Male Grooming

The Main Differences Between a Barber and a Men’s Hairdresser

by lydiah / last updated March 17, 2020

differences between barbers and men’s hairdressers

There have been many misconceptions about the differences between barbers and men’s hairdressers in the industry, while both trades are similar, HJ has gathered some main identifiers to look out for.

Tools and services

Both barbers and male hairdressers are trained to cut hair, yet the tools of their trade are slightly different. Barbers tend to favour clippers and razors, while men’s hairdressers primarily use scissors, as they style longer hair and also offer salon services like hair colouring and specific hair care treatments.

Tom Baxter, owner of Tom Baxter Hair and OSMO brand ambassador says, “With a barber the client will usually receive a haircut like a skin fade and will be in and out of the chair within 10 minutes. Yet, a men’s hairstylist will spending more time with the client and ensure the haircut is completely bespoke to them.”

Environment

The interior of a barbershop traditionally has a more masculine vibe and a ‘laid-back’ environment. However, in contrast, a salon interior is generally more spacious to make room for backwash and styling hairs.

Ian Tucker, American Crew national education manager says, “There’s a new trend of barbershops that have created a one-stop shop environment, where men can order a tea or coffee from a barista, shop for clothes and get their hair cut all under one roof. Most barbershops take walk-ins, but by creating this one-stop shop makes the service more enjoyable, as it can be a long wait.

Jonathan Andrew, Fudge Professional brand ambassador says, “Some men feel more comfortable in a barbershop, which is generally more suited for men, whereas salons tend to be unisex. However, with current social media, there is an influx of men’s grooming and hair trends which is blurring the lines between the two trades, making the differences less and less.”

Education

Dexter Johnson, Toni & Guy artistic director and head of men’s education says, “Typically, men’s hairstylists are primarily taught to work with a scissor and a comb, working on longer classic shapes. They are naturally more comfortable working with scissors-over-comb, rather than clippers and utilise a variety of layering techniques. Barbers are taught to apply a clipper-over-comb technique, working with fades and tapers to achieve their clients desired style.”

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He continues, “There is no right or wrong way when it comes to attending male clients and there are pros and cons to both applications. To be successful and achieve a variety of looks for you clientele, you have to be proficient in both skill sets, making you a men’s grooming expert and not just a hairdresser or barber.”

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