Barbershop Etiquette, Part 3…

Decided to start things up again, and the easiest way for me get things rolling, is to give more pointers on how to behave in a barber chair, or I guess what to avoid doing while in one. It is more Barbershop Etiquette. I’ve done more research and polled some barbers I know, and I’m confident most barbers everywhere (at least a couple) would give their nod of approval. Its like a getting pointers from a waitress on how to get the best service and without spit in your burger, or a flight attendant giving you the skinny on how to get extra pretzels, or what the front desk guy at the hotel would tell you about how to get the hook up. Follow this advice (and the others like it I have posted previously, and yet to come) and your barber will never dread you coming through the door. That’s a good thing.

** These are not personal attacks, so don’t get your feelings hurt. And I’m not just trying to be negative, I’m writing it so we can all have a good time. We are in the service industry and love to take care of our customers, but as you can hopefully imagine, some patrons better than others. I want to help you be the better ones. **

Be Patient. A barber should do everything he can to keep up with his schedule, but just remember that a busy barber is probably a good barber. And if the barber  you are looking for has a wait that is too long for you, take a deep and empathetic breath. Actually, hopefully your back-up has a wait too! Annoyingly, these are good signs. I went to a pizza place in Brooklyn the other night, one that everyone had been talking about, and they don’t take reservations over the phone. When I showed up to put my name down, they told me it would be a 3 hour wait. Bummer. As I waited for my friends to show up, I heard more people ask to get on the list. “3 hours”, “3 1/2 hours” the hostess would say. Surprisingly, nobody got upset and stormed away, or walked back to the chef and asked, “hey , any way you can get me in before the rest of these people?”. Nobody was fuming mad after being told they had a wait ahead of them, probably cause they know its been busy for a reason. Great attitude. Good for them. We understand that folks have places to be, and we want to get you there looking good. We aren’t running behind cause we hate you, believe me, we want to be running on time as much as you do. Just be patient, and plan ahead  (in case the guy in front of you gets real picky).

Hair gets everywhere. When you get a haircut, prepare to get hair on you… BUT let us try and keep some of it off of you. That tarpy cape thing we put on you and cinch tight around your neck is for more than just looks. The tighter it is, the less hair you will get down your neck – just keep that in mind. If you don’t like it very tight, then be prepared for your hair to sink down into your shirt a little. Its just gravity…we wish we could change that for you but it would be too hard, so we apologize for the itch in advance. Keep your arms inside the cape at all times, unless you don’t mind a little hair on your sleeves and hands.  It might just be me, but one of the most frustrating things is when customers act like I am dropping poison onto them when their own hair falls onto their sleeves or hands that are busy texting or holding a magazine. If you don’t want hair to touch it, then keep it inside the cape. Barbers are totally cool with you reading or texting, just don’t complain about the hair, k? Cause its not our hair, and we take it home with us everyday too! We aren’t complaining, its just comes with the territory. If you are a mechanic, you will get grease on your hands. If you work at a pizza joint, your shirt will smell like pizza when you leave. Things will get a little hairy sometimes.

Now, on the subject of what to do with your hair the day you get a haircut… First, make sure your hair is combed. Take the time to at least attempt to get your hair looking like it normally does. It gives us an idea of what you will be wanting. If bed head is your style, then by all means, roll out of bed and come in for a haircut. Second, as far as product goes, most products are water soluble these days, and we can usually just wet it down or even just cut through most stuff. But if you know your stuff is gnarly and hard to comb through, and you don’t like your hair getting pulled, then just take it easy with the product that day, use something a little lighter, or even just leave it out. But its not usually a problem, unless you use that ‘Axe’ pasty clay wax garbage – then go ahead and leave it out. You could fix roads with that stuff. But seriously, its better to come with it combed, but its really not a bid deal. HOWEVER, if your barbershop has a hot shampoo girl, then by all means wait for the shampoo, but if its just you and me, just know that I am not dying to give you a relaxing scalp massage shampoo… there I said it.

Oh and everybody needs to stop using ‘gel’. Sorry to be the one to break it to you.

I cant speak for every barber on this (but I probably can), but just give your barber a second before you sit down in the chair. He or She will call you up, give you the head nod, come wake you up, or come shake your hand and bring you back . They will do something to let you know they are good to go. But to just swoop in and sit down the moment we are done with a haircut is pretty annoying. I like to clean up for you, get my clippers and tools all ready, and make sure i have what I need to help you out. Its the exact same thing as sliding into a booth at a restaurant the second after someone signs the check and gets up after a meal. If you want to get ketchup on your elbows and have empty glasses and crusty plates in front of you, then go for it. I don’t smoke, but sometimes barbers need a smoke break too. Sorry if you are in a rush, but its better for you if you let me tidy up and get re-focused. Again, not a deal breaker, and it might just be me, but if you give me a sec I’ll be really grateful.

Feels good to get that off my chest.

Amen for now.








  1. Derek says:

    April 9, 2015 at 4:05 am

    Brilliant pieces on etiquette, if only the idiot masses who frequent my barber shop would read this.

Leave a Reply