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Have you ever chatted at length with your PT about tailored meal and workout plans?
Left your wagon off with a ‘valet man’ and discussed the spit shine options available?
Asked the woman working in the off-licence for advice on a beaut Red for Friday Steak Night?
Most (if not all) everyday interactions we experience have one thing in common. Communication.
A trip to the barbershop to get your hair, brows and beard sorted is no different.
In order to feel truly at ease in the chair, understand the options available to you, and leave with the look that’s perfect for you every single time, communication is key.
The sad reality is…many of us men out there find it very difficult to know what to say when there’s a barber standing behind us, shears buzzing in hand, asking what we’d like.
Based on our first-hand experiences of the barbering game, here are some things to keep in mind when choosing both the perfect barber and cut for you.
CALM YOUR HEAD
Millions of ladies worldwide love nothing more than a getting their hair, nails and makeup done. We know from experience that men can (and do) enjoy a trip to the barbershop just as much as our female counterparts enjoy a Saturday afternoon in the salon chair.
Know first and foremost that both you (and your custom) are very much welcome through the shop doors. Hang up your coat or jacket, take a seat in the waiting area, and soak up those chilled man cave surroundings. Worry none about where you parked the car, those waiting in the queue before you, which barber you’ll get, or what to say when you sit your arse on the chair.
Embrace the experience as a positive and see it as not that tedious ‘I need the hair cut again’ to-do but rather some essential, exclusive ‘you time’. Be it only half an hour away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life – enjoy it while it lasts.
Ross Henderson – The Hideout, Newtownards
If you have seen an image online and it’s the style you want hair or beard screenshot it and show us the photo. As a barber, I love a photo. Makes my job super easy. Or if you don’t have a photo tell me what you don’t like about your hair and we can work from there and eliminate what you don’t like and work towards what you want to achieve with your hair. A good barber will give a good minutes consultation to make sure we understand what you want before we start cutting.
Just get a photo of an example or reference and explain what look you want, tell us any areas of concern i.e. bad hair line, problem areas or balding and what you want to achieve. A skilled barber will create strength in weak areas show you how to manage problem areas and help achieve your desired look. Don’t say, “do whatever you want”, because you’ll get a skin head. Or a “you’re the barber” hair cut. That does my fucking head in and you’ll likely see why we’re called Bareknuckle.
Greg – Bareknuckle Barbershop, Derry / Londonderry
DON’T LET THE BARBERSHOP JARGON PUT YOU OFF
All things barbering have come a long way since Bowl Cut-esque Steps and Skintight 0.5s were all the rage. With so many styles, licks, shaves and quiffs to choose from these days, knowing what to ask for can feel like a minefield.
If you don’t know what terms like ‘Skin Fade’, ‘Textured Top’ or ‘Caesar Cut’ mean – that’s okay. You possibly learned over the years to ask for that short back and sides your better half (and mammy) love. Just because you don’t know the fancy name for a particular style you’re interested in trying out doesn’t mean you have to opt automatically for the safe bet skinhead with go-faster razor lines for improved aerodynamics.
It’s your barber’s job to know all the barbershop jargon, if a specific style is achievable on a client, and the techniques required to perfect whatever you decide to go for. You don’t have to be a stylist to know what you want. If you feel that you can’t verbalize it – then show it. With a point of reference to work from, you’ll help your barber better understand what look you want to achieve.
Know The Difference Between A Shit-Hot Barber And A Hair Butcher
As barbershops continue to pop up all over the country faster than Centra and Spar shops, finding the right barber can feel like looking for a needle in a big dirty haystack. But with little to no barbering knowledge, how do you know who to trust with your hair?
With savvy, sophisticated barbers continuing to dominate the industry and bring to market exciting hair products and services, barbershops are no longer limited to head shaves and ‘a wee bit off the top’ chops. A real barber will take the time to get to know you personally and make you feel comfortable from the get-go. They’ll know what works and what absolutely doesn’t. As they comb and assess what they’re working with, they’ll listen attentively to what you have in mind, be honest and realistic, and suggest with confidence what they think would work best for you.
Good barbers aren’t mind readers or wizards. They are however experts at making sense of client interpretations when it comes to specialist cuts and styles. They won’t look at you like you have two heads if you pronounce a fancy style wrong or ask for their advice on any areas of concern you have. In fact, they’ll welcome your thoughts and feedback throughout your time in their chair and make your happiness their number one priority – over getting people in and out the door faster than they can fill the till.
If you feel that you can’t hit it off with your barber on both a personal and professional level, worry that they’re not taking the job of perfecting your appearance seriously, or notice that they make little to no effort to listen to you and decipher what you’re looking for – then you’re very likely in the company of a hair butcher. Take off that gown and get out of there!
Barbershops are more than just a place you visit once every few weeks to get yourself tidied up. They’re a warm, welcoming place for us men (even those with hair and beards to their bums) to catch some time for themselves and mingle with other hairy, like-minded men.
Keep in mind that communicating openly with your barber is key. Don’t worry about not knowing all the big barbering buzzwords. And above all else, take the time to source a shit-hot barber over a hair butcher.
Sure, you could hit up Google for a list of highly regarded barbers in your area or a blog listing the top twenty common styles – but there’s really no need. When you pay close attention to your surroundings in the barbershop, it’s very easy to assess with confidence the worthiness of the services they provide.
We hope these words of wisdom see you well on your quest to find not just a shit-barber who knows what you want – but a friend who welcomes you through their doors every time you visit and says, “Usual today is it, lad?”
We got your back.
Thanks for reading
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