Style & Beauty

$950 Haircuts Hit The Black Market

Welcome to the stealth world of the underground hair party, an exclusive girls' night that combines the pursuit of beauty with the irresistible appeal of an insider bargain. Often, private haircutting parties are born when a salon client approaches her stylist with the whispered promise of a festive atmosphere, a guaranteed number of guests and cash under the table in return for reduced rates.

Not surprisingly, salons frown on the practice, which is why stylists who work this way usually insist on anonymity to protect their day jobs. "People will call it black market haircutting sometimes," said the stylist who coiffed Ms. Zomorodi and her friends.

....Some stylists report an uptick in people asking for under-the-table deals. "I had someone call me last week," Ted Gibson, who charges $950 a cut, said recently. The potential customer was a guest at the Ritz-Carlton and wanted Mr. Gibson, who boasts a celebrity clientele and owns Ted Gibson Salon in Manhattan, to cut his girlfriend's hair. "He was trying to negotiate for me to come and do it for $650. I was like, �No, I charge double if I go out,' " Mr. Gibson said. "Needless to say, they did not book me."

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