What makes a great barber?

When it comes to hair, most guys are pretty undemanding. If they’re happy with the way their barber cuts their hair, they’ll happily keep going back to that barber (and that style) time after time, without really wanting to step outside their comfort zone too much. Now that’s not a criticism, but it does mean that sometimes both the customer and the barber can get a little bit too comfortable with the relationship. So, how do you know if your barber is still cutting it for you? Here are a few things to consider…

The greeting

How approachable is your barber? When they greet you, do they seem genuinely pleased to see you and happy to be working on your cut? As customers, most guys tend not to be too chatty when they get in the chair but there should still be a level of human interaction. If your barber isn’t completely ‘in the moment’ and giving you their full attention, they’re probably not the right barber for you.

The chat

When you sit in the chair, do you automatically fall into ‘I’ll have what I had last time’ mode, figuring that you’re so memorable the barber will be able to flip back through his mental filing cabinet and give you an exact duplicate of the haircut you had last time? Or does the barber engage you in conversation, asking you questions about exactly how you’d like your hair cut and how much work you want to put into maintaining your style? A great barber won’t only listen to what you want, they’ll care enough about your haircut to give you their best advice. But if you’ve both fallen into the ‘I’ll have what I had last time’ groove, maybe that’s your cue to give a new barber a try.

The cut

A great barber cares about the haircut they’re giving you, and has consummate attention to detail. Your haircut should be perfectly blended, the sideburns should be balanced and all the outlines and finishing should be precise. They should also give you advice about how to achieve the ‘salon look’ at home, and not just launch into a sales pitch to try and sell you the latest expensive product (and, while we’re on the subject of product, a great barber will not only know the product that’s best for your hair, they’ll also take time to show you how to apply it.) A great barber wants you to look in the mirror and feel good every day, not just in the five minutes between leaving the chair and stepping out onto the high street. If that’s not the vibe you’re getting from your current barber, it’s time to move on.

The salon

This is really important. How comfortable do you feel when you walk through the door? Is the salon or barbershop warm and welcoming? Guys are generally uncomfortable with too much fuss, but if the salon is cluttered, disorganised or dirty that’s a definite no-no. A great barber is defined by their working environment – their haircutting station will be clean and well laid-out, the floor will be swept, and it will be obvious that your health and safety is uppermost in their mind. That includes their personal hygiene too.  If the salon gives you the impression that it cuts corners and can’t be bothered, your barber won’t be bothered either. Do yourself a favour and look elsewhere.

If your hairdresser is doing all of the above, and offering you the same level of style, service, care and commitment every time you visit – congratulations! You’ve officially got yourself a great barber. If not, it’s time to flip the script and find yourself the barber you deserve. There are plenty of them out there!

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