Ottawa hair salon to make switch to gender-neutral prices

A downtown Ottawa hair salon has decided to get rid of different prices for men's and women's haircuts — and will soon be charging clients based on how much work their hairstyle takes instead.

Hair Junkie to cut 'old habit' of charging clients based on gender

Jessie Stevens says her salon Hair Junkie decided to go to gender-neutral pricing in part because they had received comments from transgender clients. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

A downtown Ottawa hair salon has decided to get rid of different prices for men's and women's haircuts — and will soon be charging clients based on how much work their hairstyle takes.

Hair Junkie on Laurier Avenue recently decided it was time to join the growing trend of hair salons in both Canada and the U.S. offering "gender-neutral" haircut pricing.

"You see tons of women who have very short hair, tons of men who have very long hair," said salon co-ordinator Jessie Stevens.

"If you're doing the same amount of work on a male or a female, I think it's only fair that the price should reflect that."

New prices this fall

Under Hair Junkie's current pricing scheme, women's haircuts start at $41, while men's cuts are $31.

It's just an old habit that has carried on through decades.- Jessie Stevens, Hair Junkie salon co-ordinator

That will change in September, said Stevens, when a barber-style cut or a short pixie cut will start at $31. A "mid-to-long" cut or a drastic style change will begin at $46, since those cuts can take more than twice as long to finish, Stevens said.

There will also be a middle price for haircuts that fall between those two extremes, she added.

"We're hearing more and more people questioning, like, why is there a difference in the price range," Stevens told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning.

"We have transgender clients who come in and they have voiced their — not concern, but just asking the question why [this pricing structure exists]."

Likely first in Ottawa

Stevens said that as far as she knows, Hair Junkie is the first Ottawa salon to eschew the traditional haircut pricing structure.

It took eight weeks and conversations with other salons across North America, she said, but they eventually came up with prices that would both be fair to clients and ensure they stay in business.

"It's just an old habit that has carried on through decades. We just figured it's time to change it," Stevens said.

"We might take a little bit of a hit at first, but we're willing to do it."

With files from Denise Fung