miser says
Thanks SMM! It sounds like you’ve got it figured out; though I think $15 is a great price 🙂
My wife now cuts my hair. The receding hairline allows for a more close-cropped look, which requires just a few guards on an electric trimmer. Before that I was lucky to find a shop that was good and charged $16 a cut.
The Rich Miser says
Hey Cubert! I think $16 is a good price. I haven’t been able to bring myself over to the close-cropped look. The last time I tried my wife said I looked like a hamster 🙂
Damn Millennial says
I usually pay 25ish for a haircut. I don’t think I am as frugal as many out there and feel like out of all the places to spend an extra $10 bucks it is on your hair, as you wear it everyday!
The Rich Miser says
Yes! I usually don’t take many risks with haircuts and currently spend $25. If I found someone just as good that did it for less I might change, but I’ve not found that yet.
The barber I have been going to charges $24 which is almost begging for a $1 tip. I tipped $6 last weekend since I read you should tip the barber a little something extra for the holidays.
I had the same barber for about 20 years. Once a month for 20 years equals 240 haircuts and maybe less than 5 where he was on vacation or out of the shop. I’d still go there except he died. He told me a lot about the barbering business. He spent 40 years as a barber.
Location typically drives the price. The rent on the barber shop is the main driver in setting the haircut price. As a result I drive a little ways to an area that is a little ragged for my haircut. The number of chairs also cuts the price. A one chair shop is just the barber. Barber’s pay rent on their chair when you see a multiple chair shop. Usually a monthly fixed amount plus a variable amount based on a number of haircuts. Barbers with a large following (they exist) can move from shop to shop to get better terms. Usually, they do not pay a fixed amount because they bring in so much business.
I live in California where real estate is more expensive. Finding a haircut under $20 is rough unless you want to go to a dangerous area. I have family in Las Vegas. I see $12 haircuts advertised there near my family’s neighborhood.
In many states, barbers are licensed. The use of the barber’s pole is often regulated so if you see it, you know a licensed barber is in there. Some states have combined cosmetology with barbering.
Now you can just search Yelp for a good barber which is how I found the one I use now. In the old days, if I saw a stranger with a haircut I liked, I would just ask where he got his hair cut. Most guys are happy to tell you.
In big cities, there is typically a barber’s college. You can get cheap haircuts there as the students practice on you.
30 minutes for a haircut? That’s time in the chair right? If so, that’s about twice as long as my haircuts take. Sometimes, I’m in & out in 10 minutes. I always get the Ivy League haircut.
The Rich Miser says
I really appreciate you reading and commenting!
I agree that location is the main driver for the price; it’s what I’ve gathered from my experience. When I cut my hair at the fancy place in Boston it was over $50, while other places with less fancy locations have cost half as much, with similar quality.
I had not thought about how the chairs also affect the price. Thanks for adding that, as well as all the other details you mention, to the conversation 🙂
My haircuts generally take about 30 minutes, time-in-chair. My style is not that complicated, but it includes layers and is all scissors.
Michael Robinson says
I really like what you said at the beginning about how barbershops are the best options for men. Just as you explained right after, you feel much more comfortable at a barbershop where guys, just like you, come in every day for a standard haircut. Since moving, I need to find a new place to get my haircut, and I think that I will look up the local barbershops and see what kind of reviews they got. Thanks again for the post, and I am not looking to spending a lot of money on a haircut that I will outgrow in a couple of weeks.
The Rich Miser says
Thanks for reading and commenting! Yup, I absolutely prefer a barber. I’ve been to mostly-women salons, and it can be awkward.
Smart Tarlue says
I am smart a Barber living in Liberia I am very good in barbering