Surveying Strangers About How Much They Spend on Haircuts
Thinking about haircuts while getting a haircut
I was sitting in a chair at Dazzle’s salon watching Michael turn the porcupine on my head into something remotely presentable when I realized, “Wow, I spend a ton of money on haircuts”.
Each trip to Dazzle costs me $30 and I go every month or so. This means I’m spending around $360 a year on haircuts. That was more money than I spend on other services I consider integral to my life (i.e. internet, electricity, Amazon Prime).
A series of thoughts and questions popped up:
Does everyone spend this much money on haircuts?
Man I feel bad for girls, they must spend way more than I do.
Wait, do girls actually spend more than me on haircuts?
My female friends have often complained about how it is an outrage that women pay more than men for haircuts. I’ve protested this injustice the same way I protest all injustices that have no impact on my life: by remaining silent and hoping it goes away. Because of this price gap, I’ve always assumed that women spend more than men on haircuts.
But as I started doing some calculations, I was less sure. I couldn’t imagine most girls needing to get haircuts as frequently as guys. Based off my limited observational skills, women get haircuts two or three times a year – significantly less than men. As a result, it wasn’t clear to me who actually spends more on haircuts.
Now you may be wondering that with all the unsolved mysteries and unanswered questions left in the world, whether men or women spend more on haircuts is an extremely narrow and pointless question that doesn’t deserve in-depth research.
And you be would be right.
It’s for science, I promise!
I first did a cursory survey of my friends to better understand general haircut habits.
If there was a book called How to Lose Friends and Make People Think You Are Secretly a Serial Killer, asking people about their haircare routine deserves its own chapter.
After getting the expected “Why do you need to know”, “Why?” and my personal favorite, “…”, my male friends said they get a haircut every one to two months for $20-$30 a haircut while my female friends ranged from every 3 months to every two years at $50-$100 per haircut.
Apparently, there are also “additional services” available such as hair straightening, coloring, and something called a Brazilian Blowout.
However, to truly answer the question of which gender spends more, I needed a larger sample size.
It’s less creepy if it’s a survey…maybe
I recruited 202 people and presented them a survey.
I asked them how often they go to hair salons/barber shops and how much they pay per trip. I also specifically asked them about their haircut habits and whether they pay for any additional services.
While the survey participants was skewed towards women (30% men, 70% women), the results were still interesting.
So what is a haircut?
So who spends more on haircuts?
The short answer is, it depends; how do you define a haircut?
On average, a guy goes to a hair salon or barbershop 5.84 times a year, or a little over every 8 weeks, while a woman goes 3.81 times a year, or every 13 and a half weeks. A guy spends around $22.93 per trip while a woman spends more than twice that at $54.34 per trip.
Multiplying each respondent’s annual trips by his/her spend per trip, the average guy spends around $154.44 a year at hair salons/barber shops while the average woman spends $257.42.
At first glance, women spend much more money than guys on their hair. However, these numbers also include the money spent on hair dying, straightening, Brazilian blowouts, etc.
Looking at just the money spent on scissors-to-hair, hair-on the-ground haircuts, the average guy spends $22.74 per haircut while the average woman spends $29.55. Although female haircuts are still more expensive than male haircuts, the difference is much less stark.
If you factor in how often guys get haircuts (once every 2 months) versus how often women get haircuts (4 times a year), guys spend an average of $158.90 a year while women spend $104.21. So from a pure haircut standpoint, guys actually spend more on haircuts per year than girls.
Guys just aren’t paying for the additional services.
Of the $257.42 that women spend annually at hair salons, only 40% of that is actually going towards haircuts – the remaining $154.45 is funding additional services – hair coloring, straightening, blowouts, etc.
The money spent on additional services for guys is closer to zero. At first glance, guys appear to actually spend more on haircuts ($158.90) than they do at salons/barber shops ($154.44). I was a little confused how this was possible until I read the comments - several guys cut their own hair. These people dragged down both the average frequency and spend at hair salons/barber shops while not impacting haircut frequency and spend as much.
So my gut was right…and wrong.
I sympathize with all the women out there. Hair care is no joke and it’s ridiculous that even for a basic haircut, girls have to pay around 50% more than guys.
However, it’s still interesting that the average guy actually spends more than the average girl on pure haircuts. The primary driver for exorbitant female haircare costs are the “additional services,” which are arguably optional.
I thought about consoling my female friends with these facts and showing them how they actually spend less than me on haircuts. However, I actually like having female friends.
More likely I will keep my mouth shut and hope that someone out there will find this analysis as interesting as I did.
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