A mother was left “angry, upset and humiliated” when a barber refused to cut her a men’s haircut at a unisex salon.
Natalie Collins, 39, was told to wait for a hairdresser after she asked for a “short back and sides” style.
The mother-of-three claimed a barber blankly said “I don’t do women’s hair” before she left Broadway Barbers, Pitsea, Essex, when a women’s stylist did not arrive.
She said: “I would understand if I had long hair and wanted a women’s haircut as I know they are trained differently but I wanted a men’s haircut.
“I went there a couple of months ago with my sons and as I’ve actually got a similar haircut, and had it cut by a barber.
“I thought that was great and was pleased with the cut so didn’t think it would be a problem.
“So when the women’s hairstylist said they didn’t have any room for me I asked if I could have it done by a barber and he just said: ‘I don’t cut women’s hair.’
“I asked what’s different about cutting my hair to a man’s hair as I wanted a men’s style and he just said again: ‘I don’t cut women’s hair.’
“I was told I could wait for another hairdresser to arrive so waited about 25 minutes and she never arrived so I ended up just sitting there.
“I felt really angry, upset and humiliated to be honest and eventually left.”
Barber Amir Glassi of Broadway Barbers denied any wrongdoing.
He said no hairdresser was available to give Ms Collins a haircut in the women’s section of the salon.
Mr Glassi said: “She came in asking for a haircut so I told her I don’t do women’s hair and that the other hairdresser isn’t here yet so she said she would wait.
“The woman who did it before wasn’t here.
“Her hair wasn’t that short – if she wanted an all over cut it might be different but she wanted it long on top and short on the sides.
“Can you imagine if I cut it and she didn’t like it?
“I don’t cut women’s hair – we didn’t do anything wrong.
“The other hairdresser was on her way.”
But other hairdressers have backed Ms Collins saying “we would never turn anyone down because they are a woman”.
Emma Casson, 30, owner of Blackheart Barbership in Basildon, Essex, said: “We cut girls’ hair as long as it’s a short cut, but I’m not surprised as there’s a lot of people in the industry who would say the same.
“But we would never turn anyone down because they are a woman.”
Ashlee McCarthy, 29, of Hair To Stay, said: “At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman if they want a man’s haircut.
“We wouldn’t refuse to do it. It doesn’t really make any difference.”