Some of us have trouble communicating with our barbers, and that’s why some of us can never get the haircut that we want (of course there is also an element of barbers’ skill and experience – that is a different story)
Sure, most barbers have the skill to interpret and decipher what we want, but why risk walking out the door not being happy with the service 100%?
Whip it out
With millions of photos available on the internet, you are bound to be able to find some 'inspiration' on how you want your hair to look like.
Save that on your phone, or if you prefer the more old-school way, do a magazine cut-out. Show your barber during the consultation.
You can even do a 'collection' - eg. I want my back and sides to look like this [Picture A], and I want my top to look like this [Picture B].
Remember, don't be shy - it is your money so speak up so the barber can give you what you want - or at least as close as possible (more below).
Ask for consent
Now that you have expressed what you want, let the barber suggest the best course of action.
It is important to trust your barber's experience - sometimes what you want might not be achievable (either at the time, or ever, depending on your hair's length, thickness, texture, moisture, etc), or simply might not be a good fit for you (eg. your face shape, or 'artistic differences').
Remember, a barber has your best interest in mind; but if your gut tells you that you should stick with your original idea - be assertive. You are the boss after all.
Cry about your problems
It helps if you let the barber know what you don't like about your hair.
Are there areas you find difficult to manage?
Are the products you are using giving you the look you want?
Are you sick and tired of the time you need to style your hair every morning?
More often than not, your barber should be able to provide you with suggestions on how to tackle those problems; but if you don't speak up, they wouldn't know where to start.
Closing the deal
It is always better to be specific with how much you want your hair to be taken off.
Haircutting is more of an art than a science, and it is all relative, what a trim means to a barber could be a skin fade to another.
So to make sure your hair doesn't get cut too short, let the barber know exactly you are expecting.
If you are not sure, speak up - a good barber will cut just a bit off to see if you like it before he proceeds.
It also helps if you know the guard number on the clipper from your previous haircuts.
Put in the work
What are you willing to do to achieve the hairstyle that you want?
Your barber can give you the best haircut of your life, but if you are not willing to put in the work AFTER the haircut, you are never going to get the hairstyle that you want.
(yes there’s a difference between a haircut and a hairstyle)
If the hairstyle you want requires you to blowdry dry your hair, followed with a million other styling & holding products, but you are too lazy to put in the work every morning, that hairstyle is probably not for you.
Remember, barbers are not miracle workers or mind readers - so be realistic and let them know your preferences. If they offer some suggestions/modifications to your requests, do try factoring them in. When in doubt, don't be afraid to ask questions. Most importantly, sit back on the plush barber chair, and enjoy the process.