The Monarch Hair Studio
The Monarch Hair Studio's motto is, "Hair has no gender." Many female-identified Torontonians might be inclined to agree. Regardless of the length or nature of their hair, women have expected to pay exponentially more for quality haircuts than men for decades.
The Monarch Hair Studio in Dovercourt Village, just south of Hallam on Dovercourt, is aiming to change all that with a grassroots approach.This two-lady team of hairdressers charges by the length of your hair or the services you request. It's that simple.
In the Monarch's gender-free pricing system, short hair costs $35 to cut, whereas medium to long hair is $40 or $45. A bang trim, buzz cut, or semi-colour package will cost you only $15. The most expensive treatment listed is half highlights for $75 - $100...at many salons, that's a starting price for any treatment.
The Monarch Studio is a safe, positive, open space. Whether you struggle to find safe spaces for yourself at all, or just hate typical salons and would rather your pal buzzed it all off in your living room, you're sure to feel comfortable in this homey studio.
"We want it to be so nice, you don't want it to grow back," says Panthea, one half of the Monarch team. Her partner, Maggie, has been a curly hair specialist for ten years and is on a crusade to combat what Panthea calls "the triangle effect" that so many thick- and long-haired girls are all too familiar with. She suffered from it once herself.
She's had many different hairstyles from short to long, and says what she says about hair growing back because she knows what it's like to be constantly dissatisfied. In the Monarch's eyes, customers shouldn't have to fall back on the old "it'll grow back" adage.
That's why they guarantee absolutely all their work, and tweaks are free. They don't want customers dealing with that other familiar problem where their hair dries differently at home, and suddenly looks completely different than it did when they left the salon. They also treat you to consultations before and after your treatment.
The whole studio is bedecked with old furniture and knick-knacks from both Maggie and Panthea's families' houses, as well as some of their parents' old pictures and clothes when they were younger. A few electric guitars lay about, but not just for show: these two are also genuinely musicians.
Photos by Hector Vasquez