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The Role of a Barber

10/8/2012 12:58:42 PM | by Anonymous


Barbers, as many would know, are people that specialize in cutting, grooming and styling males’ hair. The word barber comes from the Latin word barba which means beard. The occupation of a barber, a term that was popular in the mid of the 20th century, is usually to cut and style males’ hair. In today’s time, the term barber is often used in reference with hairdresser. It may also be used as a professional title for a person who specializes only in dealing with hair. Previously, barber would not only style a man’s hair, but also specialize in shaving of facial hair. Also, all hairdressers were previously considered barbers. However during the 20th century, the profession cosmetology, which is the study of the application of beauty treatments such as hairstyling, skin care and cosmetics, branched out and came to be known as a complete separate profession when compared to barbers. Today, in many places when an individual applies for a license as a hairdresser, he may have to choose between a barber and a cosmetologist. How a person is classified as a barber, hairdresser or a cosmetologist depends on several factors. Classifying an individual as a barber is dependent on the services offered by the person, where he or she works and the license that the person carries.


The classification of an individual is based on the local labor and licensing laws within a country. For example, some countries may not allow a cosmetologist to use the equipment that are reserved for the use of a barber, such as the straight razor. There is also different education and training that an individual has to go through before becoming a hairdresser, barber or cosmetologist. These rules may not apply in all countries all over the world. For example in some countries, an individual just has to attain a license and then he or she can choose to practice either razor shaving, colouring and dying of hair along with other chemical treatments. The term barber or cosmetologist is not seen being used as much in today’s date with most individuals referring to themselves simply as hairdressers. This is because the term hairdresser comprises the duties of both the barber and the cosmetologist.


Also, previously a barber could perform surgery or dentistry. However with developments in technologies and safety razors along with the decreasing prevalence of beards, most barbers worldwide now only specialize in the cutting of men’s hair. However, many barbers may still tend to facial hair upon the request of a customer. The main objective of a barber or a hairdresser is to cut and style the hair of their customer, ensuring the job is well done and there is a repeat visit by the customer.


Usually, most stylists have attained an education in a cosmetology school or a relevant institution which can be necessary in attaining a license in some countries. The stylists would start out as apprentice in a salon to gain more experience on their job. In many developed countries, many successful hairdressers run chain business under their company name, having had hired individuals who perform hair cuts and styling in the hairdressers’ style, which is what makes these chains successful. Barbers, whom usually tend to male customers and provide services such as trimming of facial hair and shaves, may also offer additional services such as massages and facials. This may not only be relevant to barbers but may also apply to cosmetologists, who specialize in skin treatment and beauty products. Most of such professionals also provide services such as hair replacement or coloring of hair. Services such as applying perms to the hair, pedicure, manicures and sometimes even spa services may be offered as well. Due to the vast number of beauty services involved, barbers, cosmetologists and hairdressers need to have adequate knowledge of their job scope in order to be able to carry out their required tasks successfully.

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