Barbers Vs Hairdressers: What are the Key Differences?

At first glance, it might seem like there is little to separate barbers and hairdressers. Both are professionals who specialize in caring for our hair, and both play an important role in helping us look and feel our best. However, there are several key differences between these two professions.

Are Barbers for Men and Hairdressers for Women?

When it comes to hair care, men and women have different needs and preferences. For many men, a barbershop is the preferred destination for a haircut and shave. Barbers are trained in a wide range of traditional and modern hairstyles for men, as well as beard design and maintenance. 

In recent years, barbershops have become increasingly popular with women, who appreciate the quality cuts and old-fashioned service. However, most women still choose to visit a hair salon, where they can enjoy a comprehensive range of services, from colouring and perming to straightening and nails. While both men and women are welcome at either type of establishment, each gender typically prefers the place that best meets their individual needs.

Responsibilities of Barbers vs. Hairdressers

The responsibilities of barbers and hairdressers are somewhat similar, except for a varying degree of services and their general clientele. Barbers are most commonly male hair stylists who work with men’s hair and beards. Due to the work being more male-focused, barbers are more likely to work with electric and straight razors than hairdressers. Hairdressers tend to work in beauty salons where they work with women and men, although their expertise may lean more towards specialized female services, such as perms and highlights. Because they work with a wider range of clients, hairdressers must be able to adapt their styles to meet the needs and preferences of everyone. 

In both cases, however, creativity and customer service are essential skills. A successful barber or hairdresser must be able to understand the demographics of their clientele and deliver looks that reflect the latest trends while still being flattering to each unique individual.

Typical Barber Duties

Barbers are masters of men’s hairstyling, providing top-notch cuts and grooming services to their clients. Using a combination of scissors, clippers, and straight razors, these skilled professionals work with precision and creativity to achieve the desired look for their clients. To do this effectively, barbers must establish open communication with their clients so that they fully understand the look that is being sought. 

To be a successful barber, one must have excellent interpersonal skills as well as stay on one’s feet for long periods of time. This requires stamina and flexibility to stay engaged with each client while also maintaining high levels of attention throughout the day. 

Barbers are responsible for:

  • Maintaining clean and sterile equipment
  • Keeping a clean and organised workstation
  • Being up-to-date and knowledgeable on the latest hairstyles and hair products
  • Collecting payments from clients

Typical Hairdresser Duties

As a hairdresser, you will be responsible for cutting, styling, and colouring hair. You will need to be able to work long hours without sitting and be adept with the tools of your trade, such as scissors, curling irons, and hairdryers. You must understand cutting-edge techniques like mixing colours and adding extensions, as well as style the latest styles for wedding parties. 

Over time, a roster of loyal clients is usually built that may follow you from salon to salon. As a hairdresser, you must be able to provide outstanding customer service and make your clients feel welcome and comfortable. To build a successful career in hairdressing, you must be passionate about your work and always strive to learn new techniques. 

A hairdresser is responsible for:

  • Following current styles and trends
  • Keeping a database of services and products offered to customers
  • Teaching clients how to care for their hair 
  • Maintaining a clean, friendly, and comfortable work environment

Barber Training Vs Hairdresser Training

Hairstylists and barbers often receive about the same amount of training, but the content differs. As part of their training, hairstylists, and barbers practise on real clients. Barber training concentrates on specific haircuts and shaving safety, while hairstylists study how to create a cut based on client choice and style and how to handle dyeing materials.

Become a Barber with BSW At The Barbering School of Wales, we offer both part-time and full-time barbering courses. Students that complete either of both our fast track 9-week courses and part-time 22-week courses are awarded an NVQ level 2 barbering qualification.