French President Francois Hollande spends 10,000 euros ($11,000) a month on his hair, the French government has confirmed following reports on the issue by national media.
In response to the report, published by Le Canard Enchaine newspaper on Wednesday, Hollande defended his spending on the presidential barber by recalling the spending cuts he made since taking office.
Hollande said he had cut his own salary by some 30 percent, reduced the Elysee Palace budget by nine million euros, and cut the palace's staff by 10 percent since 2012.
"You can reproach me on anything you like, but not on that," he said, visibly uncomfortable with the subject during the annual Bastille Day interview.
The interview follows the country's famed national military parade down the grand Champs-Elysees in Paris. If polls are to be believed, this could be Hollande's last Bastille Day as France's leader.
Declaring that he was not the person responsible for overseeing his cranial grooming arrangements, Hollande said "concerning the hairdresser's costs, we used to use external contractors until now, and I preferred that it was handled from here".
Critics expressed surprise that a leader whose hair is thinning could spend so much per month preening, when a posh men's haircut in Paris costs about 50 euros ($56). There was no suggestion that the money was being used for hair plugs or other surgical hair costs.
The announcement of the barber's monthly paycheck came at a time when Hollande is defending his government's divisive labour law reforms, which have triggered crippling strikes across the country for weeks. The new laws make it easier to hire and fire workers and to expand the normal work week.
French media calculated that Hollande's monthly hair maintenance is nearly four times that of an average French worker's salary.
The French government confirmed the report on Wednesday.
"Doesn't everyone have their hair done?" said spokesman Stephane Le Foll, adding that the barber is present in France and on trips abroad. "He is always there."
Other defenders included Hollande's ex-partner Valerie Trierweiler, with whom relations have been frosty since 2014, after a tabloid magazine exposed Hollande's secret affair with actress Julie Gayet.
Trierweiler took to Twitter to say that Hollande initially did not know about the high salary for his barber, and was furious when he found out.