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Ask Doc Handsome:  How Do I Pick A Barber & How Should I Talk To Them

Photo by Michael Gilman

Visit Grooming Lounge Barbershops and you’re guaranteed to get a great haircut. That said, we’re aware there’s a big world beyond the Beltway, and such being the case, wanted to provide all men with the info necessary to get a great service in their specific area. Before you pick a barber, read these tips on how to choose who makes “the cut."


  • Go To A Male Stop: While a guy can certainly get a fine cut and style at a unisex salon, the best possible results are usually obtained by visiting a men’s only destination. The barbers/stylists at such establishments definitely have a broader range of knowledge on male-specific styles, issues, options, lifestyles and more – and – the quality will be more consistent amongst different barbers/stylists.
  • Use Your Words: Personal recommendations and word of mouth are a great way to pick a barber and find a superior shop. If there’s a friend, or even an acquaintance, with a great cut, ask them where they got it. That “friend” will certainly appreciate the compliment and it’ll lead to a solid recommendation for you.
  • Availability Isn't Key: Although it may be more convenient for scheduling, the shop with the most openings isn’t usually the best choice. A shop with lots of barbers/stylists standing around is that way for a reason.
  • Demand Some Style: It’s not a total deal-breaker, but finding a barber/stylist with a great personal style is essential. Just like they say “never trust a skinny cook,” you should never trust a messy or disheveled barber/stylist.


  • Hire A Consultant: A hallmark of a shop that gives a truly great haircut is the depth of the consultation. If the client is on the exact same page as the barber/stylist in terms of the desired look, the results will show it. Men should provide as much detail as possible, and bring in a picture, although it might seem odd or obsessive, really helps the barber/stylist (it’s not frowned upon). Present a celebrity with the same hair density and texture desired -- and a stellar service is within reach.
  • Be Realistic: Don’t be offended if your barber/stylist tells you they can’t pull off the cut you want and recommends an alternative. He/she is doing the client a favor as some hair textures or head shapes just don’t jibe with certain styles.
  • Accentuate the Negatives: A barber/stylist can learn a ton when the client talks about the reasons they “didn’t” enjoy their previous haircut. It provides a guideline of things to avoid and pays real dividends in the outcome.


  • Think Ahead: A well-done haircut will always grow in better and last longer. A lower-quality haircut will lose its luster after about 2-3 weeks, but a well-constructed cut, with natural looking edges that complement the shape of the face, will look good for a solid month or even longer. So, although a higher-end cut might cost more up front, the long-term might see some real savings.
  • Hop On The Train-ing: For the most part, more expensive cuts will be done by barbers/stylists with lots of experience, great training backgrounds and those who participate in ongoing education. The benefits of such are more than “cookie-cutter” styles and instead, cuts that are appropriate for ones face shape, hair texture and lifestyle needs.
  • Avoid Rush-Hour: Often one pays more for the amount of time a barber/stylist spends with them. Shops that operate as “conveyor belts” and get folks out in 20 minutes are often less focused on quality and more focused on numbers. A good haircut needs the reverse. When you pick a barber look for one that can create a great look without rushing.

If you happen to live locally, Doc Handsome isn't too humble to recommend visiting the Grooming Lounge's Barbershops either in DC or Virginia.

If you have any other tips or have a recommendation for a great Barbershop in your area, please let us know.  Thanks.


This article was written and appeared on Grooming Lounge and our Founder, Mike Gilman, were quoted a lot, so we borrowed the article. Giving them credit -- hope it's OK.

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