How to Get the Haircut You Really Want
We've all been there. Our hair is out of control and it's time for a cut, but we're still recovering from our last bad experience in the barber chair. If you're fortunate enough to have a relationship with a barber that already knows exactly how you like your hair cut and styled, this isn't a big deal for you. You just schedule the appointment, show up, and enjoy the experience as usual. However, if you still haven't found a barber that consistently sends you out the door with the haircut you really want, we've got some simple advice for you. We even asked a couple of our favorite barbers to help us out here.
HOW TO FIND A BARBER
Do some research on local barbershops.
Not all barbershops are created equal. If the online reviews aren't stellar, it's probably illogical to expect a great experience yourself. Visit the shop's website. Read the bios of the barbers that work there. Pay attention to what type of cuts the shop specializes in. If you can't find a barbershop in your area that meets your standards, a quality cut is worth the drive.
We suggest using the O'Douds Store Locator when possible.
Don't look for the lowest prices available.
There is no such thing as an industry standard when it comes to how much you should expect to pay for a good haircut. Lots of factors go into pricing cuts at different shops. From the location of the shop to the skill level and experience of the barbers that work there, the cost of a cut and shave can vary greatly. If you're only interested in going to the shop that saves you the most money, it's probably not reasonable to expect the highest quality cut. We suggest finding a shop that's proven to uphold a good quality to cost ratio.
Note: we're not suggesting that higher prices always guarantee quality. This is why it's important to pay attention to reviews.
Great barbers may be booked a few days in advance.
If you call to schedule an appointment and find that availability is limited, that's a good problem to have. Good barbers are in high-demand and their schedule often reflects that. If you find a quality barbershop filled with highly skilled barbers, it's best to schedule your appointment in advance. You might have to wait a few extra days to get into the shop, but the results will be worth it.
HOW TO TALK TO YOUR BARBER
Now that you've done your research, found a good barbershop, and have an appointment scheduled with a reputable barber, the rest will take care of itself, right? Nope. Even the best barbers can "fuck up" your hair if you don't know how to clearly communicate what you want. Surprisingly, they don't teach mind reading techniques in barber school. So how do you talk to your barber?
Show up with a few photos.
The best way to talk with your barber isn't with words, it's with pictures. If you have an ideal cut and style in mind, take a few screenshots of people who have a similar cut and show them to your barber. If you have photos of yourself with a cut you really liked, don't be afraid to show those either. Barbers love to have a clear idea of what you're looking for.
Be realistic about your hair type.
Did you show your barber a picture of Chris Hemsworth, but your hair has more in common with Michael Keaton's? Here's another insight about barbers; they aren't magicians. They don't have the ability to move your hairline forward or transform the genetic factors that make your hair the way it is. If you ask for a cut that will be hard to pull off with your particular type of hair, ask your barber for suggestions on how to get something similar. It might even be better to opt for something completely different. Being realistic here will help you and your barber experience less tension.
Don't try to use barber jargon.
Did you use the term "skin fade" but expect something more like a "taper?" Did you ask for an "undercut" but really have a "slightly disconnected" look in mind? The only time you should use technical jargon is when you are 100% sure that your terms align with the barber's definition of them. Again, pictures are the best way to solve this problem. But when you must use words, be as clear as you possibly can about how you want the cut to look and feel. Saying what you don't want your hair to look like is just as important as saying what you do want it to look like.
Be specific about length, sideburns, and facial hair.
Asking for a trim might be one of the worst things you can do depending on what you actually want. If you only want a quarter of an inch taken off, ask for a quarter of an inch. And if you care at all about the length and shape of your sideburns or facial hair, you need to be specific about that as well. Talking about inches, edges, and angles will go a long way when it comes to getting the look you really want.
Ask for styling tips.
Last but certainly not least, ask your barber for styling tips and tricks. You might be surprised just how much better your hair can look and feel depending on the products and process you use to style it. Believe it or not, not all styling products are created equal either. Using a "one-size-fits-all" approach to choosing your styling product will give you generic and unflattering results. Even if your barber nailed the cut you want, you've still got to style it every day. Ask for recommendations on products and a simple regimen to style your hair. Who knows, maybe your barber has some O'Douds products on their shelves?
***Sensible Human Suggestion***
Don't forget to tip generously and schedule your next appointment before you leave. Establishing a great relationship with your barber is one of the best investments you can make when it comes to looking and feeling good.