Did you know that a barber’s license is required to use a straight razor on a customer in virtually every state in the union? Before a candidate is legally authorized to use such a sharp instrument on the public, he must pass both written exams as well as practical exams to make sure he is qualified. It is the State of Utah which administers these exams which are necessary to obtain a legal barber’s license in Salt Lake City.
When you think about it this process is totally logical. I would not want someone who was not thoroughly trained, experienced and licensed using such a sharp instrument on my face. There is an implied consent by regulating authorities in a state when someone puts up a barber pole and offers a classical, straight-razor shave to the public. It is a simple enough question to ask your provider if he has a current barber’s license.
Wikipedia offers insight on the difference between barbers and salon hairdressers with regards to straight razor shaving and a barber’s license, “In modern times, the term “barber” is used both as a professional title and to refer to anyone who specialize in men’s hair. Historically, all hairdressers were considered barbers. In the 20th century, the profession of cosmetology branched off from barbering, and today hairdressers may be licensed as either barbers or cosmetologists.
Barbers differ with respect to where they work, which services they are licensed to provide, and what name they use to refer to themselves. Part of this terminology difference depends on the regulations in a given location. Different states in the US vary on their labor and licensing laws. For example, in Maryland, a cosmetologist cannot use a straight razor, strictly reserved for barbers.”
I read the following in a recent industry publication, “It is a common myth that barbering and cosmetology are the same thing. Yes, they are quite similar in program length and curriculum, but they are two separate licenses and there are some distinct differences between these two professions. First, barber schools primarily teach the study of men’s hair and short hair, and its many forms, structures and styles. On the other hand, cosmetology training tends to run the gamut of hair types, styles and skills.
Secondly, barber clientele tend to lean overwhelmingly male, whereas cosmetology clients tend to be predominantly female – though both men and women see both cosmetologists and barbers depending on their personal preferences.
Lastly, the next major difference between barbering and cosmetology is the services each type of licensee can legally perform. In most states, barbers are trained to do facial shaving, including traditional straight razor shaves and safety razor shaves, whereas cosmetologists are usually not allowed to perform these services. Cosmetology curricula include nails and makeup, wheres barber curricula do not. In fact, in some states it’s up for debate whether a salon can have a barber pole outside their business if there is not someone with a barber’s license on staff.”
So the next time you are thinking about getting a classical men’s face shave, make sure you find someone who has a legal barber’s license and the training and experience to do handle an extremely sharp straight razor on your face and neck. It can be a fantastic experience if done by a trained professional who has an active barber’s license.