Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Barbers: What is the Difference? - Terms of Interest to the Fashion Industry

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Is their a difference between a hairdresser, hairstylist, and barber?

A hairdresser is a universal term referring to someone whose occupation is to cut or style hair in order to change or maintain a person's image.  This is achieved using a combination of hair cutting, hair coloring, and hair texture techniques.  A hairdresser is synonymous with hairstylist.  A hairdresser or hairstylist, will typically work in a hair salon or on location at fashion events, movie sets, weddings, etc.
A barber (from the Latin barba, "beard") is someone whose occupation is to cut any type of hair, give shaves, and trim beards.  A barber will typically work in what is called a barber shop.
Some barbers prefer to see themselves as hairdressers or hairstylists.   There is a common misbelief that barbers do not perform any service other than hair cutting, and that cosmetologists perform all coloring and perms.  In fact, barbers can cut hair, trim beards, color, perm, provide facials, and shave. They are also licensed to work with artificial hair replacement products (toupees, etc). Many working stylists are legally barbers. There is some professional rivalry between barbers and cosmetologists, both of which are licensed and regulated (in the United States).  At one time, both groups were allowed to cut hair, but only barbers were allowed to shave or trim beards: this required mastering the arcane technique of using a straight razor.  Today, barbers and stylists may be found working side by side in hair salons. 

Hairstylists, hairdressers and barbers seek to accommodate the modern male and female hairstyle trends.  As their goal is to please their customers, they watch hair trends and do their best to give their clients a cut that will satisfy.

I am sure that their are more distinguishing factors between a barber, hair stylist and hair dresser.  Unfortunately, my profession is not either of these.  Therefore, I can not give you a more professional explanation.  If YOU happen to know a better definition or description of the above terms, please let us know and we can possibly update this page to include your suggestions.

Meet professional hairstylists.

By the way, if you plan to be in the hair styling profession, I strongly suggest that you do not mess with the Zohan.


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