What Does a Master Barber Do?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 June 2019
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Master barbers are trained professionals in the field of cosmetology who usually focus on hair styling and grooming for men. What tends to set a master barber apart from barbers or hair stylists is the scope of experience and the quality of service they provide. Usually a master barber will be well-trained in how to work with hair textures of all types, have a demonstrated capacity to successfully master any type of hair style, and is also proficient with other types of grooming such as shaping beards and trimming eyebrows. Barbers of this type sometimes own their own shops or work for others while building a loyal clientele that tends to follow them from one working establishment to the next.

A master barber possesses skills that allow the professional to manage just about any type of task associated with hair care and styling. This level of proficiency often comes with experience, as the barber works with different types of hair and begins to get an idea of what type of cuts and styles are the most appropriate for different customers. Barbers of this type are also well-versed in tasks such as hair coloring or processes that can be used to straighten hair or introduce waves or curls into the hairstyle. Essentially, a master barber has the skills and the background to take on just about any type of styling project and complete the tasks necessary to the satisfaction of the customer.


In order to maintain the status of a master barber, this hair care professional will often participate in seminars that provide instruction and information on new hairstyles, advances in hair care products, and the development of newer tools for use in the industry. It is not unusual for a master barber to take advantage of continuing education opportunities throughout his or her career, making it possible to constantly enhance the ability to meet the demands of customers in terms of newer styles and ideas.

One of the more common pathways to becoming a master barber is to spend some time as a barber’s apprentice. This will usually occur after securing a barber’s license and being able to function within the industry. By apprenticing to an established master barber, it is possible to learn many of the nuances of running a shop or working with clients that are not usually included in basic hair styling courses. This approach also allows the fledgling barber to slowly begin building a clientele, something that can be very helpful if the goal is to eventually open a shop.


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Post 7

How many types of scissors are used by a barber?

Post 4

@Izzy78 - I believe I have also heard that about barbers getting basic training in medicine. Having gotten several of those shaves, I know how important it is to stay still, but I have heard a lot of stories about people moving and getting very serious cuts.

I would also be willing to guess that master barber training also gives them advise on how to run a successful business. Since barber shops aren't nearly as common as they used to be, it is important to know how to market your business and get regular customers.

Personally, I prefer going to barber shops over regular hair salons. I always feel like I get much better service, and I enjoy the conversation that goes along with the hair cut. The amount of topics some barbers are knowledgeable in is amazing, and I think that is another good characteristic of successful barbers.

Post 3

@TreeMan - Very interesting. I never thought about everything that would be involved behind the scenes. I think another one of the reasons that something like a master barber license exists is because barbers used to do a lot more than cut hair. I watched a documentary about the history of barbers one time, and it was very interesting.

Apparently, before doctors were readily available, barbers used to serve as the first line of medical care for a lot of people. The colors on the traditional barber's pole actually represent bandages, blood, and veins.

In the documentary, they also talked about all of the skills that are taught in barber schools. Obviously, hair care is the biggest part of

it, but barbers must also learn anatomy and basic medical care. Some of it stems from the tradition of barbers, but the main purpose now is in case of accidents while working. I figure most people have seen a straight razor like are used in barber shops. When cuts happen, they can be very serious, and it's important to know how to deal with the issue.
Post 2

@Emilski - Having had a couple of barbers in my family, I can tell you that there is indeed a lot more to cutting hair than you would originally think.

My uncle and grandfather were both barbers until they retired. They said that one of the biggest challenges for them was doing the hair cuts that were currently in style. For example, a lot of guys wanted their hair to look like George Clooney's at one point. Although they could have used their skills to get pretty close, the classes helped them figure out how to get the right look on a variety of head shapes as well as how to do variations on the look.

Like every industry, there are always advances in technology. The classes also teach barbers how to use new types of clippers, dyes, and hair care products.

Post 1

I never realized there was so much involved in becoming a barber. I just assumed you went to some type of school and then were ready to go. This seems more like becoming a master in some other skill like plumbing or electricity. I think it is good to have programs like this to make sure barbers are staying up to date on the latest hair care information.

That being said, what is there really to study when it comes to hair? It seems to me that once you learn the basics of how to cut and style that you could apply it to almost anything. I suppose there have to be things I'm not thinking about or else they wouldn't offer those types of classes to barbers. Does anyone have any ideas?

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