How To Get What You Want In A Barber Shop

Barber shops for many years have been regarded as hair removalists rather than hair stylists. Recently however, we’ve seen a massive shift in the amount of barbers becoming excellent stylists. All over the globe we have brilliant barbershops with highly skilled barbers working to keep the male population well groomed.

Visiting these places is becoming more and more of an event. So, with the evolving complexity of the barbershop experience, we want to make sure you are equipped to get the most out of your visits to Areté, as well as any future barbershop experiences you may have. To help you with that we’ve put together some do’s and don’ts for what we believe is the correct barbershop etiquette and more importantly, to make sure you get what you want.

Be Willing To Relax

The easiest way to get the most out of your experience is to actually go there with a mindset for enjoyment. A good barber will be able to read your mood well and match it. So if you’re in an excited mood and want to share important news or talk about exciting plans then do it, a good barber will share your enthusiasm. Equally, if you’re looking for a relaxing and calming hour in the barbershop to get away from life’s stresses, an experienced barber will provide that too.

Prepare Yourself

You know how the saying goes, ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’. No one knows this more than a barber. Even the best communicator on the planet will struggle to explain his dream haircut using only words. Find pictures of the examples of what you are hoping to achieve and explain exactly what it is you do and don’t like about each image.

In addition to that, familiarise yourself with barbershop terminology by asking what a word the barber has said actually means if you’re not sure. By learning to speak the language you’ll ensure your ideas transfer cleanly into your barbers mind before he begins any service.

Speak Up

If something doesn’t feel right or if you’re having second thoughts on something then say it. No man wants to admit something is hurting him although some of us have more sensitive skin or scalps than others. Don’t sit there and suffer, just say something.

It’s also polite to speak up fast if you don’t feel enough length is being taken from your haircut. You’re barber will be grateful for being told as early on as possible. Even though you’re request for a ‘tiny bit more’ is justified, the length taken is irrelevant to your barber as one inch or six inches is still just one cut on each part of the head. If there’s a reason he’s leaving more length than you expected – by speaking up and asking, you invite your stylist to explain their reasons and you might learn something about your hair for future reference.


Knowing what you want is a good start to getting what you want. Although it’s a good idea to be prepared to open up your ideas to feedback from the expert standing behind you. Not everything works for everyone, face shapes, hair texture, density and growth patterns differ widely from person to person. So if your barber responds to your idea with adjustments or perhaps even a counter idea, be open to hearing the reasons.

This is why it’s so important to find a barber you can trust. An inexperienced barber may back down if you’re persistent with demands and give you exactly what you ask for knowing it’s not guaranteed to work. Then, when it doesn’t work, despite the barbers attempt to advise against it, you will blame them. Sadly, they will probably also blame you, so nobody wins.

Don’t Gossip

Supposedly, statistics suggest a man is more likely to stay loyal to his barber than he is his wife. Seeing as most statistics are completely made up, we can neither deny or confirm that statement. In my personal experience however, people do feel compelled to open up when in the chair. This is a testament to how close a barber and his loyal clientele can become, and a good barber will keep all conversations completely confidential. But in hindsight, it’s always a good idea not to share too many things that further down the line you may regret.


If we are honest with each other, you and I will admit that we’re on our phones too much as it is. So why is it in your hand the whole time you’re having a haircut when you could be relaxing and switching off? Not only is your phone arguably the most stress inducing, attention sucking black hole that you will ever own. It also invites more head bobbing and bad body positioning than any barber would ever care to accept. Leave it in your pocket and relax.

Don’t Assume

You and your barber have been getting on very well and you’re in double figures on visits to his chair for your bi weekly fix up. You take a seat, you look at him through the mirror and you say “same again please”. Let’s assume your barber sees 10 people a day 5 days a week. So, if you came in 2 weeks previous, theres been around 100 people his scissors have graced in the meantime. If you’re barber is a good one, he’ll take you through the same questioning to get the results from the previous appointments. If he’s not however, he may just make it up in an attempt not to seem rude for not remembering you. Always be ready to explain your vision and don’t assume your barber doesn’t need feedback between haircuts.

Don’t Be Late

Sometimes the day gets away with us, of course it does. If you’re late to your appointment, not a big deal is it? Let’s look at it this way, ever got to your appointment 5 minutes early and had to wait 30 minutes to be seated, annoying right? That’s because people were late. A barber’s job is to know how long a service takes and to work effectively to run on time. If your service is scheduled for an hour, it takes an hour. When you walk in 15 minutes late, it’s enough to destroy your barbers schedule and every other person’s booked in to see them too.

Also, don’t walk in late with coffee and shopping bags, that’s ignorance not bad time management.

Don’t Criticise

If you weren’t happy with your last barber or stylist, keep it to yourself. The person you’re complaining too knows full well you will give them the same treatment if you don’t get on that well either. You will be off to a bad start.

Sit Still

Sitting still surely doesn’t need much explanation. I’m hoping you don’t talk to your dentist during an examination, or do star jumps when being measured for a new suit. If you do then i’m sure your level of situational awareness will reach that of the average 10 year old soon enough. Joking aside, the less animated you are during a haircut the better you will look at the end of it.