The $984 Haircut


With their unparalleled eye and broad-reaching sense of fashion, what they offer isn’t just technical skill, but a certain transformative promise; a clear vision of the way you want to look right now and the ability to make it happen. The Duchess of Cambridge’s newly darkened hair and side-swept layer of fringe may not involve such a radical change—but after seeing it crowned by a diamond tiara en route to a diplomatic reception last night, it’s hard to argue with the politics of her unfailing royal polish.

The cost of Kate Middleton’s haircut + coloring: $984. Vogue comes to the Duchess’s defense by arguing that Middleton is a high-profile person who is in front of a lot of cameras and since she visits a high-profile hair professional, the costs are just what they are.

I am no stranger to expensive haircuts—my own costs $50—but besides the professional cutting your hair with the clear vision and all that, what else goes into a $984 haircut? The serum made from a flower that grows in a single place in the Amazon rainforest? Shampoo made from kitten tears? I’d like to know.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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20 Comments / Post A Comment

Allison (#4,509)

Probably the person giving the $984 haircut hasn’t made a customer cry by screwing up in a very long time.

deedee (#4,436)

I could see it. A woman’s cut at a basic salon in a big city costs $75. Highlights are easily over $100. Highlights + full color? A couple hundred. If I got a cut + highlights + full color and threw in some kind of conditioning treatments or whatnot, I could easily get up to $400 and I don’t even go to anything close to a high-end salon. And does that $984 total include tip? ;) This is why I cut my hair three times a year.

guenna77 (#856)

@deedee agreed. i’ve paid a good $200 for highlights, and not at a fancy place.

it’s not a $984 “haircut” – it’s probably more like a $250 cut and a $700 color/condition. what you’re paying for is the skill of the colorist in particular, and the time. it takes a long time to do a whole head and sometimes more than one colorist. good highlights can make a person look amazing. badly done highlights make you look worse than you started. it’s not a thing to skimp on. (which is why i don’t get them anymore)

Sloane (#675)

$300 for cut and color at a reputable, but not swanky salon in Atlanta. I can only afford color about twice a year, but it’s totally worth it (just the cut is $100 with tip – I get a few of those in between color).

My stylist lived in New York about 10 years ago, and he charged $250 for cut, and color started at $400. He had lots of clients and did really well – the rich are different, I guess.

garli (#4,150)

Every comment is making me never want to color my hair.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@garli Seriously.

gl (#5,458)

@garli Henna! If you don’t have dark hair naturally that is. With henna you can only go darker than your natural color and you can’t use it over bleached hair. But for this dirty blonde who yearns to be a redhead, it works alright. It also fades naturally over time so you don’t get the super obvious root situation either, which is good because anything beyond washing my hair each day is Too Much Effort spend on hair.

My graduation gift from high school was getting my hair professionally dyed, but that was almost 10 years ago (GOD) and my parents paid so I have no idea what the cost was, but since then any time I’ve wanted to dye my hair I’ve used henna (~$25, usually good for multiple dyes) and enlisted the help of my mom who is free, if you don’t count the plane ticket to get to her.

OhMarie (#299)

@garli I just colored my hair with an at-home box for the first time since high school (hello grays!) and it cost $4 and looks pretty solid.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@OhMarie I also love at-home box color for just doing the tips!

garli (#4,150)

@OhMarie I like to think that when my hair goes grey I’ll just let it, because I think ladies with grey hair look pretty bad ass, but my theory hasn’t been tested with actual grey hairs yet. :)

amaeve (#5,095)

At a super cheap place where haircuts were $27, I paid well over 100 for cut and color. I can see how it would add up to that much at a super high-end place.

And that’s why I’m too broke for platinum hair these days.

jquick (#3,730)

The hairdresser charges that because…she can. It obviously hasn’t turned her #1 client away.

Millipenny (#2,921)

High-end salon + top of the line style/color team + PRIVATE (no way is she sitting under a dryer out on the main floor) 2-4 hour appointment = $$$$

A-M (#4,317)

Why wouldn’t the hair stylists come to her? Then Kate and co could at least avoid the press of it all. And I get that a coloring could cost even up to $400, but more than double that? Yeesh.

Ellie (#62)

I would guess it costs $984 because that’s toward the high end of the estimated range that the hairdresser is confident her clientele will pay for the service.

gyip (#4,192)

I think what you’re paying for is an absolute guarantee. The skill in being able to interpret what your client wants and delivering. Plus, whatever the stylist thinks she can charge.Kate’s hair is practically a royal asset, after all.

Really glad I can’t really dye my hair (I’m Asian … black, maybe brown, is all that works) and I don’t really care.

Liz the Lemur (#3,125)

Also, it’s Britain, so everything is pricier anyway. The article lists 600 pounds as the price – a $600 haircut here wouldn’t seem *as* outrageous.

It’s a lot of money, but I guess I don’t see it as being above and beyond other high-end services. I live in NYC and about once a year or so I can afford to go to the place that does an excellent job on my hair.. usually around $200 with tip (it’s a classy place, but by no means exclusive, and I’m not a wealthy person), but I’m always interested in stuff like this… so much of our emotional reactions to this stuff has to do with our own financial situations and how much WE value $900. I will never get a $900 haircut, because I would not be able to pay my bills or have FOOD in a month where I did that. But I also know from my own experience (worked in the arts and as a craftsperson for some years) that a lot of what people are paying is a product that requires an investment in training, a commitment to keeping skills fresh and some degree of talent. Add on to that that the Duchess’ hairstylist has to be available to work around the royal schedule, needs to have gone through some kind of vetting process (and can be trusted), and a haircut/color might take a full day involving traveling to a work site with whatever tools are needed (and PAYING for whatever tools/supplies are needed), assistants to help with the actual work (as well as whatever costs go into running their business, since it still takes more than a few $900 haircuts to keep the rent paid), and waiting around for a client that might have other time commitments that take priority, and you’ve had a $900 freelance gig, which may or may not be paying for the time of several people.

That said, I have NO PROBLEM with working people who can get rich people to shell out $$$. This is one of the reasons people can have careers making wedding invitations or being jewelers or selling hats or whatever. The whole idea of SPENDING money on luxury goods /services is weird to me (because I don’t have money), but from the perspective of the hairstylist I actually suspect that something like this is pretty reasonable.

Lily Rowan (#70)

Yeah, I once got a free haircut from a super fancy hair person, and it was BY FAR the best haircut of my life, to the point where I looked into going back to them. I think that it would have cost me $400 to see someone else at the salon, not even the fancy name person who gave me the free cut. It was really much better than any other haircut I’ve ever had, but even so, probably not 6 times better.

Lily Rowan (#70)

@Lily Rowan And of course, that was just the cut, not color.

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