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February 09, 2018

What is the difference between a “barber” and a “hairdresser”?


One of the most common questions that my clients ask me is what is the difference between a barber and a hairdresser? Firstly, a barber shop is a place that mostly attracts male customers (however, woman are also welcome) in need of a haircut and relaxation. Barber shops are run by professionals who either have a hairdressing background, or just male hair experience. Typically, a barber has the clipper and razor skills, whilst hairdressers have the scissor and styling skills. The word barber is traditionally a term for a hairdresser who specialises in male grooming. So, in reality, we are all hair stylists. But it depends on what you prefer to be called.

What does a hairdresser specialise in?

A hair salon does, however, differ in a few ways. A hairdresser is an individual who is trained in cutting, colouring and styling hair. The type of hair they deal with varies greatly, from short to very long. Nobody says a hairdresser can’t do a “barber” job, but they may not have as much experience or training in cutting men's hair or using clippers and various other short hair styling tools.

What services does a hairdresser provide, that a barber may not be able to?

Similarly, a barber will not always be able to do some things a hairdresser can. It all depends on their training. I feel like all barbers should have the ability to conduct all services that salons deliver. For example, being able to offer hair washing definitely provides that extra slice of relaxation before a cut. And even though everybody who walks through the door may not need colour in their hair, having the knowledge and equipment to be able to do this is key.

The term 'barber' is evolving.

Is a barber just a word for a man who styles men's hair? Not quite! A barber can be anyone who wants to professionally cut, colour and style men's hair. And barber is a term increasingly becoming associated with all genders. Women's barbers are cropping up globally for ladies that want affordable, quicker, high-quality trims. Some men may prefer to be called barbers, but as I’ve said before, we are all hair stylists so the point is to call yourself whatever makes you happy. At the end of the day, we all have a passion to cut and style hair.

Providing a comfortable space for clients, whether you call yourself 'barber' or 'hairdresser.'

All people are different in how they like to live there lives and spend their money. Money and time are important. Some people like to spend a bit more and take a good hour of their day out to get their hair cut by a hair stylist. Some like to spend £8 and get out in ten minutes. However, these days it’s popular for individuals to spend a reasonable amount of money and time on their hair. And it's important that the client feels comfortable when getting their hair cut, no matter where they are. Everybody should be treated the same way when entering your shop or salon, no matter what their gender, age, race or religious beliefs may be. Everybody deserves to receive the services that they are paying for.

My overall opinion on the difference between a barber and a hairdresser? It's down to the training and experience the individual has had, and is nothing more than a title. Call yourself whatever suits you and your skills. Cut hair, be happy and make others happier!

Finlay Ogilvie, Hair Stylist.

At Quarters, we may call our services a 'barbershop' but we invite anyone after a decent haircut at an affordable price to book an appointment! Unfortunately we do not have the space to offer washing or colouring services as of yet, but are always happy to help out with any cutting, trimming or styling needs. Contact us today to find out more.

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