We’ve all experienced that post haircut disappointment after dropping $40 on a haircut and getting something that’s far from what you wanted. But who’s at fault here? While it’s possible that you could have just picked a not-so-great barbershop, even the best barbers need to know what you actually want in order to give it to you. The thing here is, it’s often not that easy to communicate what that thing is. There are a few things that your barber needs to know during your visit and here we’ll show you how to show them.

One of the most important parts of getting your hair cut is working out the length. Whilst you’re partly paying a visit to a barbershop to clean your mop up you’re also usually trying to cut it back a bit and prevent it from getting too long and unruly. But how long do you really want it? “Short on the sides and long on the top” is what many customers would say but this tells your barber only slightly more than nothing. Try and imagine the last time you saw a male hairstyle that wasn’t short on the sides and long on the top. I’ll wait.

There are two main ways you can go about describing the length you’d like your hair to be. You can either tell them how long it’s been since your last cut to give them an idea of how short you had it cut last time or you can describe the length with a tad more complexity. Simply telling your barber the size of the clipper you want on the sides (a number 2 for most men) and the length you’d like on the top (1.5-2 inches is a good place to start) can go a long way to helping them understand what kind of a cut you’re looking for.

You’ll also want to fill the barber in on if and how you style your hair as well as if you’d rather a tapered or blocked neckline. Most guys should probably go for a tapered neckline but, if you can pull it off, a blocked neckline can often set you apart from the rest.

 

It’s also important to be aware of the limits of your hair. Everyone’s hair is different and some styles only work on certain types of hair; if your barber tells you he can’t do it with your hair, he probably knows best.

Overall it’s imperative that you’re as descriptive as possible. Leaving things out or not fully fleshing out your ideas is a sure-fire way to miscommunicate what you want and can result in ending the trim with disappointment.

If you can’t do that, don’t shy away from bringing in a picture. The cliché is cliché for a reason – a picture really does speak a thousand words. When you’re struggling to get your ideas out there that thousand words goes a long way towards ensuring you get a haircut you’re comfortable and happy with.

Getting a haircut isn’t meant to be a difficult experience and as a modern man you should be able to comfortably describe to your barber what you want in a way that he can understand. If all else fails don’t be afraid to ask him for help or advice! Any good barber will be eager to help you with almost anything regarding hair. Which style looks better on you? What product should you use to achieve it? They’ll be happy to answer all of it. So just ask them! They might snip but they won’t bite.