The key to getting a great haircut is knowing what to ask for. Your barber is there to cut your hair – not to read your mind. So the next time you go to get clipped, keep these six tips in mind.
1. Do Your Research
Have an idea of what (or who) you want to look like before you sit down in the barber’s chair. Crushing on Adam Levine’s buzz cut? Scroll through his Instagram page and screengrab a pic. Want Chris Pine’s side-swiped ‘do? A quick Google image search will reveal plenty of inspiration. Don’t be afraid to bring that with you to your haircut appointment. In fact, we recommend it.
2. Do Your Pre-Prep At Home
Never come to the barbershop with a bird’s nest on top. “It’s key to rinse out any product in your hair before heading to the shop, so your barber can see what hair type they’re working with,” says Ryan Damien, a barber at L.A.’s Baxter Finley. Also: keep the hat at home, since it will leave indentations in the hair.
3. Talk To Your Barber
The hairstyle you want may not always suit your features. Before the scissors come out, make sure you ask for your barber’s opinion. That way, you avoid surprises. Tell your barber what you do for work, what you normally wear, and what big occasions are coming up. You’ll want a work or occasion-appropriate ‘do. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality, either. It’s your time to shine.
Baxter of California Cream Pomade
4. Know Your Lingo
If you want something that’s textured and layered, ask for a “scissor cut.” But if you want something clean and cropped, you’ll have to rely on electric clippers. The lower the number on the clip guards, the closer the shave will be to your scalp (I.e. a “0” is essentially going bald). You generally want to stick somewhere between a #1 and #3.
Also learn the difference between a taper and a fade. A taper starts the hair longer at the top before it gradually gets shorter down the sides and back of the neck. A fade is less subtle: tight and cropped at the top, then buzzed down the side, ending just above the ear.
Classic Hairstyles for Men
5. Don’t Forget About The Top
The clippers will help you achieve a nice fade at the sides, but don’t forget about that tuft of hair up top. Your options are endless, but you typically want to have it slicked back or swept to the side. Asking for it to be “spiked up” is still an acceptable option. Asking for a “faux-hawk” is not.
6. Be Realistic
When choosing a new hairstyle, it’s important to know that not every look will work for you. An example: “Someone with curls shouldn’t come in asking for David Beckham’s haircut,” Damien says, “as it will never come out looking the same way you desire.” At the end of the day, “Be realistic in choosing your new look.”
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