Get a Better Haircut From Your Barber
You can score a pricey stylist’s cut at barber shop prices — you just need to know how to get a better haircut from your barber.
By Charli Rousseau
Does it really matter how much you pay for a haircut? Absolutely.
A man with a $12 haircut looks like he should be teaching math to eighth graders. A man with a $55 haircut looks like he should be on a boat with women who hang out with men on boats.
If you’re on a tight budget, $55+ at a high-end salon sounds obscene, even if you do get a neck massage and cup of espresso. On the other hand, paying $20 shouldn’t mean you get a choice of Buzz Cut 1 or Buzz Cut 2. So how do you get the most bang for your buck? For starters, you can follow these tips to squeeze as much stylist talent as you can from your barber.
Now, what’s the difference between a high-end salon and barber shop (or even Supercuts)? “High-end salons will tend to give better haircuts,” said celebrity hair stylist Marco Pelusi, owner of Marco Pelusi Hair Studio in West Hollywood, Calif. It also employs more stylists, who tend to focus on the latest trends, luxury treatment and customizing your cut and color to fit your face — all for a price tag fit for John Edwards.
How about midrange men’s grooming salons? “There are some really great mid-range priced men’s grooming salons that do a good job,” says Pelusi. And many of them employ both stylists and barbers, who tend to focus on more traditional cuts as well as grooming (shaves, etc.). At $30-$40, a mid-range salon is a reliable place to start.
Holding steady at “yes, we still exist” are barber shops, which have the reputation of giving a clean cut (aka the crew cut) and a classy shave to everyone. We’re talking $20-ish now. That said, barber shops have come a long way since your dad’s childhood; now you can get more variety at modernized shops like Floyd’s 99.
And just a notch down on the price chain is a cheap chain salon like Supercuts. “You can sometimes stumble upon a good hairstylist there, but it’s risky,” says Pelusi.
Now here’s where you ask yourself: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do you? If not, we asked our experts how to improve your odds. Our theory: With the right training, you can transform your local barber into a bona fide stylist, someone who could give you a cut that actually looks good on you, for a fraction of a high-end salon’s price. The secret? Communication. No matter your wallet size, you shouldn’t walk out of a shop with bad hair if you know how to effectively convey your vision to the person who’s doing the cutting. After all, it is a service. Even if you’re not sure what you want, we’ll show you how to make sure you get a style that agrees with you.
So, no more feeling it’s out of your hands when your barber gets scissor-happy. No more “eh, it’s shorter than I wanted.” And no more worrying about that receding hairline, widow’s peak, cowlick or slowly expanding bald spot. Read on for what to say, what to ask and what not to do — including the No. 1 mistake made by most men. It’s all covered in this neat little Hair 101.