If the influx of blow-dry salons in the city is any indication, we are visiting our stylists a lot less these days. Fewer cuts means more money in our wallets, so it’s not surprising Torontonians are developing a penchant for long-lasting haircuts, like the ones stylist Allan Parss is famous for giving at his swank Wellington Street space. We chatted with the 20-year veteran about why a good haircut is worth spending money on now, how the recession has affected his business and why flat, straight hair is on its way out.
Your haircuts usually cost about $200. Why?
With a good cut, you don’t have to do much the next day—that’s why it’s worth it. Most of my clients get compliments the day after a cut. A good haircut shows off.
The cuts are known to be long-lasting. What’s the secret?
I cut the hair very precisely. I go section by section and work through the whole head. If it’s heavy, I take the heavy parts off. If it’s light, I try to work it so it looks nice. It’s a work-in-progress. It’s not just bada-boom, bada-bing, cut and go.
Why do you prefer to cut hair with a razor over scissors?
I cut with both, but a razor can give you very soft edges. Cutting with a razor is a technique based on tension in your fingers.
Has the recession had an impact on your business?
Some clients used to come in every four to six weeks. Now some of them have downgraded to different stylists, or if they were coming every four weeks, they come every eight.
Did you make any changes in response?
I reduced my price from $200 to $150 for women’s cuts. My men’s haircut used to be $100, and I reduced it to $75. Every stylist here gives one free blow-dry before the next haircut. We also have discount cards for clients, and right now, we have a summer special.
I have to ask, what are the big trends for fall?
Big hair is in, with lots of movement and lots of volume—a red carpet kind of look. It’s not flat and straight anymore. But what is really in is a good stylist. A look could be in, but that doesn’t mean it will look good on you. A good stylist should verify what looks best.