How to Find A New Barber or Stylist

Finding a new barber or stylist, especially if you’ve just moved to a new town, can be a hassle. You’re likely to end up with a few bad experiences (and maybe some bad haircuts) along the way . To help reduce the risk, I offer these tips on how to find a new barber or stylist that will, hopefully make the task a little easier.

How to Find A New Barber or Stylist

  1. Ask a Guy.  This is the single easiest way method you can use for how to find a new barber or stylist.  Just ask another guy with a haircut you like where he got it cut.  He won’t think you’re creepy and he’ll probably be flattered that you complimented him on this cut.
  2. Get a Trim. Not sure about your new haircutter? Get a light trim before you commit to a full cut. If the trim turns out badly, your whole look won’t be ruined and you can go someplace else to have it fixed.
  3. Watch out for Yelp. Just because a barber has lots of bad (or good) reviews online, take a moment to dig a little deeper.  If shop has only three stars, but most of the review are bad because their receptionist is a bitch or parking is a hassle, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get an amazing haircut.  On the flip side, if all the reviews are raving (especially if they are in a short time period), chances are the shop or barber put ’em up to it.   Also, take a look at the photos — often that will tell you if the cuts are great.  You can also search for barbers in your area on Instagram (a search of Los Angeles barbers gave me dozens of barber profiles) and check out photos of their work.  
  4. Avoid Stereotyping. Keep in mind that age, gender, race, and years of experience have nothing to do with real talent — real haircutting talent transcends most age, race, and gender barriers, so keep an open mind.  Don’t be one of those “I’d rather have a man/woman cut my hair” dumbass pricks.  Let the work, not the sex/age/race. speak for itself.
  5. Avoid the Chains. I’m probably going to get some hate mail about this, but most chain store stylists suck.  Really.  A chain shop is a great place for a barber or stylist to gain some experience when they are starting out, but if they are any good, they typically don’t stick around long. This is because a great barber or stylist can earn a much better living working for a better establishment or going out on their own. the advertising hype and stick with your locally owned shops — find an upscale barbershop or men’s salon (preferably one where you can actually walk in and meet the owner). You’ll certainly pay a bit more, but isn’t that worth it to maintain a great look?  

Do You Choose a Barber or a Stylist?How to Find A New Barber or Stylist

Once yo know how to find a new barber or stylist, which do you choose?  The main difference between the two types of haircutters is that barbers are typically trained to cut shorter, traditional haircuts for men while salon stylists are trained to cut longer and trendier styles, while both will be able to help you choose the perfect haircut.  A barber’s main focus is cutting men’s hair, while a stylist receives more training in the art of styling hair for women. With the industry trend moving toward more upscale barbershops and salons for men, the line between barbers and stylists is becoming blurred. Follow the tips below for choosing the right professional for your style.

Go to a barber if…

  • you want for a short, traditional style haircut such as a buzzcut, flattop, fade, or military style cut.
  • you are on a budget as most barbers are cheaper than stylists.
  • you want to keep it simple as barbers generally cut hair in a manner that allows it to look good naturally, without a lot of styling product.
  • you want a shave. Many upscale barbershops offer hot lather face shaves which are a real treat. Just do it.  You won’t regret it.
  • you want to be a man, damn it!  Barbershops are be a great source of comraderie between guys that are free of gossiping girlfriends and wives.  You can tell a dirty joke in a barbershop.  And don’t even THINK about bringing your girlfriend with you.  Seriously.

Go to a salon stylist if…

  • you want something longer or trendier. Stylists generally have more experience cutting and styling longer hair and stay more current on the latest trends.
  • you want color as many barbers do not do color services.
  • you want some product. Upscale barbershops and men’s salons frequently carry a greater selection of hairstyling products than barbershops.

The above guidelines are generalizations, so use your best judgement. I am a stylist by license, but have built a career doing only men’s hair. I can do a flaweless flattop or a long razor shag with the best of them and enjoy performing each type of cut equally. Many of today’s barbers are skilled in longer and trendy styles while there are many stylists who are experts in cutting traditional barber styles.

Of course, knowing how to find a new barber or stylist is key to getting a great haircut.  Happy hunting!