Posted by Educated Beards on


When I was a kid living at home, my parents would bring me to see Donny the Barber. He had a little place in town with only two barbers’ chairs, and often he was the only one in the shop. 


I sit with my dad on the old, faded leather waiting chairs, and listen to the little radio playing the local top 40 station while Donny finishes up with whoever the old fella is sitting in his chair, likely getting the same haircut he got every two weeks for the last decade. 


Then, when it was my turn, I’d nervously climb up into the chair, Donny would wrap the cape around my neck, clean his clippers, and I’d get the same beginning-of-the-school-year crew cut that I’d gotten every time and that I hated.


Barber haircut


Years later, after various dyed colours, dreadlocks, and most recently a trendy bun, I’m back in the barbers chair every few months. 


The big difference is that I don’t have to get the haircut my folks want me to get; I have the power to decide what hairstyle I want to get some extra help with my beard. But even more importantly, I have my choice of barber.


Donny the Barber isn’t around anymore. His shop, and many others like it, has been closed for years. Back in my hometown there aren’t many places to go other than national chain salons for a haircut. 


Don’t get me wrong here, the quality of the barber or hairdresser is the most important thing to look for when deciding who cuts your hair and beard. Whether they own their own shop or work out of a salon in the mall, if you walk out looking and feeling good, you’ve found the right place. 


But there was something to Donny’s shop that really hits a nostalgic note, and a lot of places are cashing in on that nostalgia. This is where we have to be careful. And here are a few tips for choosing a barber.




Don’t be fooled by a nice looking shop


Sure, it may look like an old timey barber shop, or a super fancy hair salon, but how well do the barbers cut hair? 


You may be able to get just as good of a cut or a beard trim at the less fancy place, or at that place in the mall.






If it’s your first time to the place, look up some reviews


Do any of the names stand out among those reviews? Do you like your friends’ haircuts? 


Ask them for where they go and their opinions on their barbers. 

Here’s an extra hint: look for the most positive reviews, beyond just a click on a star rating. A truly positive written review means someone felt so good about their haircut experience they needed to take the time to let other people know.


TIP THREE       


Make sure they offer what you need.


Of course most barbers are going to cut hair, but if you are like me and sometimes need a little extra help trimming and shaping your beard, make sure the shop has someone who is comfortable offering that service


A lot of barbers nowadays are getting into beard trims and straight razor wet shaves, but it’s a bummer when you show up to a shop and they just can’t or won’t do it.






If at all possible, once you find a barber you like who offers the services you need, stick with them


The longer you go to the same person, the more they’re going to get to know you. No one is the same person they were a year ago, and your barber should know that, and be willing to grow with you, and help you explore new styles. 


They’ll help you grow out that big ol’ beard. Your progress is their progress as well.





I’ll be the first to admit that the nostalgia factor got me a couple times. I chose a barber based on the fact that their shop looked and smelled like Donny’s. 


They had the same faded leather chairs, that same barbicide smell from the jars by their mirror, some even had the little radio playing local top 40; they had everything I remembered as a kid. And I’ve gotten some truly awful haircuts, or dealt with some unpleasant barbers. 


My beard’s been wrecked, my neck has been cut up during a wet shave and my neckline ruined by an overzealous shaver, and on top of that I’ve paid some outlandish prices. 


I can’t promise you that these tips will help you avoid those things; chances are you’re going to hit a few bumps, but hair keeps growing so good barbers aren’t going anywhere soon. 







Leave a comment