It is not uncommon that a customer sits in the Barber’s chair and has no idea how to ask for the haircut they want or style they envision. It is not your job to know “barber terminology” and any good Barber should ask plenty of questions before they are comfortable moving forward with your cut. Don’t be overwhelmed or feel rushed, use these helpful tips to ensure the Barber can achieve the style you desire.
BRING A PHOTO – Check the pics on your phone, if you have an image or selfie from a time when your hair was looking fresh, bring it in! Don’t feel embarrassed, a visual reference is always best.
HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN? – When was the last time you had a haircut and did you like it? If you didn’t, tell the Barber what the issue was, maybe it was cut too short or not short enough. This is helpful in knowing how much to take off and how the finished product “should” look. If your hair is three inches long and you had your last haircut one month ago, the Barber would know that you are not in for a buzzcut (unless drastic change is your goal). The model I go by is that hair grows 1/2 inch per month on average. This is not the same for everyone so the Barber should err on the side of caution.
START WITH THE SIDES & BACK – Did your previous Barber use the scissors or clippers on the back and sides of your head? If he used the clippers, do you know what attachment/number was used? If not, ask the Barber to start with the longest to let you see the length and move down a number at a time until you reach the proper length. Maybe you prefer the sides and back cut with scissors, do you like the sides cut ABOVE the ears (no hair touching the top of the ear and and has nice clean edging around the ear)? If you would rather the sides to sit ON or OVER the ear, how far down? Should it touch the top of the ear, fall to the middle of the ear, or to the bottom of the earlobe?
YOUR NECKLINE – Many people only see the back of their head when the Barber shows it to them, and majority just nod in approval because they are unsure what they are actually looking at. Here are your options:
- Square – Straight line at the bottom with square or “sharp” corners.
- Rounded – Straight at the bottom with the corners rounded off instead of “sharp.”
- Tapered – Also known as “faded.” No visible line at the bottom and gradually tapers/fades into the hairs length.
- No Preference – Trust the Barber to finish the neckline as he/she sees fit for your hair style.
MOVE TO THE TOP – Once you have approved of the length on the sides and back, then and only then should you move on to the top of the head. Use the “1/2 inch a month method” and start with that and take the same approach as you did with the sides, trim a little at a time and check it. Eventually you will reach the desired length and BOOM you got your look.
LOG IT – Give the Barber your phone to snap pics of your dome from the side, back, and front. Not photogenic? Ask the Barber the to write the final lengths and any other helpful details on the back of one of his business cards. Bring the pics or the card to use as a reference the next time you visit the shop. It will also help to ask for the same Barber each time so you can help build consistency, don’t worry, the other Barbers are not offended if you tell them you prefer to wait for someone else.