Practical Barber Advice - Simple, Informative Overview

Welcome to Barber Hacks, the blog that will help you become a better barber at any stage in your career. Keep reading and come back every week for new posts that will help you be a better barber gauranteed.

Let’s start with the basics. What do you know about barbering? 

Barbering is a service based trade that has been around since we invented sharp tools. Barbering has traditionally been a grooming trade, but for a couple hundred years it was associated with surgery as well. As medical procedures became more advanced the tonsorial arts (another name for barbering) separated from the surgery aspects, but we were left with the red, white and blue striped pole that signified blood, veins and bandages.

In contemporary times barbers can provide a variety of services. Some of these services differ when it comes to geography and culture, but barbers generally provide hair cutting services. Barbers also trim facial hair, moustaches and should be able to shave a face of hair entirely. These are the main services, but there are many more that can be included: facials, eyebrow shaping, colour services (hair and beard), waxing, manicures (yes), threading, trimming ears and eyebrow hair, removal of 
blackheads and ingrown hairs, shampooing, deep hair conditioning, massage, scalp micropigmentation, treatment of hair and scalp disorders, replacements for balding (hairpieces, hair fibers and the like) ear candling, and probably of couple of services I have yet to discover.

In order to barber you need specialized equipment. You can start with just a clipper and a chair in a kitchen, or you can buy the most expensive equipment and begin with an education that can cost into the tens of thousands of dollars. There is no right way to get into a profession, a craft, an art form, you just have to have the desire and the perseverance. To start I’d recommend a solid clipper, a decent pair of scissors, an outliner, a clipper comb, and a chrome razor handle. I’ll have some recommendations for these tools in upcoming posts.

When I started in this industry I had nothing and I knew nothing about hair. I was a fairly oblivious young man that wanted to be a writer for a living. The upcoming years were tough, and that is good to remember, barbering is hard work. The act of being in a barbershop will wear you down, but it will also provide you with a creative outlet that you can be paid for.

Barbering is a customer service job so you’re going to deal with a lot of people. This means that you’re going to meet people you love and people that you’ll wish fell down a set of stairs on their way to the barbershop. This job will change how you socialize with people, you will essentially become a part of the neighbourhood that you work in, and your taste and expertise will define how that neighbourhood looks. The friends you have, the life you live, and whatever stories you can spin will become neighbourhood tales. 

So, how do you decide that this is for you? Get an industry education. You should always educate yourself in the industry that you’re a part of. Learn how the industry operates, how it changes, its issues and the people and companies that shape it. Do your research on your local barbershops, barber/beauty supply stores, and barbering/beauty schools. Talk to your barber about their job and ask if they don’t mind someone chilling in the shop for a day or two. If you do this, say that you’ll help them out a bit by sweeping the floor and most likely they’ll be more than happy to have you around.  Talk to your friends and family about barbering and see what they have to say. Go on Instagram and find the barbers that matter, the barbers that get people excited and than find then barbers that get them excited. Join some facebook pages that have to do with barbering and ask questions there. Go onto Reddit and talk to barbers. The barbering community is a kind and giving one, and you should be able to find incredible mentors, peers as you begin to discover what the industry is all about.

Know this...any job, barbering included, is going to have shitty days, so if you’re going to be a barber, be a barber for awhile to see how you like it. You can always change your mind and decide that you want to do something else.

Until next week,
@crowbarber on Instagram
Martin in real life.

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