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How To Ask For A Haircut: Beginners’ Guide To Barber Lingo

Last Updated on: May 10, 2024

A barber could mess up your hair if you don’t know how to explain a haircut.

Truth is…

Sometimes you may have a clear idea of what you want but struggle to put it into words. Sometimes you explain something accurately, but your barber doesn’t get it.

When you don’t have a picture to show your barber, it’s much worse.

It’s now time to learn how to ask for a haircut properly.

How To Ask For A Haircut From Your Barber

Young man and barber

It’s incredibly simple to ensure that your haircut is flawless every time.

All you need is a little bit of planning and a few important details to remember to give your barber.

Therefore, the next time your barber queries, “What are we doing today? ” You should do this exactly:

1. Inform Your Barber About Your Most Recent Haircut

Barbers are aware of how long hair takes to grow, so if you tell them how long it has been since your last trim, they will be able to picture how your hair used to appear.

Then, based on your desire, you can either tell them how you want it to look similar to the prior time or how you want it to look different.

2. Share Your Lifestyle With Your Barber

Your barber needs more information about you to give you a cut you’ll appreciate.

Inform the barber of your job, your hobbies, your weekend plans, how you style your hair, if you use the product daily, and anything else you believe would be relevant.

Holbrook told us, that you want your barber to give you a cut that will flow naturally into your lifestyle and represent your personality.

3. Be Specific Of Your Desired Haircut And Style

Although it may appear easy, most guys aren’t doing it correctly. Some aren’t even completing everything.

Barbers are skilled practitioners of their trade, but they cannot read minds. They can’t merely be relied upon to fill in the blanks. 

Saying “short on the sides, long on top” is insufficient for their crafts.

To acquire the haircut you desire, utilize the following terminology:

  • Inches are the finest unit to use when describing the length you desire for your hair (1 inch, 1 1/2 inches, etc.).
  • It might also be beneficial to know how many clippers you want your barber to use. If you are unsure of your preferred clipper setting, ask your barber to start with a longer setting and gradually reduce it until you discover a look you like.
  • Men with longer hair, in particular, should be clear about the amount they want to be chopped off. Most people will request that their barber simply maintain their collar free of hair. This creates a tidy, businesslike appearance.
  • Men with longer hair may also request a layered cut, which adds movement and dimension to longer haircuts.
  • If you don’t want your sides to be the same length, request a tapered cut, which means your hair grows longer toward the top of your head.
  • Your hair’s transition from long to short should be crisp, so be sure to mention it. Request a shaved section if there will be no transition (long on top, buzzed on the sides). Ask for a natural or blended transition for a more conservative look.
  • Ask the barber to give the top of your hair some texture for more manageable hair. Anyone with thicker hair can benefit from texturizing because it will reduce the occurrence of thinning hair.
  • You can request a squared (block) neckline in the back or a tapered (natural) neckline in the front. A block hairline cuts across, but a tapered neckline follows your natural hairline. Most guys choose a tapered neckline because they believe it looks more natural.
  • Inform your barber of the length, direction, and style you desire for your front fringe (also known as bangs).

The idea is to be as clear as possible so that your barber will understand exactly what you have in mind.

4. Bring A Reference Photo

Barbers are quite visual, so images assist them to understand the type of haircut you’re going for and are a terrific reference.

However, there is a catch: the greatest image you can provide to your barber is one of you sporting a great haircut. 

Your hair’s unique characteristics, such as thickness, texture, and hairline, are not taken into consideration in a photograph of someone else’s hair.

What Are The Common Haircut Terminology

Before you feel comfortable conversing with your hairdresser, you should review the following barber and haircut terms.

  • Taper Vs Fade – In most barbershops, both phrases are frequently used interchangeably. However, a fade is cut with clippers and merges into the skin technically. A taper doesn’t always include a buzz as short and often leaves more hair on the sides.
  • Undercut Fade – This side cut combines two well-liked cuts.
  • Haircut Numbers – The grade you want, which is often referred to as guard sizes, will define how long your fade, undercut, or buzz cut will be.
  • Textured – Without the use of pomade, gel, wax, or putty, textured hairstyles appear more natural.

Haircut Numbers

Man getting hair trimmed

The length of a haircut is graded or numbered from 1 to 8, with 1 being the shortest.

  • Number 1: One-eighth of an inch
  • Number 2: One-fourth of an inch
  • Number 3: Three-eighths of an inch
  • Number 4: A half-inch
  • Number 5: Five-eighths of an inch
  • Number 6: Three-quarters of an inch
  • Number 7: Seven-eighths of an inch
  • Number 8: One inch

What Are The Types Of Haircut For Men

Man getting haircut

Given the wide variety of hairstyles available for guys, it’s critical to follow current hairstyle trends. Here are some of the greatest long, medium, and short haircuts for men.

1. Undercut


Men might request an undercut from their barber in place of a fade on the sides. The Undercut haircut starts high and stays one length, even if it is still short. 

It does not progressively fade down. It’s a look that complements a variety of hip hairdos, including the slick back.

2. Buzz Cut

Buzz Cut

The Buzz Cut is arguably the most simple and low-maintenance hairstyle for guys. Several men use high-quality clippers to buzz their hair at home.

3. Crew Cut

Crew Cut

The Buzz Cut is comparable to the Crew Cut, sometimes referred to as the Ivy League haircut, although it is a little longer. Almost any guy can pull off this timeless look. 

Be careful to specify the sort of fade you want on the sides and how much length should be left on top when asking your barber for a Crew Cut.

4. Caesar Cut

Caesar Cut

The Caesar haircut is comparable to a Crew Cut but with a fringe. To get the Caesar look, men will pull their hair forward and enable their bangs to lay perfectly on their brows. 

Fortunately, ordering a Caesar is easy. Asking for a Caesar haircut at your barber is as simple as saying the word because most stylists are aware of this well-known style.

5. French Crop

French Crop

A short, well-defined fringe is necessary for the French Crop and all cropped haircuts in general. Crop tops don’t dangle over your forehead as Caesar does. 

The only instruction needed for cropped haircuts is how to taper the sides.

6. Comb Over

Comb Over

The new side part is related to the Comb-Over hairstyle, often known as the Comb-Over Fade haircut. 

Men may style their appearance by simply combing their hair over to one side if they have short sides and a longer top. Usually, the style is loose and textured for a simple yet elegant result. 

If you request a comb-over and provide your barber with one of these images, they will know precisely what you want!

7. Side Part

Side Part

A traditional hairstyle that works well in both formal and informal situations is the Side Part. You must use a comb to create a side part in your hair, much like the comb-over. 

The Side Part has a neater appearance, more like a gentleman’s haircut than the Comb-Over does.

8. Pompadour


The pompadour offers a lot of variety and is available in both traditional and contemporary styles. 

For instance, whenever you become tired of the same appearance, you may change your medium-length hairdo into a quiff or comb-over. 

For a high-contrast look you’ll like, we also strongly advise a high skin fade haircut or undercut on the sides.

9. Quiff


The current Quiff is brushed back, textured, and flowing like pomp. 

The Quiff hairstyle is worth attempting if you have straight, thick hair. Thinned hair, on the contrary, isn’t recommended for this hairstyle.

10. Slicked Back Hair

Slicked Back Hair

The Slick Back is a vintage look that frequently goes with an undercut

Modern Slicked-Back hair, which was once a greaser trend, employs a styling cream and comb to draw your hair back for a chic but hipster image.

11. Spiky Hair

Spiky Hair

Textured Spiky hair, a prominent 90s hairdo, has recently become fashionable. Pomade, wax, or putty can be used to form spikes, which can then be fashioned in a variety of ways.

12. Curly Hair

Curly Hair

Finding beautiful Curly hairstyles that suit your hair is the key, even though some individuals have trouble controlling their natural curls. 

We think you should embrace the distinctive styles at your disposal rather than struggle to manage your waves. Additionally, keep your curly hair short and simple to style.

13. Skin And Bald Fade

Skin And Bald Fade

The Skin Fade is a stylish method to trim your back and sideburns. Barbers must buzz bald fades very short, all the way down to the skin. 

In the end, the contrast between a full head of hair and shaved sides truly stands out.

14. Faux Hawk

Faux Hawk

The faux hawk often called a fohawk or fake hawk is a variation on the mohawk. 

Faux hawk haircuts are less severe and have short sides and top hair that pulls inward to resemble a mohawk.

15. Ivy League

Ivy League

An Ivy League is similar to a Crew Cut but with more blade numbers. Even some barbers may use scissors rather than a clipper and a straight razor to trim the top of the head. 

This cut is also known as Harvard, Princeton, or Brown.

Watch This!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do barbers know what haircut fits you?

Yes, they do, indeed. However, the barber has to have worked on your hair for a sufficient amount of time to be familiar with the looks you prefer, your personality, and other elements that affect how you should appear. Such an experienced barber is also aware of the traits you like to emphasize or hide.

Why do you need to learn the haircut lingo?

You’ll be able to describe the haircut you want more clearly if you utilize your barber’s terminology, as we have explained. Additionally, being aware of these phrases will be useful while browsing hair blogs or looking for photographs of haircuts.

How do you tell a barber what you want?

The ideal approach is to describe what you want, and you may use a photo to highlight all the qualities of the hairstyle you prefer. When describing a haircut, you can be as imaginative as you like. Use your fingers, for instance, to indicate the general hair length that has to be cut. Point out the areas of your hair that you want to trim or leave out.


Do your research. 

To learn about various haircuts, collect images, and read articles on hairstyles. The subtle variances between a hairstyle’s various variants are shown in style photographs.

Study hair terminology next. For instance, it is simpler to mention that you want a high fade rather than that you want to only trim the crown and back of your hair.

Thirdly, consult with your barber to choose the best look for your face. Even if you want a good haircut, is it the best for you and your hair type?

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