The Consultation: Questions You Should Ask Your Barber

There are some experiences in life for men that can be purely nerve wrecking. From visiting the doctor, to tying the knot with your loved one, or worse, sharing that first encounter with a new barber. Apprehension and uncertainty can go hand in hand with that barber visit. A first tinder date and barber visit share some similarities. New residents into a city are like fresh fish waiting to get caught and reeled in by the neighborhood shop. Sometimes it’s the price or the shop presentation that may spark some interest, enticing a guy to enter. Nonetheless, once that new barber has you in that vice grip of barber cords, your in his / her hands. But to help you avoid looking absolutely clueless, here’s a quick check list of critical questions and thoughts you should consider before a towel, a clipper, or cap comes anywhere near you.

Clean Presentation

Sanitation is more than half of the work when looking for a quality haircut. A barber who doesn’t keep their station garbage-free demonstrates complete negligence. That should be an immediate red flag. A professioal barber should be very familiar with the various ways to clean their tools. This is a sign of carelessness that may be reflected in your haircut. Nothing’s worse then a fresh haircut only to come home seeing razor and various hygienic reactions because he / she failed to properly clean their products.

Note: Be sure to observe if the barber washes and sanitizes their hands before beginning the cut and sanitizes the proper tools.

Credit: La Barberia Barber College

Training Facility and Licensing

The hairstyling industry has a tendency to keep some of its spotlight talent under the radar simply because some are not properly licensed by the state. It may be great that you’re in someone’s chair who can provide the dopest fade but it is lousy and lazy if they didn’t fulfill the proper requirements to be certified by a state to cut hair. Ask a simple question like, “So where did you study;” or “How did you get into the trade?” If the barber can’t answer, you may want to reconsider that next cut. I’ve personally seen barbershops, from high to low end, shut down because of improper licensing.

Payment Process

It’s 2017 so carrying pieces of plastic as payment for services is becoming more prevalent. It doesn’t hurt to ask if the shop or service accepts cards, or newer payment methods such as apps like Venmo, Paypal, Apple Pay, etc. These can provide for a super easy transaction process without having to run out for change or having to pay that dreaded ATM fee. Local barbers should be open to multiple methods of payment.

No Venmo bruh?

Portfolio Request

Gone are the days of the classic barber charts plastered on the walls. Barbers should be up to date with technology courtesy of Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook & any other visual portfolio. Browsing through a quick catalog of work creates another level of comfort as you take a seat in a new barber’s chair. So don’t be shy about asking to see their work before those clippers are turned on.


I’m sure a walk-in sounds pleasing and accommodating but the ability to schedule an appointment really makes a shop stand out. It speaks to a level of professionalism that ensures both the barber and client take the service seriously. A barber or stylist who is aware of the time will most likely be respectful of you and your time while they have you in the chair. This behavior includes not taking multiple breaks in between cuts, not picking up lunch while you wait, or – a personal favorite – not using the phone. So as a first timer, be sure to ask the shop if they are an appointment-based business. If you do it for a doctor visit, car repair service, or massage, why not hold your barber/stylist to the same level of accountability?


Shave Cream vs. Shave Gel

We know trying to decide a shaving lubricant is liking picking your favorite sports team – you have to let it choose you. It all boils down to personal preference and looked at subjectively. After reading, you have to ask yourself: what exactly do I look for in shaving?

We look for main shaving variants to provide the two important functions: preventing drying out of the skin & giving the smoothest shave and buffer between the skin and the razor.

Skin sensitivity is a common concern when we talk about shaving. Nobody wants the constant nicks, bumps, or skin burns. We’ve come to find that shaving cream has the best overall performance when it comes to a quality shave. From the richness and general application on the skin, its the perfect cushion needed. It usually comes in a tube or tub and works nicely with a shave brush. The shave brush is the key tool ensuring you cover all the grounds of facial hair you want removed. It also does the job of lifting the hair (when brushed in circular motions) guaranteeing the tough stubble is lifted & covered. Most experts say it may be healthier on the skin but be mindful of certain alcohol-based ones which may result in creams drying faster on the face thus re-applying already covered areas.

If you’re like me, time sensitivity is everything when using a product. If I can grab Dunkin Doughnuts coffee, drop off laundry, and squeeze a quick shave in, I’m a happy man. If you’re anything like that then I’d direct you over to shave gel. For those with a goatee or facial hair, shaving gel’s transparent texture allows you to know exactly where you wish the razor to go. It also prevents you from shaving over an area you already covered. I find shaving gel is a bit more travel friendly too. It’s a easy clean up for those accident spills and does not lather up. Ultimately, the best shaving lubricants are those that contain ingredients that not only protect your skin but also soothe and repair it. They provide moisture to keep your face soft and vibrant.


Shave Cream:

  • You have the additional time of lather preparation (and clean up) during your routine.
  • Thick & full lather.
  • Willing to purchase a shave brush to fully maximize the cream’s application.
  • May be a bit more expensive.
  • Observant of the ingredients that makes the cream.
  • Mostly scented.
  • Generally longer clean up process.

Shave Gel:

  • You’ll need less of the product during the shave.
  • Aiming to clean up a beard line. Easier to see.
  • It does not dry up.
  • Easier to avoid cutting into sensitive skin (breakouts etc.)
  • Unscented most of time.