Finding the perfect barber is like stumbling across your dream pub – you’ll never want to visit another one.
Today, choosing a barber can be tricky. With the barbering industry expanding as quickly as it is, there are bound to be a few cowboy barbers out there. Thankfully, premium men’s grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge and Head Educator for the Great British Barbering Academy Mike Taylor have put together a few telling traits that every great barber possesses.
“In all my years in this industry, I’ve always found that the best barbers make their profession look effortless,” said Taylor. “Anyone that’s ever tried to cut a friend’s hair, or even their own mop for that matter, knows that achieving anything more than a bodged bowl cut is challenging. Barbers spend years mastering the intricate skills that allow them to create exquisite styles. Making that look effortless shows true ability.”
Any great tradesman looks after his tools and the same rule applies to barbers. Their work station and tools should always be tidy, clean, and up to date.
“If you can’t see a jar of Barbicide in the shop, then I suggest you look elsewhere. A barber that isn’t effectively sterilising their tools is asking for trouble,” added Taylor. “Hygiene is particularly important during shaving as well. The best barbers use a brand new blade for every shave and dispose of these blades responsibly into sharps bins.”
There’s nothing wrong with a barber shop that caters to drop-in appointments, but a barber that requires you to book a specific time slot is always a good sign. Taylor suggests that, “there’s more to a good barber than just a busy schedule,” though.
He says: “Any barber can smash through their client list quickly, but the best barbers give each and every customer their full attention. A proper consultation and advice on hair styling products and post-cut care should come as standard. A barber should get to know their clients and leave them feeling happy with the service they receive. Only then will they return time after time.”
Next, Taylor – who has been barbering for more than 25 years – argues that a great barber is proud to display their qualifications and accolades around their shop. “You’ll see awards, qualifications, certificates of insurance, imagery of their best work, etc. plastered all over the shop walls. It’s a sign that a barber is dedicated to their trade and happy to share their success. In particular, look out for any evidence that your barber is state registered, a member of the Hair Council, a member of the NHS or a Master Barber.”
Finally, Mike believes that the best barbers build a sense of community in their shops: “As soon as you walk through the shop doors, you feel comfortable. Those waiting patiently for their cut look content and, as you visit the shop more often, engage in conversation with you. You’ll be offered a drink; there’ll be plenty of magazines and up-to-date newspapers to browse as well as music in the background that isn’t overpowering.
“Ultimately, the experience should make you feel valuable and leave you excited for your next cut.”