There are some experiences in life for men that can be purely nerve wrecking. From visiting the doctor, to tying the knot with your loved one, or worse, sharing that first encounter with a new barber. Apprehension and uncertainty can go hand in hand when it calls for that first time visit to your local barber. A first tinder date and barber visit share some similarities. Many men, who move into a new city, are like fresh fish waiting to get caught and reeled in by the neighborhood shop. Sometimes it’s the price or the shop presentation that may spark some interest, enticing a guy to enter. Nonetheless, once that new barber has you in the chair, you’re all theirs and vice versa. But to help you avoid looking absolutely clueless, we compiled a small but invaluable list of critical questions and thoughts you should consider before a towel, a clipper, or cap comes anywhere near you.
Sanitation is more than half of the work when looking for a quality haircut. A barber who doesn’t keep their station garbage-free demonstrates complete negligence. That should be an immediate red flag. This is a sign of carelessness that may be reflected in your haircut. Your barber shouldn’t be sitting in his chair eating the Chinese food they grabbed for lunch.
Note: Be sure to observe if the barber washes and sanitizes their hands before beginning the cut and sanitizes the proper tools.
Training Facility and Licensing
The hairstyling industry has a tendency to keep some of its spotlight talent under the radar simply because some are not properly licensed by the state. It may be great that you’re in someone’s chair who can provide the dopest fade but it is lousy and lazy if they didn’t fulfill the proper requirements to be certified by a state to cut hair. Ask a simple question like, “So where did you study;” or “How did you get into the trade?” If the barber can’t answer, you may want to reconsider that next cut. Keep in mind, without proper paperwork nowadays, you may not even see that barbershop open when it’s time for your next visit.
It’s 2020 so carrying pieces of plastic or using digital cards to pay for goods and services is becoming more prevalent. It doesn’t hurt to ask if the shop accepts cards, or newer payment methods such as apps like Venmo, Paypal, Apple Pay, etc. These can provide for a super easy transaction process without having to run out for change or having to pay that dreaded ATM fee. Local barbers should be open to multiple methods of payment.
With social media at our fingertips, it’s no surprise that a visual resume of someone’s work can be found on a platform like Instagram and Facebook. Browsing through a quick catalog of work creates another level of comfort as you take a seat in a new barber’s chair. So don’t be shy about asking to see their work before those clippers are turned on.
I’m sure a walk-in sounds pleasing and accommodating but the ability to schedule an appointment really makes a shop stand out. It speaks to a level of professionalism that ensures both the barber and client take the service seriously. A barber or stylist who is aware of the time will most likely be respectful of you and your time while they have you in the chair. This behavior includes not taking multiple breaks in between cuts, not picking up lunch while you wait, or – a personal favorite – not using the phone. So as a first timer, be sure to ask the shop if they are an appointment-based business. If you do it for a doctor visit, car repair service, or massage, why not hold your barber/stylist to the same level of accountability?