Most people who plop down in the barber’s chair know exactly what kind of haircut they want. The difference between walking out with a haircut you’re proud to sport versus one you immediately want to throw a hat over can usually mean one of two things happened: 1. You went to a bad barber. 2. You didn’t express yourself clearly enough. While we’d all like to blame the issue on problem #1, this barber probably wouldn’t be in business very long if they couldn’t deliver on your request. In this article, we’re going to look into mastering the issue of #2 — expressing yourself clearly in order to get the haircut you want.
1. Bring In A Photo
Whether you know all of the barbershop terminology or you’re a complete novice, bringing in a photo of the haircut you’d like can be a great place to start your haircut experience. Since most everyone has a smartphone in their pockets, picking out some hairstyles beforehand to show has never been easier. It will make matters even easier for your barber to understand what you want if you bring pictures of every angle of the style you’d like. Mix-and-matching aspects of a particular style to make it your own shouldn’t be too much of an issue either.
2. Be Deliberate About What You’re Saying
Before you head into the barbershop, it may be wise to make sure the words you’re using to describe the look you want actually represent this. Terms and expressions such as “short” and “a little off the top” don’t mean a lot when an experienced barber can literally cut any hair on your head within a millimeter of what you’d like.
- Be familiar with guard lengths. If you know that a 1-guard is too short for the sides of your head, but a 3 is too long, remember that.
- Be familiar with hair lengths. “Kinda longer on top” may not give the barber a lot of information to work with. “About 4 inches on top” is a much more descriptive bit of information to have.
Being as descriptive as you can be about the dimensions of your ideal haircut, the more likely you are to leave with what you had in mind.
3. Familiarize Yourself With A Few Terms
While you certainly don’t have to know the ins-and-outs of every men’s haircut in order to properly express what hairstyle you’d like to sport out of the door, knowing the basic terminology of what you want can help ensure that you get it.
- Tapered or Fade Cut: A fade or tapered cut means that the length of the hair gradually gets shorter towards the neck and ears, leaving no lines cut in the head. While tapers or fades are generally the same styles of cut, fades are generally much shorter than tapers.
- Rounded, Block, or Tapered Neckline: Knowing the shape of the neckline cut you want can vary depending on the size of your neck or the look you’d like to achieve. Rounded and block necklines are precisely cut necklines which are handy for keeping the neck looking clean and precise. Block necklines are also handy ways to make thinner necks appear bolder. A tapered neckline, like a tapered cut, gradually fades into the skin of the neck without any hard lines.
Being as familiar with the name of your favorite styles will ensure that you receive the cut you want.
4. Don’t Forget The Minor Details
After getting the essentials of the haircut down, don’t forget to tell your barber about any other smaller details that you may not have mentioned. If you’d like you’d like your sideburns short or longer, tell them precisely where on your face they should hit. If you’d like arches around your ears trimmed out a bit more, show them to what point they should go out to. Don’t assume that the barber can read your mind. The result of not being specific could mean they may just choose for you as the haircut progresses.
5. Ask For Suggestions
Ok, you’ve made your views known. You want a taper cut that is a 1-guard at it’s shortest, hitting to about 3-guard above the ears that fades into a top of about 4-inches long. You plan on keeping your hair parted on the left side. You’d like your sideburns to hit 2 inches below your earlobe with a blocked neckline and ear arches about the width of your index finger. Now is the time to ask the barber if he can make any recommendations. While a barber will certainly give you most any haircut you tell him, it may be worth it to hear his advice. He may tell you that your choice of a blocked neckline may make your neck look overly wide as well as require regular maintenance to keep sharp and that your sideburns may look a bit off because your facial hair and the hair on your head are two different colors. Your barber has a wealth of experience and can let you know whether or not you may end up liking the haircut you’ve picked out.
6. Become A Regular To Unlock “The Usual”
Explaining what kind of haircut you want every single time, especially when you’re not so great at doing so, can feel like a chore. One great way to keep your style looking fresh as well as cutting down on the time it takes you to make your views known is with regular touch-ups with the same barber. If you like the barber’s work, get to know his name, find out what days he works, and if it would be possible to book a regular appointment with him. Over time, not only will you make a great friend, but you’ll have the unique ability to simply hop into his chair at a pre-determined time and say, “Give me the usual.” No other instruction may be needed. Whether you need help finding your new look or unlocking "the usual", we welcome you to come have a seat at Whiskers Men's Grooming