The price of the perfect hair do

By James Fuller

A woman's haircut in Tauranga can vary in price by as much as $70, with one salon charging as little as $15.

Hairdressing training school Hair to Train in Mt Maunganui has prices starting at $15, while a director's cut at The Salon on the Strand costs up to $85.

Angela King, owner of Salon One: The Cove, where a director's cut costs $79, says higher prices are reflective of talent and experience.

"We have a three-tier pricing structure, so cuts are available from a technician for $45 up to $79 for a director's cut. The directors are our senior, senior stylists and they have a strong clientele base. It's basically supply and demand."

Salon One has four directors with up to 25 years' hairdressing experience.

"It's experience and they're very good at what they do. That price reflects what they're getting paid as well. They are talented people and they should be paid accordingly."

King, who is Bay of Plenty President of the New Zealand Association of Registered Hairdressers(NZARH), says pricing can also be down to time spent with clients.

"Some salons cut at half-hourly intervals, some at hourly intervals - it depends on how they're run. Somewhere like here is a more relaxing experience, that time is taken."

King says training schools are important but similar cuts cannot not be expected.

"They are learning and it's fantastic that they are on the floor, but you are getting a cut from a trainee. You can't expect an absolutely amazing cut - that experience needs to be built up. You get what you pay for."

She advises people go to NZARH registered salons as it is "like having a master builder's certificate".

"There are quite a few salons around town that are members and if anything does go wrong, that salon could definitely look after you. I get phone calls all the time from people wanting to know their rights after they've had a bad experience in a salon."

Jo Brierley, education manager at Hair to Train, says their prices have made them "probably the busiest salon in town".

"People are going through hard times and they're coming to us. It's a training school and the prices we charge really just cover the cost of our products."

But cheap does not mean an inferior cut, says Brierley.

"There's always three qualified tutors overseeing the salon. They're standing over the students the whole time."

Brierley says there are many factors that go into pricing.

"There's a lot more to it than many people realise. Whereas some might shampoo, blow-wave, cut and do all the finishing some might not. It depends on the coffee you get served, the whole atmosphere of the salon, their rent, it can be down to many things."

Corina Conn has owned Hair2Stare@ in Otumoetai for five and a half years.

A lady's shampoo, cut and blow-wave at her salon costs between $40 and $50. She says some local salons charge up to $80.

"My girls and I in here have worked in places which charge $80 a haircut. Others I've worked with have been in salons where it's way more expensive than that. It's all down to where you go.

"My salon is somewhere in the middle. We're definitely a lot classier than a barber's but we're not in town, so you get a really good haircut and a good experience at a good price."

Conn says she also offers "bundles" of hair procedures to keep costs down.

"When a client gets their hair coloured, their haircut will be cheaper. If we shampoo the hair before the colour we don't charge for that on top of the haircut. So there are a number of ways we try to keep the cost down."

Conn says women go for the salon experience as much as the haircut itself.

"It's time out for a little pampering. It's a whole experience. Women tend to be a lot fussier than men when it comes to hair and are happier spending longer amounts of time on it. Women are prepared to pay a bit more to look good, too."

Cheryl Stowers, from Mount Maunganui, has her hair cut every five weeks and spends two hours in the salon on each visit.

"I go every five weeks for a colour, cut, blow-wave, shampoo and conditioner - sometimes deep hair treatments. A colour, blow-wave and a cut is usually about $120 because it takes more time.

"When you put the colour on that's 45 minutes, then it gets washed out and blow-waved. It can be up to a couple of hours. I don't mind, it's just wonderful. It's that time out, that bit of relaxation.

"It's about wanting to keep yourself looking nice and it makes you feel good."

A client at Hair2Stare@, Stowers she says she is not a fan of high-end salons.

"You pay the earth and I wouldn't even go there. You can still be disappointed with a cut. I also don't think they're as personal as the middle-of-the-road places."

Stowers, who is the Tauranga Hospital radiology department receptionist, says women need to have faith in their hairdresser.

"It's important you trust your hairdresser and you have that faith in a hairdresser you've been going to all the time."


- Bay of Plenty Times

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