When it comes to getting your hair chopped, there are two types of establishments you can visit – and they’re pretty different to one another. So, which factors should you consider while mulling over potential hairstyles?
Getting your hair cut at a barber will almost always be the cheapest option. Many barbers start at £10/$15 for a haircut, and I’ve never encountered a barber with staff who are priced up differently. Do note though, that barber shops will often advertise cheap prices in their window, but then wash your hair and apply product without asking – this will generally ramp up the cost of your cut.
Salons on the other hand have a tiered system where the more senior the stylist, the more you pay. I can get a cut & finish from a graduate at my local salon for £20/$30, but if I want the salon director it’ll cost me £60/$90.
Barbers are nearly always quicker. Women’s haircuts tend to be longer by nature, and so if you go for a salon, your stylist will likely be prepared to spend a good 30-45 minutes on you.
One benefit of a salon though is that you can book. I’ve spent many Saturday mornings waiting up to an hour for a barber shop queue to diminish. However, if you’re available in an off-peak time, a barber trip can be done and dusted within 15-20 minutes.
Generally the atmosphere depends on the establishment, but you can often expect a hairdresser to be a bit more chatty than a barber. In hairdressers I tend to have a good chin-wag, while in a barber shop it’s usually a case of cracking on with the task at hand. Getting friendly with the staff is a great idea, not only because it makes the process a lot more pleasant, but they’ll also remember your preferences and your cuts will improve over time.
From my experience, you get different qualities from each a barber and a hair stylist.
A great benefit of a barber is that they tend to understand men’s hair better. They are good at repeating the classic men’s styles, and they often make use of cutthroat razors and specialist texturizing scissors when a hairdresser may not. A downside though can be attention to detail – I’ve had a few barber trips where the staff were lazy, leaving long strands of long hair poking around my ears when I asked for a #2 on the sides. Don’t be shy about pulling them up and providing a bit of direction.
Attention to detail is often present in large quantities in a salon. Your stylist will treat your hair more as a labour of love than a “bish, bash, bosh, you’re done” job. The problem can be though a lack of experience with men’s hair. As guys, we’re typically not all amazing at describing what we want, and rely on the professional “getting it”.
If you’ve never tried a hairdressing salon, I’d certainly recommend it. It might not be right for a monthly cut given the higher cost, but every now and then it’s good to get a bit more creative input into your style.
About the Author:
This article was written by Luke from Hairstyles, the UK’s hairstyle inspiration gallery and blog.