Barber vs. Hairstylist: Key Differences For Better Experience

In my barber shop, I’ve had many of my customers ask me whether my shop is indeed a barbershop or a hairdressing outlet.

Even if I answer this in one word, I can tell from the look on their faces that the concepts aren’t still cleared for them.

So, I believe it’s essential for every styling enthusiast to go through a barber vs. hairstylist argument in order to comprehend the two concepts.

This article brings together these two fields and places them side by side so that you can make out the similarities and differences between these two sets of professions.

Once you’re equipped with this knowledge, all of your doubts will go away and you’ll be able to visit the perfect professional for your particular hair treatments!

Brief History Of Grooming & Hair Styling

History of barbers dates back 5000 years before the birth of Christ in ancient Egypt. Initially, they performed their deeds with sharp rocks, flints or oyster shells. Some anthropological discoveries of 3500 BC sculptures found razors in operation during the Bronze age.

From early to middle ages in Greece and Italy, barbers performed activities like cutting down hair, shaving, and styling hair in the grooming field. Added to that, they also undertook tasks like surgery and dentistry.

The first example of barber shops were found in the 19th century in the USA who offered the most fundamental services of hair cutting and beard shaving. In retrospect, it is indeed an amazing journey & growth of these professions through time!

What Does A Barber Do?

Barber's Activity

In modern times, the job of a barber has become very complex due to the influx of new haircuts and growing demands from fashionable men. If I break down a barber’s job bit by bit, then it can resemble something like this:

Hair Trimming: This is the most basic expectation from a barber at any location in the world right now. Professionals utilize their scissors or hair clippers to shorten down the hair and equip you with a dashing cut that you can flaunt every day.

Beard Grooming: Whether you prefer a fully cleaned shaved or prefer to grow out your beard and take care of it to the fullest extent, it’s mandatory to visit a barber shop every now and then. You’ll even receive advice from the experts to apply what’s best for you.

Natural-looking Outcome: While barbers mostly style you with shorter hair bodies, they do guide you to play toward your natural strengths. These cuts aren’t usually complex concepts and with some expertise, you can try them out at home with beginner clippers.

When these aspects fail to meet your demands and you want some extra work with your hair, that’s when you’ll feel the need to visit a hairdresser instead of a barber.

What’s A Hairstylist?

Hairstylist's Activity

Hairstylists are synonymously known as hairdressers in the present day. These professionals specialize in hair with a different approach and separate sets of treatments as well as expertise than a barber. Going through their list of tasks should distinguish barbers from hairdressers.

Styles Longer Hair: The rule of thumb is, visit a barbershop if you’re looking for a shorter haircut and a hairstylist when your demands circle around longer hair bodies. Hairdressers are experts in creating unique hairstyles and have much knowledge on modern trends.

Additional Hair Treatment: There are many treatments you might want on your hair, like bleaching, dyeing or perming them up. These are all done by hair stylists as they specialize in these activities. Keratin treatments or other preservation services can also be availed from such individuals.

Offers Advanced Styling Suggestion: Whether a hairstyle suits your hair texture or face shape, you’ll find it all from a hairdresser. From protective hairstyles to finding solutions for unique hair situations, this is whom you should confide in.

Provides Other Services: Other services like manicure, pedicure, facials, body hair removal – these are all jobs for hairdressers. They offer such a wide array of services which traditional barber shops tend not to step foot in.

So now you have the basic ideas of how a barber operates as opposed to a hair stylist. I’ll be sharing further information to provide you with advanced knowledge on the debate.

Specific Tools For Barbers & Hairdressers

Since barbers and hairdressers perform their niche duties, it’s not surprising to realize that they utilize very particular tools from one another. It’s true that many of these tools are used by both at different scenarios, but the separation is there for us to identify.

Barber Tools

Barber Tools

Let’s start with the most basic tools a barber uses:

Apart from these fundamental grooming instruments, a barber can possess specific tools that vary from one professional to the next.

Hairstylist Tools

Hairstylist Tools

Basic instruments like scissors, combs, or clippers are shared between barbers and hairdressers. However, the following tools are usually found in a hair stylist’s salon to aid them in their procedures:

Other hair care accessories and chemical solutions

These apparatuses grant you insight into the type of activities a hairstylist needs to perform on their jobs.

Barber vs. Hairstylist’s Training Variance

There exist some significant differences between training of barbers and hairstylists for obvious reasons. Barbers generally require training around a year to be certified by the authorities as a professional practitioner.

You’d be astounded to learn that such training modules include written tests and practical exams. The Barbering Board in the USA certifies the graduates, upon which they can seek out licenses which allow them to open up a barber shop.

Hairdressers need to undergo a similar training because they require the same prowess as a barber and go beyond. Thus, different treatments like bleaching, dyeing, manicuring etc. certifications are sought out by these individuals.

These are reflected on their license and mark them expert in performing such procedures on customers safely. So you see, there’s a choice laid before you if you’re hoping to comply with either of these professions for your career.

Should I Visit A Barber Or A Hairdresser?

From all of the discussions I’ve made till now, you have a canvas filled with a picture that tells you the answer to this question already. Yet, I’ll sum up very briefly to assist you in your decision making process:

Visit a barber IF you’re looking forward to a hair trim into shorter and traditional haircuts. Also, wanting your beards treated should require you to visit the same place.

Visit a hairstylist IF you want to style your longer hair in different ways and your styling demands advanced treatments like bleaching, dyeing, perming, straightening etc. Additionally, demanding other treatments of hair on any region of your body should point you toward a hairdresser.

Following these basic principles, you’ll always land at the right shop and return with your specific hair grooming demands fulfilled to satisfaction.

Barber & Hairdresser: Are These Gender-Specific Options?

Barber and Hairdresser Gender Specific Options

There is a common misconception that barbers treat only men and hairdressers or hairstylists cater only to women’s needs. It’s not true at all, rather it has more to do with which treatment you want. I’ve discussed most of it earlier, just let me break this misinterpretation once and for all.

Suppose you’re a woman seeking out hairdos like a women’s buzz cut. You’d be more than welcome in a barber shop to get it done as barbers specialize in shorter hair.

On the other hand, if you’re a man with longer hair and want to opt for something like a mullet with curls on your fine hair – a hairstylist is more likely to meet your demands perfectly than a barber.

So you see, barbers and hairdressers have nothing to do with your gender. Both men and women are equally accepted in both shops if their needs meet the precise services.

Operational Differences: Barber vs. Hairdresser

As the last piece of work in this article, I’ll provide you with a table that places the tasks of a barber & a hairdresser side by side. This way, the differences between these two areas would be made apparent like broad daylight.

Category Barber Hair Stylist
Haircut Mostly shorter and traditional Goes for longer and modern styles
Tools Clipper, Trimmer, Scissors Same as barber, with additional dryer, straightener, curler
Cost Usually lower Usually higher
Hairstyles Buzz cut, Fade, Taper etc. Mullet, Braid, Chelsea etc.
Training Takes around 1 year Takes over a year
Gender Both, but men prefer mostly Both, but women prefer mostly


This section enhances the knowledge on barber vs hairstylist debate by addressing a couple of vital questions on the matter.

Q: Can barbers cut long hair?

A: Barbers generally cut long hair down to a very short length. If you want to keep the length and style it in a different way, then it’s better to pay a visit to a hairdresser.

Q: What is a ladies salon called?

A: Ladies salon is usually known as a beauty parlor or beauty salon.


Now that we’re at the end point of the debate between barber vs. hairdresser, it’s time for me to place a verdict on the matter.

Basically, whom should you visit does most of the answering because that’s one of the vital information on picking between the two.

Apart from the selection, I hope my article has been able to break the stereotype that barbers are for men and hairstylists are for women, because it’s nothing of that sort.

Now that you carry all this information on both barbers and hair stylists, it’s your job to spread the knowledge around to people that are still confused.

Only that way you can ensure that everyone including yourself can receive the most supreme treatment without things going wrong when it comes to haircut and hair styling!

Leave a Comment Protection Status