Barbers vs. Hair Stylist: Which Works the Best for You?

by Rocky River Hair Cuts for men's grooming

Barber versus Hair Stylist

What is the difference between a barber and a hair stylist? That is the most asked question at Men’s Cuts.  Barbers have been in existence in some form for over 5,000 years. They traditionally acted as dentists or surgeons.  Over time, barbers started to focus specifically on cutting hair. Hair stylists provided hair services to women going back to the Elizabethan era which including creating elaborate hair styles, cutting hair and even working with complex wigs.  Barbers work on certain haircuts, usually focusing on short hair, while hair stylists can work with longer hair styles. Barbers also are specially trained in shaving the face and trimming neck hair.


Training Differences

There are different types of training for barbers versus hair stylists, but both do require a cosmetology license.

  • Barbers: Barbers undergo different training than hairdressers. Barbers have to go through an intensive 10 to 12-month program that is available at specialized beauty or barber schools. They are also required to take a written exam and a practical demonstration. Barber candidates must apply for a license to the state barbering board which will need to be renewed on a regular basis.
  • Hair Stylists: Hair stylist also go through a rigorous training process that could take over a year, with a written exam and practical demonstration. Stylists have to apply for a license through the state cosmetology board. Stylist focus on crafting new looks for their client’s hair.

Different Services for Different Needs

Finding the right fit for your grooming needs is not always easy. It is important to choose a place that makes you feel relaxed, comfortable and your needs are listened to by the stylist or the barber. Some men have been going to barbers all their lives, while the others have been going to a stylist. It all depends on the type of hair style or look they want to have. There are differences in the services that a barber and a hair stylist offers men. Below we break down the differences:


  • Barbers specialize in shorter hair styles like the buzz cut, flattop, or military cut. These simple cuts take little to maintain, no styling products, and the look is timeless.
  • Most barber shops cost significantly less than a salon or a hair stylist.
  • Men go to barber shops for locker room talk, sports and price.
  • Barber shops do a hot lather face shave. Hair stylist do not.

Hair Stylist

  • A stylist is concerned with maintaining a style and will be able to give men ideas on how to maintain their hair style. Stylists can work with all lengths and styles of hair.
  • Stylists can do both scissor based cuts as well as clipper cuts. They also recommend products that help you achieve the look you want.
  • Stylist are up-to-date on all the latest trends and can help you find the right fit hair style for your face.
  • Stylist sell higher end hair and skin care products. Stylists can explain which products work the best to maintain a hair style. 
  • Stylists are trained in the art of hair coloring. Barbers are not.

Why choose a stylist over a barber?

The stylists at Men’s Cuts are highly skilled at cutting and clippering any hair style (long or short). We can cut an entire haircut using only scissors if requested and or use a razor for closer cropped cuts. The options are unlimited. The stylists at Men’s Cuts are also experts at beard care and trimming

Mae Williams, owner of Men’s Cuts, explains, “Men’s hair stylists are unique in that we have chosen to devote our styling passions to grooming men. Other added benefits are attention to detail with a gentler touch. We’ll help recommend products to help with thinning hair & skincare too. We want our men to always look their best.” Make an appointment today at Men’s Cuts to see how our stylists can help you with the “look” that you want.