barbershop vs salon

Barbershop vs Salon – What You Need to Know

In a time where reality TV and social media have us striving to be “selfie” ready at all times, journalist Joe Sacco said it well when he claimed that “It’s a visual world and people respond to visuals.” Yes, the desire to put our best foot (and face) forward is pretty much universal and non-gender specific. But, while    there are certainly beauty rituals both men and women share, the truth is there are distinct differences in how each achieves the look they’re after. One man’s signature style might be tied to a devilishly good looking goatee, perfectly sculpted by his barber. Whereas, a woman may choose to make her style statement by sporting a trendy two-tone ombre hair color, courtesy of her favorite hair salon. Neither is mutually exclusive and it’s not unheard of for a woman to get an edgy, shaved modern cut from a barber or for a man to get his do done up at a hair salon. After all, the barbershop and the hair salon serve essentially the same purpose overall, but which is right for your pursuit of personal style? To answer that question, let’s take a look at the major differences between the barbershop and hair salon.

  1. A barber will typically open a barber shop with strictly barbering services while a salon stylist trained in cosmetology can open a “full-service” salon with offering additional services such as skincare and esthetics or manicuring.
  2. Barbers do not perform esthetic services such as waxing or nail services. Cosmetology trained stylists are often trained to provide these service.
  3. Salon stylists typically only receive training in shaving the face with a straight razor, while barbers are trained in a variety of shaving techniques.
  4. A barber’s primary focus is cutting men’s hair whereas a salon stylist will often have male and female clients.
  5. Barbers undergo different training than hairdressers. Barber training is available from specialized beauty schools and includes a written exam and a practical demonstration. Every state has its own Barbering Board. This board often includes certification for cosmetology. Graduates of barbering or cosmetology programs need to apply to the state board for a license that must be renewed regularly.
  6. Salon stylists focus on crafting a look to a specific client rather than a specific haircut.

When it comes to hair, barbers are equally qualified and trained to not just cut men’s hair and shave, but also receive training in coloring hair. And the barber shop is often more affordable than the salon for some services. So, for those among us who believe you’re only as good as your last haircut, think about which chair is right for you. But no matter which you choose to help you face the world, the barber and the salon stylist are truly man and woman’s best friend in the daily pursuit of “good looking-ness.” Have you always wondered if a career in the barbering industry might be right for you? If you can see yourself joining the ranks of professional barbers cutting and shaving your way into people’s hearts, contact your local state board for a list of beauty schools and barbering programs in your area.