“Hello, I’d like a haircut please.”
It’s a simple enough request but asking for a haircut actually triggers a whole range of other questions that you need to address if you’re hoping to achieve the style you have in mind. We’ve taken a look at some of these below, from understanding barbershop terminology to thinking about haircare. Let’s dive in.
Asking for a haircut starts long before you step into the barbershop. You need to work out what you want to achieve before you can ask for it. Is your focus the latest fashion or simply something that’s easy to take care of? Or you growing your hair longer and so just need a trim?
If you have a particular style in mind, it can be helpful to show a picture of it to your barber, so that he’s clear on what you’re looking for. You’ll also need to use the right terminology to discuss the cut…
Use the right language
One of the All Things Hair tips about how to ask for a haircut focuses on using the right terminology. Do you want a buzz cut, a taper or a fade? How do you want the barber to deal with your hair around the notch and nape areas? If you aren’t able to address these questions, then you’re unlikely to walk out of the barbershop looking like you hoped you would.
You’ll need to understand the different clipper grades, as well. Asking for a grade 0 (1/16 inch) when you mean grade 8 (1 inch) can give you a vastly different look than you intended!
Benefit from your barber’s expertise
Your barber deals with hair all day, every day. He will have delivered a huge range of styles over the years, so has a vast amount of knowledge and expertise from which you can benefit. It’s a good idea to use this to your advantage when asking for a haircut.
Ask for advice on what styles will suit the shape of your face and body. A high notch around your ears, for example, can make small ears appear larger, while a rounded neckline can work wonders when it comes to making a thicker neck appear thinner.
Talk to your barber about how the cut that you’re asking for will work with your facial hair as well. A great haircut that doesn’t work quite right with your beard or moustache can detract from your overall look.
Even your preferred style of clothing can come into play when you’re asking for a haircut that will fit with your sense of personal self-expression. Asking for a haircut is far more involved than it might at first seem!
Think about maintenance
Another factor to consider when you’re asking your barber for a haircut is how easy (or otherwise) it will be to maintain. If you enjoy the whole barbershop experience and are happy to go back every couple of weeks to keep your style looking just so, then you can be a bit more daring in terms of opting for a high-maintenance cut. If, on the other hand, you want to go a couple of months in between visits to the barber, you’ll need to ask him for a lower maintenance look.
Talk about products
The right products can do wonders for the condition of your hair. And if you nourish and nurture it, you’ll likely find that your hair is easier to style and maintain, which opens up the range of cuts available to you.
Ask your barber what he can do to boost the condition of your hair. He will likely have a range of products that he can use on you in the barbershop, along with others that you can purchase to take away and use at home. Go into detail about what each product does, what the key ingredients are (opt for natural ingredients wherever possible), how to use it and with what frequency. This will allow you to keep your new cut in tiptop condition.
Remember to mention any skin sensitivities you may have when asking about products for your new style as well as any aversions you have to particular scents. That way, your barber can suggest products that are well suited to your individual needs.
Think about facial hair
We mentioned above the need to think about how your new style will work with your facial hair when you ask for a haircut. It’s also worth asking your barber to work on your facial hair too. Are your beard and moustache in need of a trim? Or are you trying to grow them into a new style? This is all relevant to the haircut that you choose so should form part of your discussion when you ask for your haircut.
Are you happy with the natural colour of your hair? Younger men are leading a growing trend of experimenting with hair colour, with statistics showing that 46% of 16-24-year-old men turned to hair colour in 2019 (up from 38% in 2018).
Whether you’re considering a bold new colour or simply looking to hide a few encroaching grey hairs, talk to your barber about this when asking for your haircut. He will be able to provide plenty of tips on how to care for hair that’s been coloured, along with insights into what the colouring process will do to the condition of your hair.
General tips on how to ask for a haircut
At all times when asking for a haircut, aim to be entirely clear in what you are after. Your barber will be able to make plenty of suggestions but it’s not his place to choose which style you have. After all, you’re the one that will be living with it! So be confident in your decisions and use your barber’s advice to ensure that they are informed decisions. That way you can ask for a haircut safe in the knowledge that you’re going to achieve the look you desire.