Finding the right barber.
Keeping a well-maintained look that goes well with one’s personality and finding the right barber is the very key to building a stylish personality. Grooming in some ways, is an art, and it’s crucial to get an expert opinion about one’s looks.
Hair is a game changer in this respect; it can create a “Johnny Bravo” out of you or in the worst case scenario make you look like a troll. And hair style is more than just a word. It is alive and constantly evolves to fit into contemporary ideas. Our hairstyle define us and give us an individual identity.
So it’s imperative that you find a good barber near you, who understands your needs.
Traditionally, the barber’s shop was the favourite place in town, where the men folk gathered every week to hang out with friends and spend some time on their looks. Modern fast paced lifestyle, unisex salons, and giant salon chains have destroyed this aura of traditional barber shops. Even a few generations back, barbers used to pride themselves in having different razors, unique techniques, and steady hands. The clients decided a barber’s status, and word of mouth was the best form of marketing. Barbers were one of the most well-known faces in town, and he usually enjoyed a good personal rapport with his customers. But today, with a continuous stream of marketing by salon chains and some less than well-trained personnel have managed to deplete these cultures.
Still, in some places you can find barbers who take their job seriously and maintain a loyal clientele. They treat their job as art, and they offer the real deal. There is a big difference in what you get at a regular salon and what a barber shop offers. The difference is like getting a basic job done and creating a work of art. Treat your hair like an asset and let only “artists” touch your hair. You would be amazed at the difference. The difference is hard to explain. The only way you can find out is by once trying out an authentic barber, how to pick a barber who knows his trade well.
Swanky shops with modern equipment won’t make any difference if the man holding the scissors is not experienced enough. Machines don’t matter much, men do. A monkey with the most sophisticated tools can’t give you a proper shave, but a man experienced with a simple pair of scissors can do wonders, so how to tell if a barber is good is essential.
So, exactly what makes a good barber, or who is a master barber and what separates him from a regular one? Read on to know the tips and tricks of finding the right one for you.
First, you need to know your needs well. Your needs will dictate your choice. It is as simple as that. If you want traditional style haircuts like flattop, French crop, military style cut, tapers or fade, then a barbershop is the best choice for you. Also, if you want to treat yourself to exclusive services like a hot towel shave or a clipper hair patterns, you should also head to a barber. For other needs like colouring your hair, you can choose to go to a salon.
Finding the right barber shop.
There are many ways to begin with, the old school way or the modern way. The traditional way is to ask around and follow the word of mouth. Take note of whom you are asking It would typically lead one to the best shops in town. The other option can be to take your search online.
Just open a search engine like Google or Yahoo and type in your needs. A simple example would be, typing in “barber shops near me” or “find a barber near me”. Google is smart enough to pick up your location automatically, but if you are in some unique place, like say Hythe in Kent, be more specific and include your location. For example, if you want to find barbers in Hythe, type in “barber shop in Hythe” or “barber in Hythe” for example.
It will take you to various homepages and review sites like yelp.co.uk or Thomson local. These can provide you with a comprehensive list of barbers in your local area. Don’t take all the positive reviews for granted, as some of them could be paid marketing. Also, don’t just blankly just go by the name. As Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Similarly, a bad barber by any other fancy name would act the same.
Speaking of names, if you see any words like specialty salons, themed salons, exotic spa, pedicure clinic, Thai massage centre, fruit facials, avoid them like the plague. They are for foreign holidays and not fitting for bi-weekly male grooming sessions. They will do irreplaceable damage not only to your hair but also to your personality as well. If you want any visible impact on your looks, you need to go to someone who limits his services to a select few treatments. Prefer shops that sell niche services like beard trim and beard shaping, scissor cutting and texturizing clipper hair designs; straight razor shaves and the now famous hot towel shave; etc. These services demand an expert hand and chances are the man doing so is your styling wingman.
You may have to do a little background research into the shops, read about the kind of services they offer, and what kind of testimonials they have. If you can take your search to Instagram or Imgur, you may find some interesting photographs of actual cuts. It’s quite easy; you just need to type in the above keywords along with the word Instagram.
It’s a good idea, to then pick out a few of the best barber shops in your town, and then make individual appointments with each one of them. Not all will require an appointment, though, and you can easily check them out by visiting them. Now comes the tricky part, selecting your barbershops from a selected set, narrowing that down and how to find a barbershop that is right for you
About the shop.
The barber shop speaks a lot about its master. Look at the décor as it will give you an idea of the barber’s tastes. A soothing interior always catches the eye. There are some old school village barbershops, which are nothing short of an art museum. Getting your bread trimmed in one these unique shops is some out-of-the-world experience. You don’t always have to have your hair trimmed, though. Some of these shops provide royal services like hot towel shave with the added luxury of a steamer, which is a treat in itself.
Check out the cleanliness. A poor place with a less than busy barber is not a good choice. A good barber will keep his shop clean and well-maintained. Even sometimes add a couple of good books and magazines in a corner.
Sometimes, barbers will proudly present their various qualifications, awards and memberships of an institution such as the British Barbers Association in their shops, and it’s worth giving them a glance. It shows genuineness and honesty.
Next, check out the clientele and see what kind of people use the shop, or how well they look. If you see some unique hairstyles along with loyal and happy clients, it’s worth giving the barber shop a try. If someone is getting a cut, notice how they use the tools of their trade. You can form an excellent idea by seeing the barber in his action.
Lastly, take a look at what kind of equipment the barber uses. Scissors are like God sent gifts for a barber and totally unavoidable for upper hair, but also notice the kind of razors and trimmers they use. Look at the kind of creams and gels the shop has if its cheap supermarket discount products skip to the next shop.
Finding the right barber.
There is one short thing you need to keep in mind before talking to the barber. A good barber is as necessary as a good family lawyer or a family doctor. They are notorious for becoming life-long friends. Try not to go in during a rush-hour, as the barber may not be able to give you the right amount of time.
The first thing you notice is always appearance. Observe the barber’s appearance as it can foretell you a lot about his style and personality. Demand some style from your barber as he is selling the art of appearance. No one definition fits all, but some things to look out for are his clothes and his grooming, body language, or his professional etiquette. Try to know about his tastes and style. Talk more about his life and background. Don’t shower him with a haze of questions, rather, just gently talk your way into him.
And then, let him know yours. Give him a broad idea of your needs, wants and preferences. Tell him what your profession is. Profession and hairstyle have a long association in history. Think of the earlier English Judicial Attire and their exotic white wigs. Give him anything and everything that defines you and then ask him for suggestions. Based on them, you can decide whether you like his style and thinking or not and the advice the barber gives you.
Don’t be shy with your suggestions. If you sense impatience in the guy, leave immediately. Patience in finding the right barber is part of the service a good barber sells. He will try to know your wants and preferences with keen interest. He will respond with valuable ideas and suggestions and even explain the what’s and the whys. The interest he shows in your hair is a good sign that he knows his trade well. You can easily spot a newbie from a pro, just by their talk. Don’t hesitate to ask for some photos of his actual work. A quality barber will want and be proud and have many pictures of his work. Also, there is every chance there will be a vibrant Facebook or Twitter page
Also, look for confidence, as it is a universal trait of someone who knows his trade well. You don’t want a shaky hand to treat you like his guinea pig. You need someone with some previous work experience. So feel free to ask him about his previous work. Experience chisels a man to perfection and that’s exactly what you should be looking for in a barber.
You can ask for a barber’s experience and qualifications. This could be a traditional trade, but it has a modern avatar. There are programs available where barbers can learn about new styles and equipment. As mentioned earlier, barbering is an art which is very alive, and it is the barber’s duty to keep himself updated. Even qualified barbers attend regular seminars and events to be aware of the subtle changes in the world of fashion. Evolution is the real key, seldom missed out by expert barbers.
These expert barbers, who pass through rigorous training courses, are also known master barbers, and they rarely disappoint. There are numerous institution and courses for the study of cosmetics. Master barbers have to go through hours of training and then actual work on the field to get their certificates. It is a continuous process of learning, and they study the whole industry from time to time and try to make an idea of the fashion world. Most master barbers also attend regular seminars and conferences on barbering, to refresh their thinking style. They also have access to all the latest tools in the industry. They can easily work on all kinds of hair texture and satisfy the most demanding client.
It’s also worthwhile to remember when picking the right barber, that if there is anything more valuable than qualifications, it is again the experience one gains. That’s priceless. Try to look for a mixture of both but value experience above all.
To sum up, you don’t have to scrutinize his every detail, just get an idea of the kind of person he is and the vibe his barber shop sends out. If it matches yours, you can get ready to taste some action.
Our conclusion to choosing the right barber.
So, is it really worth all this? To find out, you would first need to have a bad haircut experience. A bad haircut is like an arrow half way to its target; the damage is bound to be done. Once cut, your life suddenly becomes a walk of shame, an endless wait till your next visit to your barber.
With a perfect barber to do your hair, the world naturally becomes a happier place to live. Barbers are excellent in memorizing the tastes and preferences of regular customers. You always know, that whenever you need a good trim, you can always go in, relax in the barbers chair and say “the usual”. These are the simple joys only the barber shop men will understand.