A new study by Ripe Hair & Beauty Insurance, which surveyed an ethnically diverse group of 2,113 UK residents on their experience with hairstylists and barbers in August 2023, revealed people with Afro textured hair pay more, travel further, and wait longer for salon appointments than other hair types, with a fifth experiencing discrimination during a hair salon service in the past.
It found that those with Type 4 Afro textured hair pay on average 43% more for the same service as someone with Type 1 straight hair. An appointment that includes cutting, styling, colour, and a treatment typically costs £156.94 for someone with straight hair and £225.13 for an individual with Afro textured hair – a difference of £68.19. Based on an average of three hair appointments a year, this equates to a difference of £204.57 annually or £12,683.34 over the course of an adult lifetime.
In addition, the research found that people with Type 4 hair must travel twice as far to get their hair done than people with Type 1 hair, highlighting clear disparity in service provision. On average, people with Afro textured hair types travel 17.4 miles compared with 8.9 miles for those with straight hair types.
Additionally, one-fifth of people with a coily hair texture reported facing discrimination when getting their hair done. Just 4% of those with straight hair said the same.
People with Afro textured hair types were also more likely to feel let down by a hair service, with 58% saying this was the case vs. 44% of people with Type 1 hair. The most cited reason for this disappointment was that the stylist or barber didn’t know how to manage the texture of their hair (32%).
Concerningly, amongst those respondents, 78% said the salon had explicitly advertised that it specialised in their hair type.
Vicky Agbozo owns Diversa in Newton-le-Willows, a hair salon specialising in Afro-European hair. After years of having to travel to a city to get her Afro textured hair styled and cut, she opened her own salon in July 2023 to cater to the needs of people in the local area.
Vicky said: “Previously, I’d be so desperate for a certain product or service that I’d get three buses to Liverpool or Manchester to get hold of them. It’s not right that people with my hair type have to travel so far. Even though you may see lots of hair shops and hairdressers in a town, they all offer the same thing. If that’s not what you need, it just feels like you’re being overlooked.
“I have Italian heritage and Diversa is Italian for difference. That’s what I’m doing with my new salon; bringing difference and diversity to a multicultural town which previously only catered for one type of hair texture. It’s really important to embrace different hair types that don’t exist within this community. And so great when people say, ‘Finally this is what I’ve been waiting for!’.”