Is It Even Possible to Spend $70,000 on Hairstyling?

Sam Reed
·3 mins read

My idea of a well-priced haircut is $30. For the past five years, I’ve patronized the Aveda Student Salon for my twice annual trim, spending no more than $60 per year on my hair. In my professional opinion as a woman, that price is a steal (even if it sometimes takes four hours for a simple cut).

So when I read over the weekend that Donald Trump had written off $70,000 for hairstyling on his tax returns, I was aghast. The New York Times’ bombshell report on the president's tax returns contained a multitude of infuriating figures (imagine paying only $750 taxes), but it was $70,000 spent on hairstyling during Trump’s time on The Apprentice that stuck with me. That figure is ungodly — even for a narcissist.

I did some light math in my head: Donald Trump appeared in 186 episodes of the show between 2004-2015 (the series ended in 2017), which is not an insignificant amount of time. If he filmed 14 seasons within those 11 years, then we can generously assume that at least twice per year, he had his hair colored and professionally styled.

“On average, to color, cut, and style his hair in-salon would cost roughly about $150- $200,” Michelle Cleveland, a stylist and colorist and owner of Hair Addict Salon, tells InStyle. “This would include color formulations, haircut, and style.”

Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

In addition to salon treatments, of course, there would be the fees associated with an on-set stylist, which, Cleveland says, can vary show to show. “Some on-set jobs are union only, therefore, your rates are set in stone,” she adds. “On the other hand, if Trump had a personal stylist who he insisted on, the fees would therefore just get worked into the show’s budget.”

We could therefore assume that two salon appointments per year over 11 years would run about $4,400.

Given Trump has never shared his 10-step hair care routine on TikTok, we can’t be 100% certain that he’s ever had any kind of hair transplant procedure. But we can ask experts to speculate to the best of their abilities.

“One of the assumptions that we have to make is that he probably had some kind of surgery,” says Gary Linkov, M.D., a plastic surgeon and hair transplant specialist at City Facial Plastics in New York City. “His procedures, people say, were done in the ‘80s,” he continues, adding that he likely had a scalp reduction or scalp flap, two procedures that are not too common these days, as they both cause more scarring, and have a higher risk for infection and blood loss.

“When [Trump’s] hair blows in a certain way, you can see [linear] scars,” he adds as evidence.

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Of course, if it is believed that Donald and his diagonal hairline first became acquainted in the ‘80s, then that procedure is far outside the timeline of the $70,000 he wrote off during his time on The Apprentice. Dr. Linkov notes, however, that especially in men that get hair transplants at an early age, touch ups are often required as the hair continues to thin out, and that it is possible that Trump has required some maintenance, which would likely be done through FUE, or follicular unit extraction.

While Dr. Linkov says his pricing ranges from $4,000 to $15,000 per treatment, including FUE, “some people charge $25,000, no matter how big the procedure.” And for some, maintenance may be required about every five years. In other words, if Trump was seeing some of the most expensive hair transplant doctors in the world, it’s not unheard of that over the course of 11 years he could easily hit the $70,000 mark.

“It can definitely add up quickly with the surgeries, all of his products and haircuts, things like that.”

And if Trump doesn’t have a hair transplant? Well, we’ll leave that one to the IRS.