For many men, finding a barber is a challenge, but this question has puzzled me for a while – what is the true difference between a barber and a hair stylist?  If you want the dictionary definition, a barber is someone who is trained in shorter haircuts, and their training is geared almost exclusively towards men whereas a stylist is better for trends, is more knowledgeable about longer haircuts and styles, and the services of a stylist a often more collaborative.

Here’s a quick list of what a barber offers versus a hair stylist:

Barber

  • Great at shorter hair styles like the buzz cut, flattop, or military cut.
  • The simple, classic cuts you would receive at a barber shop take little to maintain, no expensive styling products, and the look is timeless and flattering.
  • Save some money.  Most barber shops cost significantly less than a salon or a hair stylist.
  • Comraderie – men go to barber shops for the atmosphere as much as women go to a day spa for the pampering – it’s a comfortable, laidback atmosphere.
  • Barber shops even do a hot lather face shave – something new stylists are trained to do.  A wonderful experience – well worth having done.
  • Maintaining facial hair – you can get your beard or mustache trimmed by a barber where a stylist is not well versed in this particular field.

Stylist

  • Better with longer hair styles.  A stylist is concerned with maintaining a style and will be able to give you ideas on how to maintain your hair style.
  • If you are looking to follow a trend, a stylist is the better fit for you – they are up-to-date on all the latest trends and can help you find the right fit for your face, a barber caters to classic, traditional hair cuts that men have favored for decades.
  • If you want to buy product.  Barber shops do not usually sell a range of higher end products like most stylists and salons do.  And any stylist can explain which product will work best to maintain the integrity of the style you’ve chosen.
  • Color – if you are looking to have your hair colored, a barbershop is generally not going to be able to help you, but a hair stylist is very well schooled in the art of hair coloring.

Finding the right fit for you is not always easy, but look for a place that makes you feel relaxed and a stylist or barber that has the right chemistry.  There is a reason why both barbers and stylists, the good ones, at least, have a loyal following – it’s all about finding someone you are comfortable with to handle your hair.

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6 comments

  1. Another difference is that A Barber can give you a fresh looking Line up due to the fact that they use a shaving knife to do the line up while at a salon they just use machines and scissors they are not trained to use razors.

  2. It’s good to know that barbers tend to be more professionalized at shorter hair cuts. I think it’s important to find a barber shop that you enjoy going to so you can develop a relationship with the barbers. Getting your hair cut is a social experience as well as a service so it helps to be comfortable with the employees so you can enjoy your time there and communicate well with them.

  3. Can we say a stylist is better than a barber. . .from d angle of mobility, exposure, patrons’ care, technicality and finishing?

  4. I like to keep my hair short, so I like that you mentioned how barbers can specialize with these types of cuts. The new area we moved to has a couple options I will have to check out. Ultimately it comes down to your personal preference.

  5. Thanks for the information on the differences between the two options, such as how barbers are usually better with shorter hair styles and men, whereas a stylist is usually a better fit for the latest trends. Knowing the difference would probably be important to choose the right one for your hair. I’d imagine that once you’ve figured out the one you want, you’d probably want to look into the different shops in your area so you can choose one that you can get to easily and will provide quality services.

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