The price of women’s haircuts has been making the news recently. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman congresswoman from New York, paid $250 for a haircut at a Washington, D.C. salon. Many were quick to cry foul that the U.S. representative who supports tax increases on the rich would pay so much for a new hairdo. Still, others came to her defense, arguing that amount of money was not unheard of for a haircut at a salon, especially for someone who is frequently in the public eye. Others brought up that a man would likely not be criticized for the price of his haircut, and that if AOC hadn’t spent the money to make her hair look nice, she’d likely be criticized for her appearance, anyway.
Comparing haircut prices across the country, I found that city-dwellers are more likely to pay more money at a salon than people in rural areas. According to a study conducted by Square in 2016, the national average price of a woman’s haircut was $45. The most expensive city for haircuts, was, in fact, Washington D.C., where the average price of a woman’s haircut was $78. This shows just how big the discrepancy is between rural and urban haircuts.
Men pay less than women for a haircut. Their average price is $34, and their Washington, D.C. price was $60. So, women always pay more for a haircut than men do. Women are also more likely to dye their hair, which is an additional cost. Along with tip, which is generally 20%, women can easily pay more than $200 on one trip to the salon.
In Texas, a woman’s haircut is closer to the national average, but women in large cities such as Dallas or Houston will undoubtedly pay more. When you factor in the amenities and atmosphere that many high-end salons provide, the prices are really not outrageous. This salon in Houston, for example, offers complimentary wine and champagne to their clients, owns their own makeup line, and does hair and makeup for weddings and other special events. Many people are happy to pay a little more for a haircut and color that they know they’ll be satisfied with. Sipping on champagne while your hair dries doesn’t sound too bad, either.
It seems unfair to criticize women for going to the salon when they are more heavily criticized for their appearances. Most women will pay more money for personal beauty and hygiene products and services than men will. Women who are in the public eye, such as AOC, should be judged on their policies and effectiveness, not for paying for a haircut that is reasonably priced within the most expensive city for haircuts. A little understanding goes a long way. Maybe a day at the salon would help her critics loosen up a little.