How To Talk to Your Barber: Making Sure You Get the Cut You Want

Just like most things, leaving the barber shop with an amazing cut comes down to two things: your barber’s skills, and proper communication. Now if you’re in the Buffalo, N.Y. or East Aurora, N.Y. area, you’ve got it made. Just stop in to one of our amazing locations and we’ll take care of you. If not, we have a few tips and tricks for you to make sure your barber knows exactly what you want, so you can leave the shop confident and looking your best.

Do Your Research When Choosing Your Style

Before ever stepping into the shop, there are a few things you can do to make the whole process much smoother. Some quick research on-line to find examples of the cut you would like to have. Having a picture saved to your phone from a quick google search or Instagram account is a great way to easily give your barber an example of the style you’re going for. Simply show them the picture when you first sit in the chair. The visual is a sure-fire way to make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to the cut. A few quick tips to keep in mind when researching your style.

• Be wary of styles that may require more maintenance if you don’t typically have a lot of time to get ready.
Take your head shape into account when choosing your style. Certain cuts and fades work much better for certain shapes.• Be sure you will be able to recreate and commit to the look. Looking great for one day is not the goal.
• Keep you hair color in mind. Different cuts and styles will look different based on your hair color.

Show Up Early & Ready

Just like any appointment, it’s not a bad idea to show up 5 to 10 minutes early. By making sure you’re there on time and ready this will give your barber the maximum amount of time to focus on your cut. You should also arrive with your hair as close to the style you want as can be, without using any products. This can be accomplished by wet styling your hair, and allowing it to air dry. By making sure your hair is clean and product free, it allows your barber to see how your hair naturally falls, making it much easier to see which adjustments need to be made. It also saves time wasted shampooing the product out of your hair; time that could be spent on giving you an amazing cut. If it has been awhile between cuts, 6 to 8weeks or so, let your barber know when scheduling that you may need a few extra minutes. They will definitely appreciate the gesture, and will allow a few extra minutes for your appointment. It is highly recommended to get your cut done at every two to three weeks. After that time period, the base of the cut will be completely grown out. This means your barber will essentially have to start from scratch to achieve your desired look.

Be Open to Suggestions

When explaining the style and cut you’re going for, it’s important to keep in mind, your barber is, or should be, a pro. Be open to their suggestions. A great barber is not a “yes man.” They take pride in their cuts, and want to make sure you leave the shop looking amazing. They may tell you a specific cut doesn’t work well with your hair type or length. They may tell you a certain style doesn’t fit your face shape, or that your hair lacks enough volume or texture to pull off the look. Keeping an open mind is key. Many times, if your barber expects a specific cut won’t be best for you, there are multitude of options available to give you something very, very similar that will work for your hair much better.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

When it comes to the styling phase, pay attention to what your barber is doing. Remember you don’t want to look great for just one day. You want to make sure you can replicate the look on your own. Ask them to show you in detail how to style. There are techniques to be learned and they will be happy to teach you. How they work the blow dryer, how they apply the product, whether they hand style or use a comb; all things you’ll want to keep in mind to make sure you can make your hair look just as good as they did. It’s also not a bad idea to bring the products you use with you to your appointment. Ask your barber if the products you use are right for your hair type and style. If not, they can always make are commendation from in-shop products you can leave with to help you style correctly. If they are, they can style your hair with those products to show you how to maximize their potential.

Be A Regular

By far the easiest way to make sure you get an amazing cut, is just be a regular. For most of us, our hair grows about an inch every four weeks, so having a standing appointment with your barber every four to six weeks is a great way to make sure you’re always looking your best. Not only that, by keeping regularly scheduled appointments, your barber will learn your style and hair type like the back of their hand. With a great barber, after only a few cuts, you’ll be able to sit down in their chair and not need to explain anything. They will know exactly what you want and how best to achieve the look.

Barber Shop Terms You Need to Know

Remember your barber is always there to help; however, knowing some barbershop lingo will go a long way to making sure you’re both on the same page. Here’s a few barbershop terms you should know.

1. Taper – When asking taper vs. fade, your barber wants to know how you want the border of your hair to look. The taper is only noticeable in your neck line and sideburns. Also, the difference in length, from short too long, will be much more gradual.
2. Fade – Again the fade refers to the border of your hairline. With a fade, instead of having a very defined border, your barber will use your natural hair line raised up slightly. The difference in length, and this is the key part, will go from long all the way down to skin; thus, creating that stylish, faded look.
3. Neckline Shape – This refers to the area at the very back of your cut. When it comes to neckline shape, there are three main styles to choose from: taper, round, and square. Make sure to ask your barber which will look best for your cut.
4. Texture – This refers to the way your hair will look and fell. When it comes to great cuts there are 3 different types of textures.

a. Choppy – A choppy texture can be achieved by cutting the hair in different directions close to a 45-degree angle. The choppy texture works amazing for any type of “messy” style. It can also help create instant volume, and give your style a bit of added flair.

b. Layered – A layered texture is just as it sounds. It is created by cutting the hair at different layers. The layered look works the best for guys who have mid-length or longer hair. It too helps add incredible volume and body to your style.

c. Razored – A razored texture is for those of us with thick, heavy hair. If you have a problem with achieving great volume because your hair tends to lay flat from the weight, ask for a razored texture to lighten the load.
a. Hard Part – The hard part refers to the visible line that separates your hairs direction. A great barber will achieve this look by using the head of the clippers or a straight razor. A hard part not only makes styling a breeze, but also gives your cut some added style.
d. Asymmetrical – An asymmetrical cut is when both sides of your hair are different in length. This typically applies to any cut that takes advantage of a hard part, with one side of the cut being longer than the other.

Clipper Guards

Many barbers will ask you a number when referring to your length. Sadly, not all of us know exactly what they mean. How many times have you said “yes I’m a 3 on the sides” without actually knowing for sure? Exactly. Here’s the complete list of guard lengths provided by Wahl, the brand we use in shop, so the next time you talk to your barber, you’ll know exactly which one you are. Keep in mind there are other manufactures that use different sizing, so it’s not a bad idea to make sure your shop also uses the Wahl system before making your selection. If not, ask them to break down the sizes for you.

Guard #1/2 – 1/16 inch
Guard #1 – 1/8 inch (typical starting length for fades)
Guard #1 1/2 - 3/16 inch
Guard #2 – 1/4 inch (best for business appropriate fades)
Guard #3 – 3/8 inch (best for tight sides, but not down to skin)
Guard #4 – 1/2 inch
Guard #5 – 5/8 inch
Guard #6 – 3/4 inch
Guard #7 – 7/8 inch
Guard #8 – 1 inch

More Than Just Haircuts

Keep in mind your barber is qualified to do more than just haircuts. Make sure you’re leaving the shop looking amazing. Eyebrow shaping and trimming, hot towel shaves, beard edge ups, and more are typically available services for most reputable shops. So, take advantage!

These are things that are often forgot, and are typically much harder to do on your own. It only takes one shaved eyebrow to realize that. Just ask them if they can shape up your eyebrows or beard line and they’ll get you all set in a flash.

That’s our tips and tricks to make sure you always leave your shop looking amazing. Again, if you’re in the Buffalo, N.Y. or East Aurora, N.Y.area, just click here and make an appointment. We’re happy to take care of you. If not, follow this simple steps to make sure your barber pulls off an amazing cut you can be proud of.

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