I have had long hair for all of my life. It can be a chore to maintain at times, but I love it. Being a guy means that I have options when it comes to where I get my hair done and in what style. Which brings the question, where should I go? To a stylist or to a barber? Well, get your reference pictures ready and sit back in the chair for stylist vs. barber, a guide For men.
There is a hot towel, if you want.
A salon can be for men too.
Salons have the reputation for being the gossiping center for women, a wholly feminine space, no men allowed. Guys can wait sadly on the bench outside. While this might have been true before, times have changed and men are often as welcomed into salons as women.
Moving past the first barrier to entry, why choose a salon over a barbershop? This is going to come down to a few things that either are or are not important to you: the length of your hair, the style of cut you are looking for, whether or not you have a beard, and the atmosphere you are looking to inhabit. So lets dig in
The length of your hair can determine for you where you go.
I have been turned away from some excellent barbershops simply due to the length of my hair. Unfortunately not all barbers work on men with long hair, prefering to specialize in beards and short hair. If you don’t mind getting your beard done in one place and your hair another, feel free to get a trim by a barber. Your beard will undoubtedly come out fresh.
Related to the length of your hair is the style. Some barbers do not feel confident with complicated cuts. This further narrows the field for men with long hair as some barbers simply will not perform cuts they don’t feel confident with.
This is a professional courtesy as a professional absolutely does not want you to walk away unhappy, which is good for everyone.
A stylist, however is specifically trained on complicated and difficult cuts, especially with long hair, a more common feature among their clientele. When choosing a barber or a stylist, consider the type of cut you are looking for, and if going to one or the other will meet your needs.
Barbers are known for cutting beards. If you have a beard, why not go to the best?
Stylists are trained in beards in the same way barbers are trained in cutting long complicated styles. Both can, but each has a specialty. If you are looking for just a trim, a stylist will be fine, however, if your beard is more complicated and exciting, or if you don’t yet know what your beard style will be, a barber is definitely going to be your best bet.
Salons and barbershops both have reputations.
Salons and stylists are known for catering more towards their often female clientele, creating an inviting environment. Stylists are known for being friendly and welcoming to the person in the chair. Barbershops are not known for this. While welcoming enough to new clients, barbers are known for their masculine to misogysnitic language and behavior. For those who are not comfortable with such language, don’t let that dissuade you from trying a barber, many are perfectly willing to meet you where you are, and as stated earlier, times are different from when these reputations were first created.
Barbers and stylists specialize in different things, and the shops they keep are different in nature as well. A stylist’s salon will definitely have more and varied hair products while a barber’s shop will have a variety of specialized product for beards especially. I have personally tried both, and have enjoyed my time at both, taking away an excellent hair trim from a stylist, and the sharpest beard cut from a barber. Both were professional and excellently trained and I would return to either.