Barbers can make magic happen when it comes to cutting hair or giving you a close shave. However, they can’t read your mind. If you have ever walked out of a barbershop with a cut that you didn’t really like, it is time to learn how to talk to your barber.

You probably knew exactly what you wanted when you walked in — or at least you thought you did. The issue is that you didn’t communicate properly with your barber. This is actually a common problem which often has barbers resorting to their go-to haircut or doing what they think will look best for the shape of your face.

Getting the haircut of your dreams is easy. All you have to do is learn how to talk to your barber.


Tell your barber how much you want taken off, but use precise words. Telling your barber that you want long, medium or short hair is really open to interpretation. You can ask your barber to take an inch off the top and half an inch on the sides.

If you are not sure how much you wanted chopped off, ask your barber to start off slow and to let you see what taking off a quarter of an inch would look like. You can then ask your barber to chop off more.

If you are getting a haircut with clippers, memorize the numbers on the guards your barber is using. You will be able to ask for a clipper guard number the next time and get the exact result you want.


A lot of guys go to the barbershop and ask for a cut without really thinking about what they want their neckline to look like. This is something you need to consider because other people will definitely notice your neckline even if you can’t see it.

You can ask your barber to do three different things with your neckline:

  • Ask for a blocked headline if you want a straight line. Your barber will use a razor to create a sharp straight line across your neckline. This style requires maintenance but it can make your neck look thicker.
  • Ask for a rounded headline if you want a round shape rather than a straight line. This style also requires maintenance.
  • Ask your barber for a tapered headline if you want him to gradually cut your hair shorter. This style can make your neck look slimmer and won’t require as much maintenance as the hair grows back.


The arches are the lines just above your ears. Your barber will typically do a bit of trimming around the ears if needed but will leave the arches alone unless you ask for higher arches. This style will create more space above your ears, which can make them look larger.

Don’t forget to tell your barber what you want them to do with your sideburns. Your barber can trim the sideburns to different lengths, including top of the ear, mid-ear or bottom of the ear. You can also ask your barber to thin out your sideburns if you want them to appear slimmer.


Barbers have their own jargon to refer to different styles and techniques. There are a few words you should know so you can communicate efficiently with your barber:

  • Tapered. A tapered cut is a cut with different lengths. Most haircuts for men have more length at the top than they do on the sides. You should tell your barber if you want a tapered haircut, how much of a length difference you want between the top and the sides and where you want to have shorter hair.
  • Faded. This style is similar to tapered but your barber will use a razor to create a sharper effect and the shorter hair layers will be close to the skin. You can actually ask for a cut that fades to the skin. If you want a faded cut, tell your barber where you want the fade to start and end.
  • Razored. If you ask for a razored cut, your barber will use a straight razor to trim the edges. This is a good style to adopt if you have thick hair.
  • Layered. A layered cut has shorter hair hiding underneath longer hair. This creates volume.
  • Choppy. If you ask for a choppy cut, your barber will use a technique known as point cutting and cut your hair at a 45-degree angle. This will give more texture to your hair.
  • Thinned out. Your barber can use thinning shears to reduce the volume of your hair. This will make your hair easier to style.

If you have a very specific style or technique in mind for your haircut, do some research and find out the exact words that barbers use to describe the style or technique. If all else fails, show your barber some pictures or videos of the style you want!

Your barber is someone you should feel comfortable talking to. Visiting a barbershop should be a fun and relaxing ritual. You will build a relationship with your barber if you keep returning to the same spot, and getting a haircut will eventually feel like visiting a friend.

Building a relationship with your barber is very important. As your barber gets to know you better, they will be able to make recommendations. Remember that your barber cuts hair every day and that you should probably listen to their recommendations since they will know what is best for the shape of your face or your hair type.

Don’t hesitate to give your barber some feedback while they work and once they are done cutting your hair. Even if you don’t get your dream haircut, your barber will remember what you liked and didn’t like and will get one step closer to the perfect haircut the next time you book an appointment!