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What is the difference between a $40, $60 and a $160 haircut in Manhattan?

Stylist Antonio Gonzales gives his professional advice

By Antonio Gonzales

A Day In The Life Of Lydia Hearst
Mark Mainz / Staff / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

In New York, there are 3 price points that are common for haircuts for men and women. Find out what the difference is between a $40, a $60 and a $160 haircut.

The $40 Haircut

The $40 haircut can easily be a great or bad experience compared to the other more expensive haircuts. Of course, this depends on the hairstylist and the client's expectations. You can easily find someone who has raw talent at this price who understands what you want, to a point. What you won't get? Don't expect a full service salon with a variety of products and glamorous surroundings.

Most salons that offer the $40 haircut don't have the financial resources to send every stylist to classes to continue their salon education. They may send the stylist that has been with them the longest and as a result that stylist may be the busiest person in the salon.

Although you may be getting your haircut at a reasonable price, your stylist is probably not going to be well-versed in the latest cutting methods, tools and hairstyles. At the end of the day it really depends on the client's expectations and the level of service they are accustomed to receiving. Some people are easier to please than others and some may want more of a salon experience.

See "Best Hair Products at the Drugstore".

The $60 Haircut

Depending on your budget, you may think $60 is expensive. Yes, there are talented hairstylists at this price point (I used to be one of them). Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

One of the biggest challenges with the $60 haircut is the amount of time spent on your hair. Most salons at this price point are booking half hour to 45 minute appointments. The salon can not afford to give up a chair for much longer so the stylists are trained to work fast. Even the work of a very talented stylist suffers by such time constraints. The haircut is rushed and the stylist does not have ample time for cross checking and dry cutting, which is when the real transformation happens.

The other challenge with haircuts at the $60 price point is that salons can't afford to pay for very much education and training for their stylists. Consequently, the stylists are forced to pay for their own training. This lack of education typically means your stylist is probably not keeping up with hair trends and the latest styling techniques.

Oh and by the way, don't expect a little cup of green tea in some fine china with a great fashion magazine and an environment that's says, ooh, I feel special.

See 23 Ways to Save on Haircuts, Hair Products and Haircare.

The $160 Haircut

While we all know expensive is not always better, no salon in Manhattan would be bold enough to charge this amount and give bad haircuts. What we do know is a great haircut actually lasts longer which is great news in a recession.

Any decent salon in this price point knows that to keep up with the latest in this competitive city, their stylists must be well trained in the latest techniques and styling trends. Most stylists in salons at this price point are encouraged to travel all over the world for education with companies like Vidal Sasson or Mahogany (just to name a few).

Most stylists in this price point will take the time to sit with you before each cut and discuss the look you are trying to achieve and will have the skill set to make recommendations on the various looks that will be best suited to your facial structure. They will also discuss with you how they envision the process unfolding to arrive at the end result.

You can expect your hair to be washed before with a relaxing head massage and after your cut, as a bonus, professional hair care and styling products are used and sold in these salons. The teas are to die for and the bathrooms are not reminiscent of McDonalds in Times Square. If your salon does not offer you these amenities, my advice to you, darling, is to find a salon that will treat you like the celebrity you are.

Essential reading:

Antonio Gonzales is a stylist at the Orl'o Salon in New York City. Get more hairstyling tips at Antonio's Website.

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