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"I'm Going To A Mediocre Salon And Walking Out With Hair That's Very Basic For $400-$500": This Hairstylist Thoughtfully Called Out The Hair Industry For Overcharging, And Clients Everywhere Feel Seen

Getting our hair done has always been considered a "luxury," so it's never been exceptionally cheap. Hair stylists provide their time, skill, and products, so it makes sense to price their services accordingly! But if you feel like prices at salons have gotten much, much higher in recent years, you're not alone.

Hairdresser cutting a person's hair, focus on hands and scissors
Sbenitez / Getty Images

Meradith Hamilton, a 27-year-old independent hair stylist and business owner who's been in the industry for over nine years, recently commented on the rising costs of haircare services and added her perspective as a professional in the field. And judging by the response, she definitely struck a chord.

In a now-viral TikTok video with over 1.4 million views, Meradith stitches and responds to a different video where another stylist shares that the past holiday season felt slower than usual for hair care professionals. Meradith says, "I went to the comments [on the other video] just to see what people were saying, and the majority of people commenting were clients, and they were all saying, 'We can't afford it. It's gotten way too expensive. I'm going to a mediocre salon and walking out with hair that's very basic for $400–$500. In a small town, or even in a like a really big city.'"

Comment section of a social media post with various users discussing salon prices, personal styles, and making humorous remarks

Here's just a snippet of the comments on the video Meradith stitched.

@nicolepommehair / Via tiktok.com

"And I understand, I'm a hair stylist," Meradith continues in her video. "I understand that we have to charge our worth. We have to charge for our time. We have to charge for product and inflation. ...But I don't agree with what people are charging! Like, flat out, I don't agree with it."

Woman with long blond hair in a ribbed top, touching earring, sitting in a salon chair

"I think in the hair world with all of the influencers and social media, we've just kind of lost touch of what being a hairstylist truly is," Meradith says. "It's about human connection, and I feel like in the way that we are progressing, we're losing that. I've had clients that have gone to the top social media influencers, and they come and sit in my chair, and they're like, 'Wow, we just had a full-blown conversation. I'm not used to that, because I'm used to having my stylist running around and doing three other clients, or having their assistant work on me.' And that's just, to me, not what a hairstylist is."

"The value of someone coming and sitting in my chair is a lot more important to me than charging someone $500 and never seeing them again," Meradith explains in the video. "So, I think for hairstylists, we have to get back into the mindset that our clients are people and they want the human connection. They want to see the value in our work, and they want to feel heard, and they want to feel seen. And they want to come in and get their hair done, but they want to feel valued. And charging someone $400–$500 for a hair service, in my opinion, is not being valued."

Woman sitting indoors with a surprised expression, a neon sign in the background
@hairbymeradith / Via tiktok.com

"For reference, I live in Denver, Colorado," Meradith says. "I rent my own studio, so I am a full business owner. I know what my rent is, I know what my products are gonna be, I know how much I need to put away for taxes, and I know what I need to charge in order to sustain the life I want to sustain. And I think a lot of these stylists nowadays, see a lot of these influencers, and are like, 'Oh, they're charging that. I can charge that.' But in reality, that's not the way that it is."

"If you feel like you're not super busy behind the chair, maybe it's time to take a step back and and just kind of reevaluate what you're doing and what you could be doing a little bit better, Meradith concludes in the video. "And just remember that clients are people too. They have bills that they need to pay. And unfortunately, 'luxury services' are the first to go, so you just kind of have to think, 'How can I still be luxury, and sustain the lifestyle that I want, but have clients continuously come back to me?' That's just my two cents. So if you agree, you agree, and if you don't, you don't."

Woman sitting in front of a neon sign, wearing a white turtleneck under a sleeveless top
@hairbymeradith / Via tiktok.com

Nearly 8,000 people commented on Meradith's video. Many agreed that the prices for hair services have gotten far too expensive for them to regularly afford.

Three screenshots of social media comments discussing the high cost of hair services
@hairbymeradith / Via tiktok.com

Others echoed her sentiment that pricing services more reasonably will lead to more consistent work for professional stylists.

Comments on a social media post, discussing opinions on the cost of an item and customer loyalty
@hairbymeradith / Via tiktok.com

BuzzFeed reached out to Meradith, who shared that she's seen price increases across the hair industry, from haircuts and color services to extension services. "I have been surrounded by higher priced hair services throughout my career working in high end luxury salons, but I always felt that the price reflected the service that was being delivered with over communication of the outcome and price always being discussed up front. I really started to notice a steep price increase with services four to five years ago."

"In my opinion, what I feel sparked the spike in price increases isn't one specific thing, but I do think hair influencers have a little bit to do with it," she continued. "Stylists see hair influencers charging $600–$700 for a service, which is great for them, but not every stylist can do that without demand. Which, in my view, is where disconnect is happening with clients returning."

"We are in an industry where fortunately we do get to create our own prices, and whether or not clients find value in the work that is being delivered with the price point is up to them," Meradith told BuzzFeed. "Also, the flip side for stylists. I personally value my clients by charging reasonably priced services and having them come back to me for many years rather than scrambling every week to fill my chair with clients. I believe that the price increases have to slow down, if stylists don't want to price themselves out of business."

"I am by no means saying sell yourself short," she clarified. "You just have to find the appropriate price point for you and one that clients respond well to by returning to you. I value my clients' time and their money, so I am always very upfront and honest about pricing and everything that is included in that price. Transparency is very important and builds a lot of trust in your client relationship."

For anyone out there who finds themself struggling with the rising costs of hair services, Meradith shared this advice: "Research as much as you can, call salons, ask friends where they get their hair services done. There are still stylists and salons that provide quality work without charging an astronomical amount. Also something to remember: a low social media following doesn't mean low quality hair services and also a higher social media following doesn't mean high quality services in some circumstances."

Hairdresser trimming the ends of a client's straight hair in a salon
Guido Mieth / Getty Images

But if you find yourself having to cut out hair services altogether, "I would recommend using higher quality hair products, deep conditioning once a week, oiling the ends consistently, and refraining from heat styling as much as possible."

When asked what she thinks the price hikes say about the hair industry as a whole, Meradith responded, "We need to get back to a place where clients feel valued and heard when they are sitting in our chair, not like they are just another number coming in to be rushed out and overcharged. Without clients in our chair, we don't make money. Charge what you feel is right, absolutely. If your client retention is lacking, it's time to reevaluate your business structure."

Woman with long hair sits inside, wearing a necklace and sweater vest; a neon sign is in the background
@hairbymeradith / Via tiktok.com

As a final remark, Meradith said, "I love being a hairstylist, it has been such a great career for myself the last nine years. It does require a lot of time and energy. It's not a hobby, it is a lot of people's livelihoods, including my own. I know why I got into this industry: to make people leave feeling better than when they came in. I strive for that every day I am behind the chair. I feel as though some of the industry has lost touch with that and it's starting to show, unfortunately."

To see more of Meradith's work and look into booking her services, you can follow her on TikTok and Instagram.