Adelaide hair salon cuts out gender inequality


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By Melissa Keogh

A woman with a pixie hair cut walks into a hair salon and how much does she pay?

Well, chances are she’ll pay more for a wash, cut and style than her short-tressed male counterpart, and an Adelaide hair studio has had enough.

FÖN SALÖN on King William Road, Unley, says it’s the city’s first gender neutral salon, meaning hair cut prices are dependant on the time spent completing the service and the technical difficulty involved.

Its equal price list means a female with a buzz cut will pay the same as a short-haired man, while the same goes for a long-locked man who wants a typically more time consuming blow dry and style.


FÖN SALON  stylist Brady Paterson and owner Alex Totani.

Adelaide has a long history of gender equality milestones, including being home to Australia’s first and the world’s second university to allow women to study academic courses.

South Australia was also the first Australian state to allow women to vote, while it was also home to the country’s first female judge.

Despite the progressions over past decades, FÖN SALÖN owner Alex Totani believes Australia’s hairdressing industry is falling behind in gender equality.

“The hairdressing industry is segregating males and females and we aren’t moving forward,” she says.

“There’s a gap in the industry and it’s not fair.”

Alex says she was inspired to introduce the gender-neutral price list after paying nearly $100 for a hair cut at an interstate salon despite having short hair.

“Because I was a female I was still charged a female price even though I had a buzz cut,” she says.

Alex says clients have responded positively to the concept.

FÖN SALÖN is Adelaide's first hair studio to introduce a gender-neutral price list.

FÖN SALÖN is Adelaide’s first hair studio to introduce a gender-neutral price list.

“Females love it and the guys respond really well, they are happy to pay it (if they have long hair) because they are getting a good hair cut and service,” she says.

“Pixie cuts are all I’m doing right now.

“It’s so empowering that women aren’t as worried about having long hair.”

FÖN SALÖN was established two years ago and is inspired by the arts, culture and architecture of Berlin, Germany, where Alex spent time as a freelance hairdresser.

In 2015 FÖN (which means hairdryer in German) won the Design Hair Expo’s Best Salon Design Award.

FÖN also supports local artists who hang their artwork on the walls and this month Adelaide artist Charli-Anne’s custom pieces can be spotted at the salon as part of the SALA Festival.

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