At new SLC hair studio, there are no ‘men’s’ haircuts or ‘women’s’ haircuts

At Lucero Hair & Wellness, anyone can get the look they want, and be “seen for who they are.”

At Lucero Hair & Wellness, there are no “men’s” haircuts or “women’s” haircuts. There are just haircuts, charged by the hour.

The space, which opened earlier this month at 1095 S. State St. in Salt Lake City, also isn’t a “salon” or a “barbershop,” which are gendered terms. Instead, it’s a hair studio, where anyone can come in, ask for what they want, and walk out with the exact hairdo they envisioned, no questions asked.

Owner Joshua Lucero said that’s empowering for clients, because something as seemingly simple as getting your hair done can be “demoralizing in a lot of ways,” he said.

He’s had female friends who’ve been told by stylists for instance that they can’t have short hair, because “you don’t want it that masculine” — remarks that can prevent someone from getting the look they want, and being “seen for who they are.”

Lucero himself, who is gay, has had similar experiences. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ‘Oh, long hair’s for girls.’ I’m like, ‘Who said that? What? Where did that come from? My hair grows just like your hair grows. Why does it matter how long it grows?’”

“It’s just crazy, that concept that we have as a society,” he added.

At Lucero Hair & Wellness, stylists recognize how vulnerable of an experience it can be to have your hair done, especially for transgender people.

That’s where the “wellness” part of Lucero Hair & Wellness comes in. Lucero said he’s had clients instinctively flinch away from him and his scissors. But he calms them by saying, “My name is Joshua, my pronouns are he/him, this is a safe space. Tell me what you want, we can achieve anything with your hair.”

“The wellness is that security of feeling comfortable and safe,” Lucero said.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Nathan Katz, a stylist at Lucero Hair and Wellness sports a barber pole tattoo Friday, February 10, 2023.

In the elegant, naturally lit space, decorated with orchids and crystals, how much you pay only depends on how long a service takes, which can vary depending on a client’s hair length or texture. Prices start at $37.50 for a half-hour and go up to $112.50 for an hour and a half. Schedule your service at LuceroHairAndWellness.com.

Tips aren’t accepted. Lucero encourages stylists to charge what they’re worth so they don’t have to rely on tips. If a client really wants to tip, they’re invited to donate that money to a charity of their choice, he said.

All services include a consultation, where a stylist will ask straightforward questions such as “How much length do you want taken off?” and “With this fade, do you want to see skin?”

Sometimes, a consultation is all a client is seeking, Lucero said, noting some who are transitioning have scheduled time just for advice on how to do their new hair.

“They don’t want a haircut, but they still want to come in, feel seen and get a service that helps them feel safe,” Lucero said. “And so, if I can give them a 30-minute consultation on, ‘OK, let’s wash your hair, we’ll deep condition you, come back, we’ll clean up your neck, maybe shape it a little bit, and then we’ll blow-dry, and I show you how to style.’”

That type of service is important for someone beginning their public and emotional transition, Lucero said, especially after the recent passage of Utah SB16, which Gov. Spencer Cox signed into law Jan. 28, effectively banning most gender-affirming health care for transgender youth.

“I think that’s one of the first most powerful steps,” Lucero said. “If you can get a haircut and feel like who you are, that’s a huge change for someone. I’ve had so many people tell me, ‘You’ve saved my life.’ Being able to do that for more people, I think is extremely important.”

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Lucero Hair & Wellness aims to be a refuge and safe space for all. Stylists work in the salon the first week of operations on State Street, Friday, February 10, 2023.