Barber Jargon Explained

Going to see your barber may seem to be a simple process from the outside, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Have you ever left after getting a haircut and felt like you’ve been talked at for 45-minutes, not really understood their terminology or worse, just not got the service you asked for? Never fear, Cornerstone is always on hand to help you out! Below are a few of our favourite, yet sometimes baffling barber jargon explained.

“Thinning it out”

When you hear the phrase “thinning it out”, it usually comes after the customer has said something along the lines of “My hairs thin and I’d like more volume, can you do something about it?”. They often think they want to reduce hair to give it more of a bouncy effect. Generally, thinning will achieve this but it’s not always a good thing. Thinning scissors chop into the hair strands, to essentially give it a lighter feel, however, if you’re looking for a fuller head of hair, you may want to ask your barber to put the shears to one side and seek alternative solutions such as a mousse or thickening tonic.

“This much?”

We’ve all been there, we ask for a bit off the top to keep our hairstyle in-tact for the next month and your barber grabs a bit of hair, looks at your in the mirror and says “this much?”. Some people use that as a tool to gauge how much hair you want to cut off. When in reality, if your barber has consulted with you properly to begin with, they should know the exact length to take off before they pick the scissors up.

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“Give it some texture”

Have you ever been sat in the chair and your barber has said: “yeah, we’ll add some texture to your hair”. We all understand what texture is, but do we truly have a clear idea what it is when it comes to our hair? Don’t sit and be polite, know the difference and explain clearly what you seek. Texture all depends on the type of hair you have: thick, thin, curly etc. If you want to add volume, for example, you should ask for a choppy texture as the hair is cut at different lengths and at a 45-degree angle. Another example could be the layered texture, you are essentially asking for hair at varying lengths. Most commonly, this allows longer hair to sit on top of the shorter hair. Layers give any haircut an appearance of depth, volume and richness, one example of the layered texture could be a subtle undercut haircut style.

“Do you want a number 1?”

When you’re determining the length of hair you want, it’s worth knowing that the different grade numbers equal different lengths, obvious right? But a number 1 doesn’t mean 1 inch or 1 cm, it in face stands for 1/8th of an inch.

  • Grade 1: One-eighth of an inch
  • Grade 2: One-quarter of an inch
  • Grade 3: Three-eighths of an inch
  • Grade 4: Half an inch
  • Grade 5: Five-eighths of an inch
  • Grade 6: Three-quarters of an inch
  • Grade 7: Seven-eighths of an inch
  • Grade 8: An inch

When you next visit your barber, be confident in asking for what you want. Whether it be a classic side-part fade or something completely out of the ordinary, it’s important to know how to ask for it. With the huge variety of styles around it can easily become mind-boggling trying to determine which you want. Do a bit of research and you’ll know exactly what you want in no time.

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