Talk to Your Barber

Getting a haircut is a regular event for most people. Sometimes, however, it may seem uncomfortable for you to talk to your barber. Talking to your barber, though, shouldn’t be awkward. You should be able to comfortably explain what sort of haircut you want to your barber. In addition, you may be able to calm your nerves by engaging in some casual conversation. In the end, by articulating what sort of haircut you want and making light conversation, you’ll have a better experience and you might even get a better haircut.


Making Conversation

  1. Ask them what TV shows or movies they like. By asking them what they like, you’ll give them the opportunity to talk and volunteer information. Because of this, you’ll be off the hook for talking and may be able to just follow their lead.
    • Make the inquiry sound casual. Say something like, “What sort of stuff do you like on TV?”[1]
  2. Talk about your community. The one thing you and your barber have in common is the community you live in. Use this as common ground to initiate a broader conversation.
    • Ask them how long they’ve lived there.
    • Inquire about whether they’ve visited local festivals, fairs, or other events. This is particularly relevant if a fair or festival is going on at that given moment.
    • If you’re new to the community, ask them for recommendations about restaurants, bars, and more. This will give them an opportunity to talk about the things they like to do.[1]
  3. Inquire about their work experience. Start off by asking your barber how long they’ve been cutting hair. This is a good ice breaker and might lead to other conversation subjects. In the end, you’ll learn more about your barber both as a professional and as a person.
    • Ask the barber how long they’ve worked at that location.
    • Find out how long they’ve been cutting hair. Say something like “So, how long have you been a barber?”[1]
  4. Avoid talking about race, religion, or politics. Race, religion, and politics are taboo topics that you shouldn't talk about with people you don't know. It is possible that you could inadvertently insult someone when talking about these subjects. As a result, don't mention them.
    • If the your barber begins to talk about something that makes you uncomfortable, try to change the subject. If they continue to talk about it, say "Let's talk about something else."[2]
  5. Know that it is alright not to talk. Most barbers know that their job is to cut hair, not make small talk. As a result many of them will be able to sense if you don't want to chat. If this is the case, don't feel bad. Just make sure to be polite.

Communicating About the Style of Your Haircut

  1. Explain how you will wear your hair every day. The way you plan to style your hair daily is extremely important information for your barber. Ultimately, they’ll need to know what you want to do so they can make it possible. Let them know if you plan to:
    • Slick your hair back
    • Part it down the middle
    • Style it with hair gel in sort of a messy look.[3]
  2. Inform them of the name of the haircut you want, if you know it. If you want something more than a simple cut, you should let the barber know the name of the cut. This might require you doing a little homework about the hair style you want or talking to other stylists or barbers.[3]
  3. Bring a picture. By bringing a picture of either you or someone else with the haircut you want, you’ll give your barber a clear idea of what you want them to do with your hair. Without a picture, they’ll have an incomplete account of what you want.
    • Flip through magazines like People, GQ, Men’s Health, or similar titles to find a picture of someone with the haircut you want.
  4. Ask for advice. If you’re not exactly sure of what you want, you should probably ask your barber for their opinion. Ultimately, as a professional who cuts people’s hair all day, they’ll have a really good idea of what will look good on you and what won’t. All you need to do is ask.[4]
  5. Point out things you want changed. After the barber cuts your hair, you may need to ask them to make a few adjustments. This is normal, and you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask. Simply state, in a polite way, that you’d like them to fix something.
    • If your hair is too long, ask them to shorten it a little bit. Say, “It seems a little long, can we shorten it a touch?”
    • If it didn’t turn out the way you thought it would, say something like “I don’t think it looks exactly the way I imagined. Is there something we can do to tweak it a little?”[3]

Explaining How You Want Your Hair Cut

  1. Describe the length you want for the sides of your hair. Be specific about how long you want your side hair to be. If you want short or long side hair, be clear about it. Ultimately, being direct is the best way to communicate your vision.[3]
  2. Let them know the length you want for the top of your hair. After your side hair, you need to let them know how long you want your hair on top. This is important, as the length of your top hair will largely dictate how you can style it daily. Without this information, your barber won’t be able to do much.[3]
  3. Describe what sort of sideburns you want. While you may take it for granted, you should explain to your barber exactly how you envision your sideburns. This is especially true if you’ve never been to the barber before.
    • Tell them if you want long or short sideburns.
    • Let them know if you want thick or skinny sideburns.[4]
  4. Let them know what kind of neckline you want. Although you may not realize it, there are several major neckline options available. As a result, it is important to specify to your barber what sort of neckline cut you want. The most popular options are:
    • The blocked neckline. This is where your neckline will have a block or rectangular-like appearance.
    • The rounded neckline. This is sort of like the blocked neckline, but the corners are rounded.
    • The tapered neckline. This follows your neckline, but has your hair getting shorter as it reaches the bottom. This is possibly the easiest neckline to maintain.[4]
  5. Decide how you want your hair actually cut. While the idea of getting a haircut may seem simple, the way a barber cuts your actual hair may vary. As a result, you need to decide between several distinct ways of cutting your hair. They include:
    • Thinning your hair out. If you have very thick hair, you might want to ask your barber to use thinning shears to cut some of your hair’s volume.
    • Cutting your hair with a razor blade. Cutting your hair with a razor will create a more natural look. Your hair may lay flatter, too.
    • Using a choppy approach. If your barber does this, they’ll cut your hair at many different lengths and at a 45-degree angle. This will create a more dynamic appearance than if your hair was cut equally.
    • Layering your hair. If you opt for this, your barber will create different layers in your hair. This may create the appearance that you have more hair volume than you really do.[4]
  6. Be specific and include detail. The best way to get the haircut you want is to be as specific as possible when you describe it to your barber. This way, they’ll have a clear idea of exactly what you want. Without specifics, they’ll have to use their imagination, and there is a good chance that their vision won’t line up with yours.
    • Let them know how much hair in inches (or centimeters) you want to keep or have cut off.[4]

Sources and Citations