Equality through Gender Neutral Pricing in Salons?

Equality through Gender Neutral Pricing in Salons?

As a midwesterner, I was a touch behind the big city, big corporate and overall acceptance, (push), of gender neutral pricing in salons. Admittedly, It never occured to me to charge men, women and every person in my chair the same price until a few years ago.

Look, I get it, why would someone pay more just because they identified as a woman, just because this is “the way” it’s been? It doesn’t make sense, really, when you look at it from this standpoint, so why do salons and independent hair stylists hang on to this old pricing model?

Hi There, my name is Susan Wos, I have been in the industry since I was a baby and now I help salon owners with marketing and create great exit strategies that yield a profitable sale price in salons. Truth be told, while I was doing hair, I always charged differently for men and women.

I had almost zero transgender, binary or any clients questioning their sexuality in my chair.

There was no need for me to even think about WHY I would charge different prices for different people, for any reason other than that was “the way it was”. When I started Salonspa Connection in 2018, was when I noticed things were changing in the beauty industry, and I was being left behind. Still, I couldn’t get my head around why gender-neutral pricing was a thing.

Join me in an adventure of realization about how inclusivity in salon pricing should be determined by the salon experience, and how I came to embrace genderless pricing. 

Table of Contents

Should all Salons offer a More Neutral Pricing Model Now?

Legally, yes. In all practicality, probably not- at least not for now. Salons and stylists come in every shape and size imaginable, and haircuts are performed in every corner of the world. As we evolve as humans a better understanding of how we make people feel in our chair is inevitable.

In some areas, laws prevent salon pricing structure from being based on anything other than what you do with your time, clipper or scissor. Gender neutrality hair salon pricing quite literally is the only way to go, to stay legal in salons in some states and countries.

I was never personally faced with questioning someone’s gender during a hair service, but if I was, this would have made knowing what to charge a real issue.

The LAST thing I would want to do is create an uncomfortable situation in asking someone’s gender to quote pricing. Or to charge one price one time, and something different the next time, based on my assumption of how a person identified.

Regardless of how you feel about charging based on gender in salons, this should be the scenario to put yourself in, should you not want to move to this type of compensation model. Would you want to charge someone a different price, based on your assumption of gender OR is charging the same price for everyone a better way to do business?

How Salon Clientele Plays a Role in Changing a Salon Business Model

If you are one of those established, independent hair stylists who has a predictable income, the same clientele, and no laws preventing you from charging as you please, then keep on doing your thing. If you are a newer stylist or new to the booth rental model of business, think about the future.

Setting salon charges up to be as straightforward as possible alleviates any gender issues for pricing.

Estheticians don’t charge male and female clients who get facials different prices. Why should salons and barbershops charge separately for males and females to get haircuts and colors? Same goes for nail technicians, massage therapists and any service provider.

Why should hair salons and stylists be the only beauty industry providers who charge based on genitalia?


Hourly & Time-Based Pricing Rather than Gendered Haircut Pricing

Being from a smaller, bigger city, hourly pricing was just coming into focus in neighboring salons in 2021. The hourly business model got me thinking…is this a better way to go?

Price based on time spent, (not per service or gender), since this is a classic way to lose money and time if you didn’t get an accurate consultation, made perfect sense.

Charging by the hour neutralized everything! No worries about who was sitting in your chair, it was just a matter of how long they were there. Time spent in the salon equalled how much a client pays.

Yeah, ok, this is seems more fair, but how does this make sense in scheduling? Hair that tends to take more time should be a higher price, but is THIS fair to the client?

I still haven’t gotten totally on board with the hourly rate model, but I do think considering the complexity of the service, rather than the gendered pricing service menu is a great way to make all clients feel equal.

how cutting long hair vs short hair should be priced differently

Focusing on Hair, Not Gender

Whether or not you want to price by the hour is up to you. For me, it seems like the most simple solution to the gender equality in hair issue. If hourly isn’t your thing, and you want to have a more inclusive salon environment, just start charging everyone the same price for haircuts and styles.

Everyone walks out of the salon with styled hair. Add on charges for iron work, longer hair or more elaborate and time consuming looks.

Long before gender-affirming haircuts and the push towards “fair service price” were a thing, women’s cuts were priced to include a blow-dry, rather than the a-la-carte model of pricing for a cut or cut and style.

Charging based on length of hair, tools used or time spent, is the new way hairstylists are moving into the future to promote inclusivity.

Implementing Gender-Neutral Pricing in Salons: The Hard Part of Becoming an Inclusive Salon

Should you find yourself in a situation similar to mine, you may be left scratching your head on how to change the way you do business, as a salon owner or as a stylist. Charging by the hour is likely the best way to go, should you want to introduce gender-neutral salon pricing.

If hourly isn’t your thing, telling men they will be paying more or announcing to women they suddenly get a discount may be daunting. So, how do you get the equality train on the tracks?

Honestly, you just have to start somewhere.

Haircuts and a blowout make the most sense to make this change, first. Explain to clients that the way your services have been structured was not based on hair, and this contributed to gender dysphoria issues and was overall unfair to all humans.

Let clients know you are proud to join a salon and spa movement that have already made these advances and feel this is the model all businesses are moving towards.

While you may get the most pushback on men’s cuts with these changes, ultimately, you will widen your customer base and find strength with other salons that have already made the the push to offer gender-neutral services.

New Pricing Based on Service Complexity: Online Booking Made Easier

New clients who go to book their first appointment online almost always stare at salon booking software, not really knowing if they are choosing the right option. I can see where the way we book our haircuts would benefit from offering options that reflect the length, or specifics on what the hair requires, instead of making gender identity the deciding factor to choose a service.

A short haircut or clipper cut would be easier and more forward thinking to differentiate in booking options rather than a men’s or women’s cut for non-binary customers. Moving to an hourly business model or charging by hair length makes a client’s choice more empowering and overall more fair to the hairdressing industry as a whole.

Traditional gender service differentiation will cause problems for most salons, at some point in time. Make online booking for clients easier, train your customers that longer services or charges based on the time it takes to complete the look dictates how much they should pay.


Charging clients based on what works best for your hair business is the way to go. This article was written from a seasoned stylist’s POV who needed to logically think through the benefits and drawbacks of why the industry “norm” has been women getting a hair service to be priced higher than men.

It makes perfect sense to me that time and effort should determine what a higher service pricetag should be, not a “women’s haircut” or ‘men’s prices’. No longer will services reflect a higher charge based on gender, should you choose to join in with those salons that determined price based on gender to be a discriminatory practice.

I hope you have found my brain dump on gender neutral pricing in salons to be beneficial to your own business decisions. You can find more helpful and insightful cosmetology statistics throughout our salon industry blog and on our website.

Stay up to date with Salonspa Connection on Instagram and Facebook or follow me on TikTok @salonrecruiter to get the raw version of industry insights & tips to help you in your career.

Yours in service,

Susan Wos