Professional Barber Styling Men's Hair With Scissors

It might seem silly, but some people don’t know how to convey to their barber what kind of haircut they want. This kind of miscommunication often results in the person having to live with an unwanted haircut for a month or until his hair grows back.

If you don’t want this to happen, you must learn how to ask for a haircut. You will know how to do that through this article.

Common Terminology

Taper vs Fade

These terms are often used interchangeably, usually by those unfamiliar with them. Technically speaking, a fade gradually blends into the skin. A taper, on the other hand, is a less extreme fade. The hair slowly gets thinner, but there is still more hair on the sides of the head compared to a fade.

Clipper Sizes or Haircut Numbers

These are haircuts based on the hair clipper guards used. This is how you will ask for the length of hair on top of your head. After you say the thickness of the guard, the barber would then proceed to cut all your hair at the same length and then deal with the sides later.


Essentially, the barber will add different lengths/layers within the hair. This will result in a haircut that looks messy but still looks natural. While it is kind of messy, it still does not look unkempt. You want to do this if you want to remove a bit of weight from your hair while still giving it a bit of volume.

Short Sides and Long Top

Many are already familiar with this term as it is pretty standard. It is a trendy haircut with the topmost part being longer and the back and sides shorter. Most types of haircuts are in this category.

Layering or Thinning

The term thinning means to lessen the thickness of your hair through a haircut. This procedure is perfect for anyone with thick and unmanageable hair. It may be necessary to use special thinning scissors to do this process. Barbers also use scissors to remove the weight from your hair, making everything manageable.

Haircut Numbers

Haircut numbers are essentially the numbers stamped on the hair clipper guards. Each number corresponds to a specific hair length.

  • #1 Guard – 1/8”
  • #2 Guard – ¼”
  • #3 Guard– 3/8”
  • #4 Guard – ½”
  • #5 Guard – 5/8”
  • #6 Guard – ¾”
  • #7 Guard – 7/8”
  • #8 Guard – 1”

When you ask for a haircut number, you say what length you want your hair cut.

11 Most Common Haircuts for Men

Buzz Cut

The buzz cut is one of the most popular haircuts you can try. It refers to a close-cropped haircut, usually based on a Number 1 or 2. This is so easy to do since you only need to ensure that your hair is the same length. You can do this at home even if you do not have the best barbershop tools. A regular hair clipper will be enough to get this cut.


An undercut haircut has a sharp contrast between the top and sides of your head. The hair on top of your head is often quite long. Meanwhile, the sides and back are significantly shorter. Usually, this style uses a hair clipper guard 2 sizes below the top.

Crew Cut

This haircut is somewhat similar to a buzz cut. However, the hair on top is slightly longer. This is usually based on a Number 3 or 4 haircut, and the sides get a high fade treatment.

Barber Styling Men's Hair

French Crop

This haircut is identifiable by the short fringe over the forehead. This is a low-maintenance yet still cool and trendy haircut. It is the ideal choice for people who always rush out the door every morning because of their hectic schedules.

Caesar Cut

The Caesar is similar to a crew cut, but the difference is that this has a fringe. Instead of getting longer towards the front, it retains the traditional short sides and back. This is ideal for men who have somewhat curly hair. It also has the advantage of growing out into a slicked-back hairdo.

Speaking of which, hair oils improve growth, so use them whenever you can. To style your hair into a Caesar, brush your hair forward and let your fringe rest on your forehead.

Side Part

This is one of the most popular gentleman’s go-to haircuts. This is similar to a combover, but it will work better if you follow the natural growth pattern of your hair. Unlike the combover, though, the side part can work with a shorter hair length. Embrace the cowlick as it is also stylish right now.

Comb Over

Unlike the side part, the combover has all of the hair brushed over to one side. There is no visible parting. Typically, comb-overs are textured using premium hair-cutting shears to give them a laid-back feel.

Faux Hawk

This is a less-extreme version of the mohawk. As the name states, this only mimics the look of the iconic punk hairstyle. The hair on top is still quite thick and the sides can either be tapered or faded. To style, the faux hawk, apply a bit of product to your hair and then push it towards the middle to give the impression of a mohawk.


You will need to keep the hair on top of your head long and thick and then have the sides tapered or faded. To style your hair into a pompadour, use a liberal amount of hair wax or gel, comb your hair up and gather most of it at the front.


The taper is any cut with the sides significantly shorter than the top. This is called a taper because the thickness of the hair on the head’s sides gradually gets thinner the further you go down.


This is a more extreme version of the taper using fade hair clippers. This usually starts thinner and higher than a taper and would generally fade into a shave before reaching the ears. You can usually pair the fade haircut with short-cropped haircuts, like a crew cut or Caesar.

Quick Tips on Good Communication With a Barber

Know What You Want

Nothing frustrates a barber more than customers who don’t know what they want. Before heading to the barbershop, research and choose a hairstyle you would like to have. Of course, you must consider your hair type when choosing a haircut.

Show a Picture

A picture is worth a thousand words. Rather than explaining to your barber in ridiculous detail what kind of haircut you want, show him a shot. After finding your ideal haircut, save a picture of it on your phone so that you have something to show your barber later.

Bearded Man Showing Picture to a Barber

Describe the Cut You Want

If you cannot find a picture of a hairstyle that you want precisely, you can go for one that is somewhat close to it. Show that one to your barber and then explain the changes you would like to make.

Share Your Concerns

If you are clueless about what kind of haircut you would like, tell your barber about your concerns with your hair. Are you feeling a bit insecure about your receding hairline? Do you want a haircut that is easy to style and low-maintenance? Talk to your barber about the things you are concerned about and he will be more than happy to give suggestions.

Know Your Hair Care Habits

Speaking of hair concerns, you should also be mindful of your hair care habits when choosing a hairstyle. Do you have time every morning to style your hair into a pompadour? That kind of hairstyle takes quite a bit of time to look right.

Also, when you return home in the evening, are you often too tired even to shower? A pompadour uses a lot of hair styling products; you need to wash them out at the end of the day to prevent hair damage.

Remember when choosing a haircut so you will not regret making the wrong decision later.


How much do haircuts cost?

According to a guide to barber prices, in the US, the average price range for a haircut is around $40 to $66. This cost will also greatly depend on where you live.

What not to tell your barber?

Whatever you do, do not tell your barber to give you a haircut that he thinks will suit you. This will only put unnecessary pressure on your hairstylist to read your mind. It may also put him in a bad spot if you are unsatisfied with the result.

How to tell your barber you don’t like the haircut?

Just be honest without being abrasive. First, you should have told your barber exactly what you wanted. Just tell your barber what you didn’t like about your haircut and ask the barber if there is something he can do about it. You may also ask him if he can give some advice on how you can style your hair just the way you like.

How to talk to your barber about the haircut you want?

Be as descriptive as you can. Tell him what you would like your hair to look like. In addition, bring a couple of pictures of the hairstyle that you want to have. You are doing your barber a favor by telling him exactly what you like.

How much to tip my barber?

Typically, you should tip around 15% to 20% of the total bill for excellent service. If he does not own the shop, the average barber’s salary is relatively low, so tip whenever you can.


You must communicate well with your barber about what kind of haircut you want. Note that you will live with whatever you get for at least a month. Aside from choosing the right barber, you must pick the right haircut. If you are unsure, consult your barber about what he thinks would suit you, and then choose one of his suggestions.

Vinnie - Barber

About the author: Vinnie – Barber

Vinnie is one of the members of the Beardoholic writers team. He’s also a barber and hairstylist for 15 years now and he has a kick-ass beard of his own, so he surely knows what makes a magnificent beard and hair and how to achieve them. He’s our go-to guy for all the latest beard and hairstyle trends and he always has a tip or two on how to grow and style a thick beard fast.

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