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By: Maddie Poteat

What is the difference between a Barber and a Hair Stylist?  Does it matter?  Well, when it comes to male grooming, guys have a couple of options.  Aside from swanky shaving boutiques, “watch sports while you get your haircut” salons, and the classic men’s barbershop, the options for a men’s haircut boils down to two options: a Barber or a Hair Stylist.  While knowing the core differences between the two professions can be helpful, we argue that choosing one over the other because of their title isn’t the best way to go.

Making the Right Choice

In honor of Men’s Health Month, we’ve put together a thoughtful infographic detailing everything you need to know about Barbers and Hair Stylists – the tools they use, the skills they possess and the education they must attain.  It may surprise you to learn just how much the two professions have in common!  Make sure to read through to the end as we include our recommendation on how to choose the best option for you at the bottom.

Barbers Vs Hair Stylists

Sources:

Sherri Mahoney, Manager, Master Stylist, and Barber at Garbo’s Salon and Spa, Village Pointe

Arthur Lyle, Owner and Master Barber at Lyle Stylez & Cutz (@lylestylez_cutz)

How to Choose between a Barber and a Hair Stylist

The main difference between a barber and a hair stylist is the fact that a barber can use a straight edge razor to shave your face.  Now, the education piece is important as well.  While cosmetologists learn a variety of skills during their time at school, Barber’s do spend more time learning about the different cutting and styling techniques on men’s hair.  

With that being said, we argue that your decision between a barber and a stylist should come down to the professional and not the profession.  In our opinion, it doesn’t matter which license they hold – the quality of service, the integrity of the person, the commitment to their craft and their passion for the industry should matter much more.

Making Your Decision

The next time you are in need of a new stylist or barber here is our recommendation on how to choose between the two.

  1. Determine your desired cut/style – the type of style or cut you are after will help you narrow down the pool of potential hair cutters.
  2. Research your area’s best salons and barbershops (look at their work on their website or social media, read their online reviews, drop in for a quick consultation, or ask your friends and family for suggestions)
  3. Once you’ve chosen your preferred location, communicate with the guest services team.  More than likely they will know the ins and outs of each stylist or barber who works there – what they specialize in, what types of styles they are good at, what they enjoy doing, etc.  The guest services team will be able to place you with a person who can help you achieve the look you are going for.
  4. Over-communicate!  Every time you visit a new stylist or barber make sure you tell them exactly what your vision is.  Don’t be afraid to speak up during the appointment if the cut isn’t short enough or the look isn’t turning out as you thought it would.
  5. Bring in a photo as an example.  It never hurts to have a visual example of what you are looking for.

All in all, it is important to remember that most stylists these days are well trained and well equipped to handle any type of men’s haircut or style.  On the flip side, most barbers are equally as trained to handle women’s cuts and styles.  At Garbo’s, our stylists attend Men’s Cutting classes and Barberology courses each year in order to stay up to date on the latest techniques and trends.  When searching for a new place to get your haircut, make sure Garbo’s is on the top of your list!

A big thank you to both Sherri Mahoney and Arthur Lyle who helped fact check and provide valuable insight for this blog post.  Arthur has a new book out called “The Cutting Edge” – if you are a Barber or a Stylist and need help growing your business this book is a must read! 

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