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Beware the Textured Hair Tax

September 15, 2023

Did you know that people with Afro hair are forced to pay more, travel further and wait longer for salon appointments than people with other hair types?

That’s according to a new study by Ripe Hair & Beauty Insurance, which surveyed an ethnically diverse group of 2,113 UK residents on their experiences with hair stylists and barbers.  The report comes ahead of World Afro Day on 15th September, which seeks to shine a light on inequalities faced by those with natural Afro textured hair.

Beware the Texture Tax 3

It found that those with Type 4 (Afro) hair pay on average 43% more for the same service as someone with Type 1 (Straight) hair.

What’s more, 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 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 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 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.

Campaigns such as World Afro Day have sought to shine a light on the issue of hair discrimination, and the National Occupational Standards for hairdressing (NOS) was updated in 2021, requiring all hairdressers across the UK to learn how to style Afro and natural textured hair types.

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