The old saying: “buy cheap, buy twice,” works fine for clothes, cars and, heck, even kebabs. However, when it comes to barbers, there’s no chance at a second snip (not for at least several weeks). So it pays to know you can trust whoever is holding the clippers to your head or a razor to your throat.
With that in mind, we asked some of the UK’s top barbers and celebrity groomers to reveal the red flags every man can look out for when on the hunt for a chair to get a chop in.
How To Spot A Bad Barber (According To Barbers)
“It does not matter what price you are paying, a barbershop needs to be spotless. If they don’t care about the shop, they probably don’t care about your hair.”
Director of Manifesto London, Mikey Pearson.
“It takes, on average, 10-minutes for tools to be sterilized. If your barber is simply dipping a comb in Barbercide or spraying the clippers in front of you, the chances are the equipment being used is not sterilized.”
General manager at Pall Mall Barbers, Daniel Davies.
“The most important thing is the consultation, they should give you some suggestions and should never be too quick to bring out the clippers.”
Founder of barbershop and grooming brand Pankhurst London, Brent Pankhurst.
“If the barber fails to prep the skin properly before shaving [that’s a red flag]. It’s vital to ensure a hot towel relaxes the skin thoroughly and opens the pores, comfort is paramount, and the nose and mouth must be left free to breathe easy.”
Ted’s Grooming Room’s master barber.
“You should be advised on what products to use for your specific hair type, what styling products to use to keep the haircut looking its best and any tips for styling your hair – if a hairdresser or barber is unable or unwilling to do this, stay away in the future.”
Celebrity men’s hairstylist and owner of Joe & Co, Joe Mills.
“A barber shop which has a great shop front display means they have a good eye for detail. Avoid anywhere with dog-eared black and white photos from 1994.” Director of Manifesto London, Mikey Pearson.
“Look out for barbers that queue watch. If there is a first come, first serve system, be wary. Sometimes this works perfectly fine but sometimes, barbers can be known to speed up or slow down the haircut in order to see or avoid certain people.” General manager at Pall Mall Barbers, Daniel Davies.
“[Be wary of] a barber that doesn’t use a brand new blade when shaving. Not only should this be done for ease of use but for hygiene purposes as well.” Ted’s Grooming Room’s master barber.
“Just as you should do your research, a barber should too. If you ask about the latest hair trends and they don’t know – run.” Director of Manifesto London, Mikey Pearson.
“Time is everything. If you see a shop which does 10-minute appointments, that means the shop is thinking quantity over quality.” Director of Manifesto London, Mikey Pearson.
“[Never go back to a] barber who doesn’t consider shaving aftercare. After shaving is finished, they should clear the face of any creamy remnants and administer a second hot towel, to relieve the face of the exertions of the blade. Just because the skin has no cuts, it doesn’t mean that recovery from fatigue isn’t necessary.” Ted’s Grooming Room’s master barber.