As a professional barber I see many clients who just seem to get a better haircut than others who come into our shop. I used to think that it was totally my responsibility if some clients got a better haircut than others. However, after seeing several patterns emerge over time, I started to see things differently.
I read an article by Dave Alexander, a barber himself, which gave me some new ideas in this area. Combining that with my own observations on getting a better haircut I now submit these ideas for your consideration. Here is a list of some great ideas to help in getting a better haircut.
Make An Appointment
Barbers who offer appointments usually have a higher standard of customer service. The walk-in shops are often rushing through haircuts to get a high volume and maximize the number of cuts they can get. We have all been to salons where you feel like you are being rushed through a production line. Having an appointment will usually ensure that your barber will not feel the need to rush through your haircut.
Be On Time
Nothing is more frustrating to a barber than the customer who comes late to his appointment. The funny thing is that it is usually the same people who are so often late to their appointments. I can guarantee you that this is not the way to get a better haircut. It puts the barber under intense pressure to try and push to get the same amount of services into the shorter amount of time left. This is unfair to the barber and it is unfair to the person who comes after. If the person after the late customer has haircut start 10 or 15 minutes late–it is extremely unfair to them and destroys their time scheduling. If you want a better haircut it is a must that you be on time!
Don’t Be A No-Show
Anyone can have an emergency come up where you can’t make it to your barber appointment. The A-List clients always seem to find a way to call ahead and cancel so that the barber has a chance to try and schedule that time. These customers are very much appreciated by barbers and will continue to get their best efforts in the future. Those customers who don’t bother to call and cancel–but just don’t bother to show up and not helping themselves in the future to get a better haircut. They don’t seem to realize that it is like opening up the barber’s cash drawer and taking out a $20 bill. There are actual costs to the barber when someone doesn’t show up for their appointment and makes no effort to call and cancel. If you want a better haircut every time–don’t act like this.
This might seem obvious but you should always make an effort to treat your barber or stylist with respect and a friendly attitude–even if the haircutter is not reciprocating. The person cutting your hair can really ruin your day–or several weeks, for that matter. So it is important that he or she has a positive feeling about you.
Listen to Your Stylist
Barbers and stylists are trained and paid to make you look good and will know what styles best frame your face and enhance your features. When they make a suggestion it might be wise to give it a try. As guys, we often stay in the comfort zone by getting the same haircut year after year. Don’t be afraid to change it up a bit. If you don’t like the new look–just remember that it will grow back in a short while.
If you’re not Brad Pitt, chances are your stylist can’t make you look like him. Using a male celebrity as a guide for the type of haircut you’re after is fine, but it is important to be realistic. Take a magazine photo with you to show your stylist the cut you’re after. If it’s not realistic, a good barber or stylist will tell you so and then make suggestions on similar alternatives which might work for you.
Don’t be First or Last
As a professional barber I don’t like to think that this would influence my performance. However, there is a lot of truth to this in the general case. Many people are not at their best first thing in the morning. It takes some time to get warmed up and be focused on the task at hand. Due to this consideration I try and schedule haircuts with a higher degree of difficulty later in the day. As a customer you should do the same. At the very end of the day a stylist can often be tired after eight hours of standing behind the chair and will have more difficulty focusing.
Show Up Clean and Hat Free
This might be the most important tip on this entire list. It seems so logical and obvious that you would not want your hair all matted down and dirty, but there are many people who expect a great haircut when they show up for their appointment like this. Hats also leave a line in the hair that makes it difficult to cut and blend properly. Your stylist needs to see your hair clean and without hat lines to be able to evaluate it and see how it falls naturally.
Of course, maintaining a great looking head of hair involves more than good communication with your barber or stylist, but follow these basic guidelines and you’re off to a great start!