"We may need to charge more for curls that require extra attention and care."
"Super long/thick hair [will cost more] depending on the volume of hair."
These are direct quotes taken from specialist curly hair salon websites here in Australia.
Women with curls, do not put up with pricing discrimination. As a professional who has worked with all manner of curls for 30 years, this practice is entirely bullshit and totally unethical. Curl type and density are genetic predispositions and should not be used to justify additional cost to the client. Ever. Period. End of story.
Literally every salon website I researched for this post, bar one has blatant, clearly stated pricing policies which are openly discriminatory against women who were born with thicker, curlier hair types. In fact, numerous clients have directly shared with me how they were personally charged an additional amount due their hair type from 2 of the more popular curl focused salons here in Melbourne. The fact these businesses openly state online that they charge more for certain women is beyond unacceptable. These 'curl specialists' and every other conventional salon professional will usually provide the same asinine, invalid excuses for their unethical and discriminatory pricing practices.
No doubt, this topic has been something I've been passionate about for some time and my outright anger has only grown in the last few years. It's finally at this 30 year mark of my career where I feel as though my age, experience and voice can no longer be refuted nor diminished. Long ago in our multicultural cities, salon owners (even curly ones) starting having these discriminatory business practices and the public has simply been conditioned to think it's okay. It isn't. Every time this rant has been brought up in the studio, most clients respond with, 'Well, what are we supposed to do? That's what all salons do, we don't have a choice, regardless of how bullshit it is". Hairdressers have abused their power and women have been worn down to accepting it because they feel they have no alternative. This is sad and unfortunate.
Women born with thicker, challenging hair have by definition had difficulty getting a decent haircut. This is the understatement of the century. As these women have been significantly traumatised by conventional hairdressers for years, a curl supportive hairdresser should - more than anyone else - be sensitive to this and not charge them a higher rate than any other client. While I alone (and certainly not this blog post) have the power to change anything in the hairdressing industry, the paying public might be able to. It is my hope that by bringing this topic to light there stands the possibility of a online dialogue amongst the very people professionals depend on, the clients. Perhaps with enough noise, change is possible. Hashtag anyone?
1 Haircut. 1 Price. Demand it. Anything else is discrimination.
Update. In the days following this post I realised that this very site had some information presented in a way which could have implied a sort of discrimination towards women with 4a, b, or c curls. This has since been reworded to state that while all types of curls are supported, I haven't been given the opportunity to become proficient with them all equally. Having lived in multi-cultural cities my entire life, I've been exposed to and had the opportunity to work with and develop substantial skills with everything up to and including 3c. Curl types 4a and above are often dense African hair and these women have traditionally only trusted professionals with this hair type themselves to tend to their needs. While I certainly am not afraid of working with purely African, as a consequence of not being trusted with it (for very valid reasons) I haven't had the opportunity to become equally confident with it as other types. Considering the nature of my practice, I find it extremely important to be completely open and transparent about the strengths and limitations of my current skill set.
While online comments are always closed, I encourage any readers to email me their thoughts directly. I will always respond in kind.
© Tom Zappala | All rights reserved | ABN 27 306 081 547