This isn’t the sort of topic that has a ton of data to back it up, but hairdressers, male and female, don’t deny that men tend to rule the field despite making up a very small percentage of the hairdressing population. Many of the world’s top stylists are men. There are a lot of factors that probably go into that, but today I am just focusing on why some clients seem drawn to male hair stylists. Obviously, there are way more women working and so most people have a female hairstylist, but it seems like the men fill their books faster and have more enthusiastic clients.
Also, it is important to note that these reasons are NOT reasons women can’t be successful!!! I think it is interesting to analyze and study these specific interactions between clients and hairdressers and this is just one cross section. Also, stereotypes exist, they do, and they will be addressed not because male hairdressers all fit into certain categories but because sometimes clients make assumptions and their understanding of their hairdresser is based around those stereotypes, so even after the stereotypes are deflated, their shape may remain in the foundation.
Reasons why men might prefer male hairdressers
More likely to talk business. And less likely to have a ditzy, fluff conversation that makes some men feel very awkward. Also, while some men like to be flirted with by a young, pretty stylist, others would rather avoid that interaction. Although a somewhat sexist viewpoint, I believe some men would view a flirty and beautiful stylist as being less competent than a man who has a more similar mindset… and they are more likely to assume they have common ground with another man even if it isn’t true. Not to say that there aren’t flirty male hairdressers, but I think this argument holds true for a subset of male hairdressers.
A man feels like another man will understand male hair and style better. Sometimes a man just trusts another man a bit more in terms of giving them a haircut that will be respected by other men. They want to look masculine, not pretty.
Reasons why women might prefer male hairdressers
The inherent competition amongst women. For some women, the idea of spending an hour looking in the mirror at a young, stylish, beautiful stylist is nothing short of torture. Especially because no one looks their best with their hair soaking wet. Really, this is just an issue for those that are more insecure or judgmental. And the problem isn’t just if the stylist is too pretty or young. It is also an issue if they want to have a stylist with long flowing hair and they have short edgy hair or if they want their stylist to be blonde and she’s brunette. Women don’t hold men to the same style standards. They don’t expect their male stylists to look exactly how they want to look. Looks aside, even with personality you’ll see that women are more likely to dislike a woman with different attitudes and opinions than a man with different attitudes and opinions.
Trust that a man will know how to make them attractive to men.
Subtle flirtation and the desire for male attention. Who doesn’t like flirting? Well, honestly, I don’t… But most people love it. It’s just fun and harmless.
More hair talk, less girl talk. This is an interesting one. Of course, women that have girl talks with their hair dresser probably enjoy it most of the time and it is difficult to know when a client wants to gush about men or their lives, etc., and when they want you to do your job as a professional. Sometimes with female stylists their clients become their girlfriends and down the road, the client may feel like there isn’t as much of an attention to detail or like they can’t ask for a change. They get afraid of hurting their stylists feelings or they know when the stylist is having boyfriend troubles and assume their hair is being cut as well. This is a big complex issue that is both good and bad. Sometimes having a male stylist is just simpler.
In the case of gay hairdressers… who among us has not heard the stereotypes that gay men are just more fashionable? And what about the idea that every woman needs a gay best friend? To some women, a gay man is the ideal hair stylist: someone who understands their desires and pressures to look great, someone who is sensitive, someone who knows what men think is attractive, someone honest and straightforward and witty. Like having a woman stylist but without the inherent competition. Of course, these are all stereotypes, but don’t they make gay hair stylists sound absolutely perfect?
Reasons both genders might prefer male hairdressers
Men tend to be more confident, dominant and assertive. This is often the case because men need to prove themselves in the industry since it is considered less natural.
Men are seen as more passionate about hair. Otherwise why would they be doing it?
Many of the top hairdressers are men. This is shifting, somewhat, but we have yet to have a female hair stylist as incredible as Vidal Sassoon.