How To Tell If Your Barber Is Ripping You Off

This one's dedicated to Mark Zuckerburg's android haircut

How To Tell If Your Barber Is Ripping You Off

A $10 haircut once left me looking like the love-child of a hipster and a neo-nazi. Still not as bad as Zuckerberg—but waking up every morning to see sheared back and sides, a fringe long enough to put in my mouth and a hack-job undercut, was to say the least, depressing.

Admittedly, for $39 you’re likely to get a better result. But how much better? And why is there such a gap between $39 and $100? We spoke to a professional to find out.

Time Is Everything

The cheaper the haircut the less time will be spent on your hair. According to Adam Walmsley, from the Friends & Family Salon, “The $39 hairdresser will have to literally cut corners in order to increase their turnover and keep service time to an absolute minimum.”

“The notion of receiving a haircut, at these salons, that is specific to you is redundant. They will have to mechanise their technique and so removes the bespoke aspect of a more expensive haircut”.

Building a relationship with your hairdresser will lead to a better understanding of your hair and personal style. Whilst this is possible at a $39 place, time pressure makes it harder.

The Consultation

Any barber worth his shears will tell you: the consultation is the most important part of your haircut. According to Adam Walmsley, “If your hairdresser races through your consultation find a new one.”

“You should tell them how much time and effort you spend each day on your hair and do a little homework before the haircut. Find some images you like as pictures communicate much more clearly and no we don’t think you want to look exactly like the model!”

The consultation should be a positive exchange and at the end get your hairdresser to recap so you feel comfortable whilst getting the snip. If you’re getting this with a cheap haircut then great. But the chances are it will be rushed, or non-existent.

Complicated Requests

Unlike a $10 haircut, for $39 your barber will at least try to replicate the high-fade or blended undercut in photo you show him. The problem: unless you’ve found an underground prodigy, David Beckham’s four-figure mélange is beyond a $39 hairdresser’s ability. Typically: the cheaper your price, the less subtle the cut. If you want it to look natural, go for the $100 option—which brings us to our next point.

Authenticity Of Service

Whether you want a pompadour, light blend, high-fade, racing stripes or a manicured quiff, a $100 haircut gives you more chance of pulling it off with ease. The more you spend, the more it looks like your hair just grows like that naturally, and the less obvious it should be that you’ve had a haircut (with the exception of racing stripes…).

Style Is Also Important

This one’s a mixed bag. If you want advice on what will suit your cherubic face, break out the hundred dollar bill. However, if you know what you like and don’t want to be talked into trying something new, we’ve found $39 salons are less prone to taking risks, and happier to just get you in and out the door as quick as possible. On the other hand, if you want to spice up your Tinder then asking a professional’s advice—or giving them a little creative licence—could be a great way to discover a whole new look.

Finally… Experience

Fancy a coffee or beer to prevent the impending existential crisis that sneaks up on you every time you’re stuck in a waiting room? In a $39 shop, unless you’re really lucky, it’s not going to happen. These days, in a $100 dollar establishment you are usually offered refreshments, magazines, newspapers, friendly conversation and a cool vibe.

Adam Walmsley says that with a $100 cut you should expect to be given, “A wash and conditioning head massage with luxury Haircare products,” as well as, “Styling and product advice throughout your haircut.”