A haircut can be quite practical and necessary, but salons are much more than pragmatic places to keep your appearance in check. Tending to your tresses can be an act of self-care. And when you add in candid talks with your stylist, conversational chats about pop culture with fellow salon goers, complimentary massages, and a glass of wine, a salon is just as much a local watering hole, as it is a place for beauty.
Those watering holes have been separated by gender for longer than we can remember, with women taking the brunt of the cost when it comes to the cost of a haircut and color. The belief has long been held that tending to men’s hair requires less work and less expensive tools, but in 2017, women are opting for blunt bobs and buzz cuts, while men are going for shoulder-grazing lengths and bold hues. So it seems our hair proclivities are balancing out…right? Enter: the notion of gender neutral haircut prices.
A number of hair salons all around the country have seen the outdatedness of this approach and are opting for gender neutral haircut prices instead. “Being members of the LGBTQIA+ community ourselves, it was never a question as to how we would charge for our services,” Tricia Serpe of Chicago’s Logan Parlor told Mane Addicts. “From the beginning we felt the only way to establish a structure based on equality was to eliminate gender from the equation and base our pricing off of the length. It’s extremely important to us as hair and similarly gender are very fluid. Length-based pricing is our way of inspiring change in an industry that has been bound by traditional gender roles for many years.”
Logan Parlor believes their pricing leads to freedom of expression and creativity, for both their stylists and guests. “By removing the need to identify where an individual falls on the gender spectrum, if at all, we are fostering an environment where people feel comfortable collaborating with their stylist to get the look they want to express.”
Anna Evans-Bayer of SISU Hairdressing instituted gender neutral haircut prices last year. Of the move, she declared, “I knew when I started my career that I wanted to make this change for our industry.” She shared her decision in a 2016 blog post. “I believe in equality and would like our prices to be focused on the service received, not the gender of the person receiving the cut,” the poignant message asserted. “In my eyes, this is a small movement to improve equality amongst everyone — one fabulous hair cut at a time!” Certainly something we can get behind.
Serpe and Logan Parlor co-owner Jamie DiGrazia also joined Chicago’s Safe in My Chair program, which seeks to educate stylists to better accommodate LGBTQIA+ and transgender clients. Of their involvement, Serpe stated, “We joined the Safe in My Chair program to let the LGBTQIA+ community know that we are a safe space for them.”
Serpe continued, “It is the only program that is available for stylists which starts to address some of the barriers that society has put around hair in regards to gender. It’s powerful to think how quickly the network is growing. Specifically for our team, the safe in my chair training helped reinforce the importance of a thorough consultation, the idea that any day anyone could come into the salon and want to totally change the way they express themselves through their hair and we as stylists should always be open to receiving that information.” Logan Parlor and other salons and stylists in the the network are now listed on Safe In My Chair’s website as safe spaces.
Serpe and DiGrazia’s brand are just one of many out there in the hair world that are incorporating activism into their foundation. “At the heart of our brand is community and activism is an essential part of building that community,” Serpe affirmed. ” We opened a neighborhood business based on inclusion and equality. Our salon design encourages group conversation with its open feel and color bar that doubles as our waiting area. Outside of the salon itself you can find us at the local farmer’s market or volunteering at the community garden.”
And Serpe believes that the beauty industry as a whole has a responsibility, as it is one of the world’s largest and most influential industries. “By advocating for length-based pricing we have an opportunity to inspire change that will resonate throughout this large industry and directly impact the status quo,” the business owner expressed. “The articles that have recently been published have truly helped raise awareness and enlighten individuals who may operate primarily in a gendered society to think differently. Many times when people find out we use length-based pricing they admit they have never thought twice about requesting a men’s or women’s haircut. It’s in these moments everyday that change begins.” Other salons around the country getting on board with this change are New York City’s Vacancy Project and Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Hair To The Throne Salon.
As for what’s next for Logan Parlor, Serpe described her team as “perpetual learners and growers”. They will evolve as their community does. “We will continue to listen, educate ourselves, and push for change,” the hair guru stated. Evans Bayer is also relying on her community, evolving its outreach through local projects. “In January, we hosted an attorney who led a letter writing party,” she confirmed. “At this event, she educated our clients who are newer to activism how to form a letter and/or phone call to our governing officials and whom to contact regarding particular issues. We had stations where everyone could write their letters to make their voice heard.”