Cheap vs Expensive Haircut (Here is What You Get)

To determine what would be a good price to pay for a haircut, it helps to have an idea of what the average price is. As you would expect, to a large extent the price of a haircut depends on its location. It also depends on the gender of the customer – it turns out women, in general, pay more than men for their haircuts.

According to the electronic payment company Square, the average haircut price for men in the US is $28, while the average haircut price for women is $44.

Those 2 prices are the national average for men and women. Local prices can vary greatly based on the specific location. For example, haircut prices in New York City are $73 and $37 for women and men respectively. In San Francisco, they are $71 and $49.

The following table summarizes the average haircut prices for men and women for the entire USA as well as for a few selected major cities.

Related: Average Cost of Haircut by City & Type of Services

For now, let us focus on haircuts. The national average prices are $28 and $44 for men and women respectively. Those prices are just the average. You can find prices that are significantly lower or higher than the average.

On the low end of the market, you have hair salon chains that offer no frill haircuts at a low price. One example is Great Clips, a salon chain with 4,100 locations that offers haircuts for $15. Great Clips is considered one of the best cheap haircut chain.

On the high end of the market, you have fancy salons where a haircut costs $150 to $300 or more. With the price range from $15 to $300, the 3 main question that people have would be:

  1. How do you know you are getting the best value for your money?
  2. How much is considered overpriced?
  3. How much is considered too cheap?

More than anything else, the price charged for a haircut by a salon is determined by the location of that salon.

The posher the location, the higher the price. On the other hand, the price does not seem to have a strong correlation with the quality of the haircut itself.

What you get at a high end salon that you do not get at a low cost place is not necessarily a better haircut, but a better experience.

What You Get From High End Hair Salon

At a $150 hair salon, you get to sit in an expensively decorated room located in an exclusive neighborhood. You get a cappuccino and a scalp massage. The stylists there keep up with the latest styling trends.

They will talk to you to understand your lifestyle and preferences, and then suggest hairstyles that best suit your lifestyle and facial bone structure.

What You Get From Cheap Hair Salon

At a $15 hair salon, you will be sitting in a no-frill room located in an ungentrified neighborhood. You get a haircut and that is it. There will not be cappuccino or scalp massage.

You tell the stylist what you want and that is what you will get. They are not going to make personalized suggestions. They are also less likely to be staying on top of the latest trends.

If you’re on a tight budget and looking for a simple & fast haircut, here is a list of national big chains/franchises hair salon with a low starting price of haircuts:

Salon NameStoresAdult PriceChild PriceSenior Price
Great Clips4400$15.00$13.00$13.00
Supercuts2500$16.00$14.00$14.00
Cost Cutters600$16.00$13.00$16.00
Fantastic Sams1000$18.00$14.00$18.00
Sport Clips1770$19.00$15.00$17.00
First Choice 200$19.00$15.00$15.00
Cookie Cutters80$19.00$16.00$19.00
Snip-Its60$24.00$24.00$24.00
Roosters MGC85$29.00$19.00$29.00

My Personal Experience

I have had $20 haircuts as well as $150 haircuts. I wish I could say there was a huge difference in quality between the two. But there was not. I was happy with both. Obviously, the $150 experience was much nicer. But the haircuts themselves? Honestly, they were of similar quality.

My experience is shared by others. A reporter for the magazine Town & Country went to get 2 haircuts at 2 different places  – one cost $350 at a high end salon and the other cost $23 at the low cost chain Supercuts.

He did not find a whole lot of difference between the two haircuts. He did enjoy the coffee and the massage at the $350 salon though.

Sweet Spot Pricing for Haircut

So what is the sweet spot for the best value of haircut? You do not want to go too cheap. At a certain point, the price is too low to support a quality haircut. $15 is fine. But if someone is asking for $5 or $8 for a haircut? You might want to think twice.

My frugal recommendation: for men the sweet spot is in the $15 to $20 range, for women the sweet spot is $28 to $40. Any price higher than that, you are merely paying more for the rent, coffee, and the chatting experience than the haircut itself.