What Do I Tell a Barber?

Have you ever walked into a barbershop, sat in the chair, and suddenly found yourself unsure of what to say? It’s a common dilemma that many of us face when it comes to getting a haircut. You want to communicate your preferences clearly, but sometimes the words just don’t seem to come out right.

Well, you’re not alone. I’ve been there too, feeling the pressure to articulate exactly what I want while hoping that my hairstylist understands my vision. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you’re trying out a new salon or stylist.

But fear not! In this article, I will share with you some invaluable tips and advice on how to effectively communicate with your barber. Whether you’re looking for a simple trim or a complete style transformation, these guidelines will help you navigate the conversation with ease.

So, if you’ve ever wondered, “What do I tell a barber?”, read on. You’ll discover the secrets to achieving the haircut of your dreams and build the confidence to express your hairstyling desires with clarity.

Key Takeaways:

  • Prepare for your barber appointment by defining your desired hairstyle and understanding your hair type.
  • Learn key barbering terms to effectively communicate your preferences.
  • Develop a clear and concise description of your desired style.
  • Provide specific instructions for different aspects of your haircut, such as length and texture.
  • Use visual references to show your barber exactly what you want.

Preparing for Your Barber Appointment: The Essentials

Before going to your barber appointment, it is important to prepare yourself in order to have a successful and satisfying experience. This section will guide you through the essential steps to take before sitting in the barber’s chair.

Defining Your Desired Hairstyle

Having a clear idea of the hairstyle you want is crucial for effective communication with your barber. Take some time to research and gather inspiration from magazines, websites, or social media platforms. Find photos of hairstyles that match your desired look and save them for reference.

Understanding Your Hair Type and Texture

Understanding your hair type and texture is essential to ensure that your desired hairstyle is compatible with your natural hair. Whether you have straight, wavy, curly, or coily hair, knowing its characteristics will help you communicate with your barber and make informed decisions about the best haircut for you.

Lifestyle Considerations for Your New Cut

When choosing a new haircut, it is important to consider your lifestyle and how your hair will fit into it. Think about how much time and effort you are willing to put into styling your hair on a daily basis. Consider your profession, hobbies, and personal preferences. Are you looking for a low-maintenance style or are you willing to spend more time styling your hair? Discussing these lifestyle considerations with your barber will enable them to suggest a haircut that suits your needs.

Communicating with Your Barber: Key Barbering Terms to Know

When it comes to getting the perfect haircut, effective communication with your barber is essential. To ensure that you are on the same page, it’s important to be familiar with key barbering terms. Understanding these terms will help you convey your desired hairstyle and preferences more accurately. Let’s explore some of the essential barbering terms that you should know:

Demystifying Guard Numbering

Guard numbering refers to the system barbers use to determine the length of your haircut. Guards are attachments that fit onto the clippers and determine how short or long your hair will be cut. Each guard is labeled with a number, which corresponds to the length of the hair it will leave behind. Knowing the guard numbers and their corresponding lengths will enable you to communicate the exact length you desire with your barber.

Explaining Fades: Low, Mid, High

Fades are popular haircut styles that involve gradually cutting the hair shorter from the top to the sides and back. There are different types of fades, including low, mid, and high fades. A low fade starts below the temple and gradually tapers down. A mid fade starts halfway up the sides of the head, while a high fade starts around the temples or higher. Understanding the distinctions between these fades will help you communicate the specific style you want to achieve.

Distinguishing Between Taper and Texture

Taper and texture are two terms commonly used in hairstyles. A taper refers to gradually decreasing the length of hair from the top to the sides and back. It creates a clean and blended transition. On the other hand, texture refers to adding definition, volume, or movement to the hair. It is achieved through various cutting techniques like point cutting or texturizing shears. Understanding the difference between taper and texture will help you explain the specific elements you want in your haircut.

To ensure a successful haircut, effectively communicating with your barber is key. By familiarizing yourself with these barbering terms, you can better express your preferences and achieve the hairstyle that suits you best.

Developing a Clear and Concise Description for Your Barber

In order to ensure effective communication with your barber and achieve the haircut you desire, it is crucial to develop a clear and concise description of your desired hairstyle. Providing specific details and instructions will help your barber understand your preferences and avoid any miscommunication. Here are some tips on how to articulate your desired haircut:

  1. Be specific about the length: Clearly indicate the desired length for different sections of your hair, such as the tops, sides, and back. You can use terms like “short,” “medium,” or “long” to give your barber a clear idea.
  2. Describe the style: Use descriptive words to explain the specific style you want. For example, if you’re looking for a textured look or a sleek and polished finish, make sure to convey that to your barber.
  3. Highlight any important details: If there are any specific elements or details you want to incorporate into your haircut, such as layers, bangs, or a specific parting style, make sure to mention them.
  4. Consider your face shape: If you are aware of your face shape and have certain preferences on how the haircut should complement it, communicate that to your barber. They can then provide recommendations based on your unique features.

By following these guidelines and providing a clear and concise description, you can effectively communicate your desired hairstyle to your barber and ensure a satisfying result.

What Do I Tell a Barber?: Crafting the Perfect Style Request

Setting the Length: How to Guide for Tops, Sides, and Back

When requesting a specific hairstyle from your barber, it’s crucial to provide clear instructions for different aspects of the haircut. Setting the right length is a key element in achieving your desired style. For the tops, sides, and back of your hair, communicate the specific length you want. You can use terms like “short,” “medium,” or “long” to describe the desired length, or you can specify a specific measurement, such as inches or centimeters.

It’s important to be as clear and specific as possible, so your barber understands your expectations. If you’re unsure about how short or long you want your hair to be, you can ask your barber for recommendations based on your hair type, face shape, and personal style. They are experienced professionals who can provide valuable insights and help you make the right decision.

Articulating the Cut: Fringe, Layers, and More

Communicating the desired cut effectively is crucial for achieving the hairstyle you want. Take the time to articulate the specific details of your desired haircut. If you want fringe or bangs, describe the length, shape, and desired style. Whether you want your hair to have layers or a specific texture, make sure you clearly express your preferences to your barber.

Using visual references can be helpful in articulating your desired cut. Bring pictures or show your barber images that showcase the style you’re looking for. Visual references can provide a clearer understanding of your expectations and ensure that you and your barber are on the same page. Remember that while inspiration images can be a useful tool, your barber will work with your unique hair type and features to create a personalized version of the style.

Neckline Choices: Tapered or Blocked

The neckline is an important aspect of your haircut that contributes to its overall look. You can choose between a tapered or blocked neckline depending on your style preferences. A tapered neckline gradually blends into the nape of your neck and provides a more natural and subtle transition. On the other hand, a blocked neckline creates a clean and defined edge.

When discussing the neckline with your barber, clearly communicate your preference for either a tapered or blocked style. You can also ask for their professional recommendation based on your hair type and the overall look you want to achieve. Remember that different neckline styles can complement different haircuts, so it’s essential to consider how it will harmonize with your chosen hairstyle.

By crafting a clear style request that covers the length, cut, and neckline of your haircut, you can ensure effective communication with your barber. This will help them understand your desired style and create a haircut that meets your expectations. Remember to be specific, ask for recommendations when needed, and use visual references to communicate your preferences.

The Power of Imagery: Showing Your Barber Exactly What You Want

When it comes to getting the perfect haircut, visual references can be incredibly powerful. By showing your barber images that depict your desired hairstyle, you can effectively communicate the style you want. Our brains are wired to process visuals, making them an excellent tool for conveying your haircut preferences.

An easy and effective way to use images during your barber appointment is to find haircut inspiration beforehand. Browse through magazines, online platforms, and social media to discover hairstyles that catch your eye. Once you’ve found a few examples that showcase your desired style, save them or take screenshots to bring along to your appointment.

During your consultation with your barber, share these images with them. They will serve as a visual reference, allowing your barber to understand the specific details of your desired haircut. Together, you can discuss the elements you like, such as the length, texture, and overall shape.

By using images as a guide, you can help your barber create the perfect haircut that aligns with your vision. It takes the guesswork out of describing your desired style and ensures that you and your barber are on the same page.

Remember, open and clear communication is key in achieving your desired haircut. Using visual references like images can significantly enhance the barber-client conversation and eliminate any potential misunderstandings. So, the next time you visit your barber, consider bringing along some images to showcase your desired style.

Seeking Professional Advice: When to Rely on Your Barber’s Expertise

While it’s important to have a clear vision for your haircut, it’s equally important to trust your barber’s professional expertise. Your barber has the knowledge and skill to guide you in making the best decisions for your hair. By seeking professional advice, you can ensure that your haircut will not only look great but also suit your personal style and facial features.

Handling Uncertainties and Expectations

When it comes to getting a new haircut, it’s normal to have uncertainties and expectations. You may be unsure about how a certain style will look on you or worried that it won’t turn out as you envisioned. This is where your barber’s expertise becomes invaluable. Your barber can provide insights and recommendations based on their experience and understanding of different hair types, styles, and trends. They can offer solutions or alternative options that might better suit your hair texture or face shape. By relying on your barber’s advice, you can alleviate uncertainties and have realistic expectations for your haircut.

Embracing Change and Suggestions from Your Barber

Change can be challenging, especially when it comes to your appearance. However, embracing change can lead to incredible results. Your barber may suggest a different haircut or style that they believe will enhance your features and suit your personality. It’s important to keep an open mind and consider their suggestions. Remember, your barber has a trained eye and can envision how a certain haircut will look based on your hair’s texture, density, and growth patterns. By embracing change and being receptive to your barber’s suggestions, you can discover new styles that you may not have considered before.

Seeking professional advice from your barber and relying on their expertise is essential for achieving the best haircut possible. Be open to their recommendations and trust their judgment. Remember that your barber wants you to leave their chair satisfied and looking your best. So, next time you visit your barber, embrace the opportunity to explore new styles, manage uncertainties, and get the haircut that will make you feel confident and stylish.


In conclusion, effectively communicating with your barber is essential for getting the haircut you desire. By following the tips and advice provided in this article, you can confidently navigate your next barber appointment and ensure a great haircut. Remember to be clear and specific in your instructions, use visual references when necessary, and trust your barber’s expertise. With these strategies, you can leave the barbershop satisfied with your new hairstyle.


What do I tell a barber?

When visiting a barber, it’s important to have a clear idea of the hairstyle you want to achieve. Communicate your desired haircut using specific details and instructions. Provide clear instructions for the length of the tops, sides, and back of your hair, and consider fringe, layers, and neckline style. Visual references can also be helpful in showing your barber exactly what you want.

How can I effectively communicate with my barber?

To effectively communicate with your barber, it’s important to be familiar with key barbering terms such as guard numbering, fades (low, mid, and high), and the difference between taper and texture. Develop a clear and concise description of your desired hairstyle, providing specific details and instructions. Trust your barber’s expertise and be open to their suggestions.

How can I show my barber exactly what I want?

Using visual references can be immensely helpful. Find haircut inspiration through images and bring them to your barber appointment. These pictures will guide your barber in understanding your desired style, ensuring you both are on the same page.

When should I trust my barber’s professional advice?

Trust your barber’s professional expertise when seeking advice or facing uncertainties. They can provide valuable suggestions based on their experience and knowledge. Be open to change and suggestions, as they can offer insights that enhance your haircut experience.

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