Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

How Long Should Hair Cuts Take?

Yesterday I was talking to some of my hairstylist friends and of course we've all been watching Shear Genius 3 (SG3) every week on Bravo/TV.

As a result of the show lots of topics of hair conversation have been popping up.

One conversation was the Shortcut Challenge which is one of two challenges which takes place every episode on SG3.

The challenge is always timed.  Often the SG3 contestants are only given 60-120 minutes, depending on the hair challenge and what other hairdressing tasks might be included such as applying color, chemicals, hair extensions or other adjunct hair styling procedures.

Which brought up the question, how long a hair cut should really take.  In the real world of course.  Not on a reality TV show. The answer?  It depends.

A haircut may include the following variables:

1.    Length of hair (very short to very long)

2.    Texture of hair (straight, wavy, curly, kinky, mixed textures)

3.    Type (thin, medium, thick, very thick)

4.    Children of adult cut

5.    Male of female

6.    Wet haircut or dry haircut

7.    Cut only or cut with blow out and styling options?

8.    Haircut combined with other chemical treatments such as color or texturizing?

9.    Cost of the cut (inexpensive to full service cut)

10.  Type of salon or hair establishment (cut-in-the-box, high end or celebrity salon)

11.  Experience and skill level of hairstylist as well as reputation

12.  Number of people involved.  Are assistants included?

Of course there are always unforeseen variables but in general the key variables are listed.

In cosmetology school once we were taught to caught hair we were required to practice, practice, practice and focus on getting fast while being being precise and efficient.  Of course time is always money in the world of hairdressing.

A Man's Short Hair Cut

My guy is a good example of the differences in haircut time and costs.  He has baby fine hair which is thinning on top.  He loves to wear his hair very short or "it tickles" his ears and neck.  His hair is cut slightly damp with a scissors and a shears is used to clean up the neck.

Although he used to go to a high end salon for a $50 haircut.  It went out of business.  He found a cut-in-the-box place around the corner and liked the guy who owns it named Sam.  Now he goes to Sam once a month first thing in the morning on Tuesdays.  It takes Sam literally 10-15 minutes to spritz his hair with a water bottle, cut his hair, clean it up and even trim his eyebrows. He will blow dry it for about 1 minute just to remove the moisture.  Then he applies a quick spritz of hairspray.

Sam has been cutting my guy's hair for about a year and he loves the results.  He's like me, a super workaholic so he loves that it takes about 15 minutes and costs $15.00.  Of course he always leaves a very generous tip and he always returns.

If Sam moved to a new salon that charged more my guy would probably follow.  Well, unless the cut went from $15 to $150.  He might not be willing to pay that much for a 15 minute service.

My Long Hair Trims

My classic long hair is a completely different matter.

I never get a hair cut in the real sense of getting my hair cut.  I have my ends trimmed every 2 months about 1/8 inches.  I also get my fringe trimmed every 8-10 weeks.

It takes 30 minutes to trim my fringe and another 30 to trim my ends.  My hairdresser trims it by spritzing with a water bottle.  She blow dries the bangs and that's it.  No other hairstyling involved for my trim.  One hour of trimming costs me $40 plus a tip.

Medium Length Bob Shampoo, Trim, Shaping

Another female friend of mine with a medium length bob gets her hair trimmed and shaped every 4-6 weeks to keep the style looking fresh.  She goes to a full service salon where they offer her wine or champagne.  Her hair is shampooed and conditioned by an assistant.

Her hair is cut with a scissors and a razor by her hairstylist.  After the cut her hair is blow dried by an assistant and then styled with a flat iron and a curling iron, for the ends.

My friend's medium bob takes 1 1/2 - 2 hours to shampoo, cut, blow dry and style.  Her cost?  $125 plus tip.  If that seems like a lot for a bob trim and shaping keep in mind that assistants are used along with a hairstylist who only cuts the hair.  Also, wine and refreshments are offered which are free to the customer but the cost is built into the hair cut.

Bottom line?  A hair cut, depending on the hairdresser, the client's hair and style and the type of salon can take a few minutes or as long as a few hours.

Some of my celebrity hairdressers have literally taken over two hours to cut a celebrity client's hair.  No names of course, but I was there and saw it.

Other Hair Types, Lengths, Styles

Cutting certain types of hair can definitely take a lot longer.  Naturally curly hair which is actually being cut and shaped can take quite some time depending on the curl pattern and profile.  Kinky curls may even take longer.

On the flip side, children's hair can often be cut very quickly.  Which is a good thing if the child isn't cool with the whole cutting their hair plan.

As I stated above, there are many variables to take into consideration.  When in doubt about how long a hair cut might take, always ask your hairstylist for an estimate.


Is there a point to this blog?  No, not really.  Just a general musing on hair cutting in relation to the Shear Genius 3 show Shortcut challenges and the reality of the real world.

Of course with the change in the economy many people have looked for ways to economize and have taken different approaches to getting their hair trimmed, cut, shaped or similar.  That topic will be a blog for another day.

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