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Last updated: September 12, 2019

What Would You Do: How Slow Is Too Slow For A Haircut?

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Should A Slow Stylist Have To Speed Up?

“Time is money” is SO true in the hair industry, but at the same time, artistic creativity can’t be rushed, right? That’s the question up for debate today—is 45 minutes too slow for a haircut? And if it is, how can you speed up? This question sparked a lot of debate. Hear what members of the BTC Fam had to say!


“I know these days on IG you hear about hair appointments that last hours…but I still believe the more clients you get in (done well of course), the more successful you will be. And let’s face it…with all the ‘feel-good stuff’ set aside, I believe most stylists love what they do…but it HAS TO PAY THE BILLS! I have a stylist who works in my salon who does phenomenal work and is quite popular, but takes a long time. Some women’s cuts can take over 45 minutes for a simple layered cut, and that’s without a shampoo or style. How should I address this with him without asking him to compromise his work?”



It’s Not An Issue

“Ultimately how many more clients is he really going to be able to fit in? One or two? Really not enough to make a huge difference, and honestly at what cost? His happiness at work because he now has anxiety to finish fast. His work will suffer 100 percent.” – @timm.morrison


“If I was him and you approached me about taking too ‘long,’ I would leave your shop and take my happy clients with me. A price raise should do the trick and an increase ‘bonus’ for him for as an incentive.” – @level9hairwizard


“I think it’s important in our business to keep our eyes to ourselves. Work on what is important to us and grant others the freedom to create as they see fit. Aren’t we all just trying to do our best?” – @ginagreenberg



Speed Isn’t A Good Thing

“Fast food hair or fine dining hair. It’s your career it’s your choice. I tell my clients all the time I’m not a fast food hairdresser. Sorry. Make reservations. Book in advance. Enjoy the process and proper service required to maximum your salon experience and integrity of your hair.” – @dangdanghair


“I truly believe there is a reason a quality haircut and experience based on education (which isn’t cheap) cost more. Take your time and charge more. Clients will pay more for better quality and appreciate that you take your time. They don’t want to be just another head of hair in your chair. This industry isn’t just about money, it’s about making people feel good about themselves. Human touch is something special and we can offer our guests so much more than just a long layered haircut. Trust me, they will pay for what they feel is worth it. But you have to make it worth it. It doesn’t come down to number of clients, it comes down to how much you make at the end of the day. Eight clients at one hour or 16 at 30 minutes? What difference does it make if you make the same at the end of the day? I’d rather charge more for an hour and take my time than rush through two clients in an hour for the same amount.” –


“If your client feels rushed, or uncomfortable, or unhappy with the service they are receiving, they will not come back, and you also may lose other clients. Women talk to each other. I say, spend the time on the clients and upcharge if necessary. The more time and effort you put into that ‘simple layered haircut,’ the more money you will make in the long run because that woman is going to walk out of the salon feeling fabulous, and she’s going to tell all of her friends about you. There’s your money, and there’s your stylist building themselves a wonderful clientele. I will never rush any of my clients because their happiness is your business.” – @hairbytaylorbarbarise


“Quality is better than quantity. I am priced by the hour, so no matter a cut or color, I make my money whether I have 10 clients in a day or one client that takes all day. It always takes me at least an hour for one haircut.” –



Speed Is Crucial!

“I average 30 minutes for short hair, 45 minutes for longer/thicker. I have a lot of demand (50+ regular clients per week and wouldn’t fit them in if I was slower!). However, I am very careful to always offer a change/make suggestions and am lucky that I remember personal details about them so even in a short time they still feel ‘special.’ I manage a salon with ‘slower’ stylists and although that’s fine—some clients like a long visit to the salon—you CAN risk people not coming as often because with busy lives, a half-day in the salon is hard to justify! I’ve found that small things make a big difference to time: a good consultation so you are clear on what you’re doing to avoid having to stop and check.” – @emmasilkhair


“I specialize in cutting, so I book 15 minute men’s and 30 minute women’s. I use an assistant to blow-dry when needed. I do an average of 100 clients a week and my clients love how fast they get in and out to get on with their days! But everyone is different in how they work. I have A.D.D so it’s works for me. Just do what’s comfortable for you then keep trying to add people in between or smaller slots and keep counting that money.” – @hairbythelion


“Time is money. Time is also very valuable to clients. I book every 30 minutes with great customer service along with quality. $80+ per haircuts. Density and length of hair play a big factor in time for styling only. Do workshops to help polish techniques. Add value to his work, then both client and stylist will feel rewarded.”  – @maribel_617


“I wash, cut (including layering lol) AND blow-dry all in under an hour AND they get an awesome and intimate experience with me. You’re right—time is money, both as an employer and a stylist. You have to be able to work quickly and competently or you can be replaced. It’s unfortunate for the slower stylists, but it’s the truth.” – @whitewitch71



It Happened To Me

“As a new stylist who was just fired for being too slow, this is my perspective. Speed is important. Help him to be faster by observing him cut two or three layered cuts. Then do a layered cut with him on a model and show him where he is losing time. All I needed was a little more guidance. You cannot underestimate the importance of sectioning basics. Experienced stylists manage hair sections so effortlessly that they don’t even know how to teach it and so get mad when beginner cannot control the hair. If we knew how, we would do it! Make him practice sectioning until it comes naturally. If he wants help, help him. If he is unteachable, fire him. But don’t blame bad teaching on the student. We know YOU can do it. But can you transfer your knowledge to the student? THAT is the measure of good training.” – @myjosephwork


Advice For Slower Stylists

“I would let him cut your hair, that way you can experience what his guests are experiencing first hand and decide if it’s worth the extra time he is spending.” – @alishaeisert


“There’s a delicate balance between the stylist and the salon. Maybe monthly digests with the salon owner and individual stylist can help bridge gaps and provide understand in the strength and weakness within the salon and learning to independently identifying that.” – @shearfade


“My sister told me, ‘The faster-paced clients will go to the faster-paced stylists, and the slower-paced clients will go to the slower-paced stylists. There’s a stylist for every personality. When the right client finds their right stylist, everybody’s happy.’ My sister is faster, I’m slower and we’re both busy and happy!” – @shelley_meadows


“I agree you shouldn’t rush perfection, but you need to charge for that extra time. Also, my guests these days are more time-conscious than money-conscious, so I would make sure the guest knew how long their service would take.” – @ktp187



Need more advice? Find out what to do when another stylist steals your work!