Too many men today are missing out on the benefits of having a great relationship with a high quality regular barber. The barbershop tradition seems to be fading  and modern men just end up going to the closest barbershop chain or unisex salon to get their hair cut. Here’s the problem, every time they go to get a haircut, they end up with a different stylist.  With each visit you are forced to explain over and over again how they’d like it cut.  But “a little off the sides” means one thing to one stylist and another thing to another stylist.  Stylists also have the tendency (in our experience) to try to correct what they see as mistakes that a previous barber/stylist made.  You already know this is not good a thing for your hairline.

Consequently, a man who goes to a unisex chain salon walks out with a completely different haircut at each visit. This is never a good thing for a man trying to maintain a consistent image in his professional or occupation.

“Every man needs a reliable, skilled barber in his life. Having a regular barber will ensure that you get a consistent, sharp haircut with every visit. You can set an appointment online and go in for a trim before a big interview without gambling on whether or not you’ll come out looking like you were attacked by a weed whacker.”

Men like you need a reliable, experienced and skilled barber in your lives. Having a regular barber will ensure you get a consistent, sharp haircut with every visit. You can set an online appointment and go in to get tightened up before a big interview without taking a risk on whether or not you’ll come out looking like you were attacked by a weed whacker or worse.

But how does a man go about  finding a good barber and forging this important relationship? How do you know when a barber is a keeper? To help steer you straight we asked some of the leading barbers and we boiled thier suggestions into a short the list of the three things they say you must consider:  1. The experience and reputation of the barber(s) for quality haircuts, 2. The barbershop wait times, 3. The quality and cleanliness of the barbershop.  They also suggested how you should get started.

Search online. After asking people you know for barber recommendations, check out what the hive mind of the web has to say. In order to find more masculine establishments as opposed to foo-fooey unisex places, Ben and Von suggested that you run Google searches with keywords like “men’s grooming in x-city” or “barbershops in x-town.” Also, check out barbershop reviews on sites like citysearch.com and yelp.com. Finally, be sure to take a gander at the AoM’s world famous barbershop locator. Hundreds of shops have been added to it and the database grows daily.

Ask around. If you’re new in town or aren’t happy with your current barber situation, the first thing you should do is ask people you know for recommendations. Especially seek out recommendations from men who always seem to have awesome haircuts. Chances are they have a great barber that they’d be more than happy to recommend to you.

The BARBER

Does the barber ask the right questions? Dallas says a good barber will ask you questions like, “What do you like about your hair?” “What don’t you like?” “Do you want to change your style?”When you sit down in the barber chair and the barber puts the hair drape around your neck, listen to see if the barber asks the right questions. Davis says if the first question the barber asks you is, “What number do you want on the sides?” run out of the shop immediately. Barbers who rely solely on clipper guards to cut hair tend to be lazy and unskilled. Besides, haircuts done with just clippers tend to be mediocre. I mean, come on. You can give yourself a haircut if you know what number guard to put on the clippers. Why pay a man $10 to do something you could do yourself?Barbershop Wait Time:

The next big problem is the wait.  Oh, the dreaded barbershop wait is all too frequent for the best barbers in town.  They have eared a reputation for the quality of their work and their waiting rooms often show it.  So, you have the kinds game on Saturday and a flight to catch early in the week.  What do you do?  Here’s where the very best barbers have gone to online appointment systems.  From your cell phone or computer you can see his available times next week select the one that works best for you – say on your lunch break on Wednesday.  You arrive ten minuted early and are in his chair right on time and back in your car within 30- 45 minutes with the best cut ever.  Now that is the professional relationship you’ve been looking for and don’t mind paying to get.

When You’re at the Shop

Good barbers have a memory like an elephant. As you visit a first rate barber regularly, he’ll become familiar with the many contours of your head and the complexities of your hair growth pattern and will know how to cut and style your hair exactly the way you like it. You’ll be able to walk in and simply ask for “the usual.” Plus, your barber can become a good friend, someone you can be comfortable shooting the breeze with and look forward to seeing every few weeks.

Look for confidence. This is a man you’re going to be trusting your noggin to, so you want a barber who’s supremely confident in his abilities to sculpt your hair into a masterpiece. Confident barbers will look you in the eye, smile, and give you a firm manly handshake when you first walk in. If a barber you visit for the first time avoids eye contact and gives you the limp fish, it could be a warning sign that he’s not that confident in his abilities.

You also want a barber who can confidently tell you what would work best for you depending on your requests and your face shape and structure. Barbers without much experience or confidence in their craft will do exactly what the client says, even if what the client asks for will look like crap. A good barber will have the stones to speak up and offer suggestions to the client to help guide them to something more suited for their face. Of course, if the client insists on his crappy cut, a good barber will do exactly what the client asks.

Check how well groomed the barber is. Give a new barber the once over. How is his personal grooming? Chances are if the barber has a crummy haircut and shave, he gives crummy haircuts and shaves. How is his clothing? Pressed and clean? This kind of attention to detail will likely carry over into the haircuts he gives. A great barber takes his personal appearance seriously because he’s in the business of helping men with their personal and professional image.

Take note of the shop’s cleanliness. If just looking in a certain shop makes your head itch, turn and walk the other way. Of course, most city health regulations have eliminated the “lice shops” that were once common in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but sometimes shops get lost in the bureaucracy, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

In addition to the checking how sanitary the place is, just look for overall organization and order. Again, a barber with an eye for detail will make sure his shop and working area are in tiptop shape. If you notice that a barber has tools all over the place and mounds of hair under the chair, that kind of sloppiness may end up reflected in your hair cut.