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What price for a barber cut?

Over the past seven years, the modern barber shop has become ubiquitous around Australia.

A step up from the traditional budget cut barber shop, the modern barber takes a more contemporary approach to a man's haircut and seeks to deliver service in a slicker and decidedly chic masculine environment.
You'll be paying anywhere between $50 to $70 for a cut in a standard modern barbershop; a place where you can (usually) book online, have a beer in the chair, achieve a salon-quality style and leave

But how much should you pay for a haircut? A cheap-as-chips $25 at your no appointment traditional barber shop? Or $100 plus at a bespoke barber shop?

We spoke to the experts to find out what your money gets you these days in Australia's barber shop world.

The $50 to $70 treatment

Aaron Chan, owner and head barber of the three King's Domain Barber shops in Melbourne, believes the $50 he charges for a haircut is the perfect price point.

For that at King's Domain, you get a hair wash, head massage, a beer and a modern salon cut by a barber who is trained to cut men's hair.

His philosophy and that of his barbers is to develop an honest, open relationship with the client and to cut for the client's face shape.

More than just a cut

"Face shape is important," Chan said. "Also you need to talk to the client because without talking to them you don't know what their day to day lifestyle is, what their personality is like or what their job is. Do they need a professional haircut or a more creative cut?
"They're the sort of details that I think are just as important as anything else because if you don't ask and you don't listen you're only about half the way there I reckon."

He says making the effort to get to know the client's needs and not just cutting the hair short or in one uniform style is the main way a modern barber shop differs from a traditional barber shop.

He called it "the salon approach to being a barber".

$100 and over

One of Australia's leading figures when it comes to the more bespoke barber shop is Rob Mason, hair cutter at Morris Motley in Melbourne.

At $100 a cut, Mason says its time and attention that is most important for him to give to his clients. In a traditional barber shop or less expensive modern barber shop you're hair is going to be cut "in about half an hour by a usually burnt out stylist".

"What we do differently is give people our time," Mason said. "And that's the one thing you don't get anywhere else.
"All our appointments are one hour, we don't have any other slot than that. So over the long term you get to know the client very well. They become our friends and we know them."

He said his shop doesn't even have a phone, to make sure the stylist is never interrupted when they're with a client.

Making natural work

"We push making your natural hair work. We don't over style the hair, we always go with it," he said.

"We won't be gluing hair down. We don't see curls or baldness as a flaw because it is normal and happens to all of us.

"You get a guy with a receding hairline who covers it up. We say to him straight 'to be honest nobody cares you're receding and if you get over that you'll have a lot more confidence'.

"You don't try and cover up what you've got. We want clients to like what they have got and know that everybody can look cool if they go with it."

Mason is about to open a new Morris Motley salon to replace the current one. It will be a two story "game changer" designed by renowned architects Russell & George.

It's off Smith Street in Collingwood and will house his lab - which is where he creates his three world famous hair products (priced at $40 and $50) - administration staff, and three chairs.

The traditional $20

Both Mason and Chan respect and cherish the role of the traditional barber and understand that for some men, that one-cut-fits-all approach, or just getting shorter hair, is all they want.

However since their businesses have boomed in the last five years they've both seen a sharp uptake in men who are willing to pay more for time, service and a male-focused salon cut.
 

Ted Baker

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