Whether you run a salon or barbershop, you want to make sure your offerings match your client’s expectations…

That may seem obvious, but there are plenty of instances where clients book with a barbershop, only to find hair stylists working there who aren’t trained in the art of bald fades or zero fades. (We see you, barbers!) And of course, it happens the other way around, too.

That’s why in this blog, we’re breaking down the differences between barbers and hair stylists, so you can be sure when your clients book with you, they know exactly what they’re getting (and you have the right skill set to wow them!)

Barber vs Hair Stylist: What’s the Difference?

The biggest difference between booking a hair appointment with a barber or a hair stylist? It all comes down to who’s behind the chair. 


Barbers are trained to cut short, traditional haircuts using a major tool in the barber kit: clippers. This typically means barbers are the go-to for shorter men’s cuts. 

With men’s hair as their primary focus, barbers need to know how to blend and fade, while the most notable difference from a stylist is the art of shaving. Rather than a stylist, barbers are the pros providing straight razor shaves.

If you’re a barber, there’s one offering you must have: the hot lather and straight razor shave, which barber shops are famous for and salons don’t have.  

What barbers offer (that stylists don’t)

  • Cut and fades (a barber’s bread and butter)
  • Customized designs (show your creative side!)
  • Straight-razor shaves
  • Beard and mustache trimming

Hair Stylist

While it’s true that the line between barbers and hair stylists is becoming more and more blurred, what you offer as a stylist comes down to just that: style

The art of styling hair is what clients expect when they book with a hair stylist. And styling involves some serious skills with scissors for longer hair. 

As a stylist, clients will come to you for everything from a haircut to coloring and chemical services, such as perming.

What hair stylists offer (that barbers don’t)

  • Scissor work (for longer hair)
  • Color
  • Chemical services
  • Product recommendations

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