Barber vs Hairstylist

Have you ever had a situation where you doubt where you need to book a haircut? Men usually have options of going to a barber or a hairstylist. Which one’s which? What do they do? Are they different, or is it just the same person with another name?

Suppose you fear getting one of the ugly haircuts for not knowing the professional’s title when getting your hair done. In that case, it is better to determine the difference between a barber vs. hairstylist.

We are here to answer that question for you and will help you properly make an appointment next time you do some male styling.

Who Is a Hairstylist

Being that the industry is slowly moving toward upscale hairstyles, a hairstylist is a person that receives significantly more training in setting and styling the hair.

Instead of using traditional barber shop equipment, a hairstylist is much more proficient with scissors and can cut longer hair and set it correctly. It is not strange for hairstylists to provide their services to men and women.

They also know all the proper haircut names but cannot give you a traditional shave as a barber can. What they can do is style your beard as precisely as possible.

More so, they specialize in providing the necessary hair treatments and are also proficient in coloring your hair. A hairstylist will also be able to tell you the difference between pomade vs. wax vs. gel vs. clay, even if you wake them up in the middle of the night.

Who Is a Barber

A barber is your typical and traditional professional who cuts men’s hair. They specialize in the more usual type of shorter and universal haircuts. Their primary barber shop tools are clippers, not scissors, aiming to cut your hair without any frills.

A barber is a person that your dad or even grandad went to. It is not as exciting as going to a saloon, but they get the job done. What they can do for you is cut, blend, fade, and shave your hair.

Barbers are the only specialized ones to provide a straight razor shave. They can also help you trim your beard and mustache and give you a scalp massage.

Also, if you plan to get a shave there, you are getting one with lather and a straight razor, the real way men are supposed to shave.

Barber Shaving Man's Beard

Differences (Hairstylist vs Barber)


As far as the services go, a barber gives a more traditional haircut, something closer to a flat-top haircut. You are basically in and out of a chair, as it usually takes them around 10 minutes to finish the job.

However, a hairstylist takes much longer to cut and set your hair and is more proficient in man bun hairstyles. They also provide such services as coloring hair and giving various hair treatments.


Both barbers and hairstylists receive an appropriate education. Stylists are the ones that tend to receive more, but the two are thought to utilize completely different techniques when dealing with your hair.

A barber usually uses a clipper-over-comb technique, while stylists prefer scissors and comb combinations.


The place where a barber works are entirely different compared to a salon operated by a hairstylist. The environment in a barbershop is more masculine and laid back.

On the other hand, a hair salon is more spacious as you need room to provide backwash treatments for a wet hair look.

Hairstylist Tools

How to Choose Between Barber vs Hairstylist

Now that you can tell the two apart, you will have to choose where to go. Here are some tips to help you decide where to go.

  • Determine the style and the cut that you wish to get.
  • Research the barbershops and salons in your area and read reviews about them.
  • If you know somebody who has had a haircut in a specific place, ask around and see what their opinion about their services is.
  • Bring a photo of the haircut that you want with you and show it. That way, you avoid any misunderstandings.


What is the difference between a barbershop and a salon?

A barbershop is much smaller in scale and size and comes with a laid-back and masculine atmosphere. On the other hand, a hair salon is more spacious and has much more equipment than a barbershop does.

Should a guy go to a salon or a barber?

Depending on the hairstyle you like and the haircut’s prices, a guy can go to both places. It depends on the style of hair they want to get and the type of their hair.


Now you know what the difference between a barber and a hairstylist is. We can’t tell you how much to tip the barber, as that is your choice. But according to everything that we’ve explained, you will be able to find your way to an appropriate person for the haircut or shave that you want.

Michele Antunes

About the author: Michele Antunes

Michele Meesh Antunes is the lady of the Beardoholic writers team and a genius when it comes to hair and beard styles that suit any face shape. She’s been a barber for years now and, no matter your personal style, she knows exactly what beard, hairstyle and length suit you. She brings the women’s perspective on beards, beard care, haircuts and hairstyles and male grooming.

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