Barber Vs. Hairdresser

Jun 03, 2020

Comparing Barbers to Hairdressers

Barbers and hairdressers are hair styling professionals, who work closely with clients to give them the look and confidence they hope to achieve. The primary difference between the two professions is their clientele. Barbers tend to work with men; hairdressers work with men and women, but tend to specialize in services geared towards women. Other similarities and difference are discussed below.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2020)* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Barber Graduate from state-licensed hair styling program $33,997 7%
Hairdresser Graduate from state-licensed hair styling program $36,216 8% (for all hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists)

Source: *PayScale.Com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Barbers vs. Hairdressers

The responsibilities of barbers and hairdressers are somewhat similar, except for a varying degree of services and their general clientele. Barbers are most commonly male hair stylists who work with men's hair and beards. Due to the work being more male-focused, barbers are more likely to work with electric and straight razors than hairdressers. Hairdressers tend to work in beauty salons where they work with women and men, although their expertise may lean more towards specialized female services, such as perms and highlights. This means they work with some tools that barbers may not be as familiar with, including curlers and flat irons.


Barbers are typically male hairdressers who work with male clients. Using clippers, scissors, and straight razors, barbers style and cut hair, as well as beards. Open communication is important, as these styling professionals must understand the look that their clients want to achieve. Depending on the barber shop, color and shampoo services may be performed as well. Barbers must be comfortable working with the public and staying on their feet for long periods of time. Being state-licensed through a barber or hair styling program is required.

Job responsibilities of a barber include:

  • Keep all equipment clean and sterilized
  • Maintain a clean and organized work area
  • Be knowledgeable about hair care and styling products
  • Receive payments from clients


Hairdressers are hairstylists that work in salons or travel directly to clients. Common services provided include cutting, styling, coloring, and washing hair. Hairdressers must be able to work long hours without sitting and be adept with the tools of their trade, such as scissors, curling irons, and hairdryers. They must understand cutting-edge techniques like mixing colors and adding extensions, as well as style the latest up-dos for wedding parties. Over time, a roster of loyal clients is usually built that may follow the hairdresser from salon to salon. It is common for particularly successful hairdressers to open their own business, where they must manage inventory, retail sales, and other hairdressers. Completion of a state-licensed training program is generally required.

Job responsibilities of a hairdresser include:

  • Stay informed of the latest style trends
  • Maintain a database of services and products provided to clients
  • Teach clients how to properly maintain healthy hair and scalp
  • Create a social, comfortable, and clean atmosphere

Related Careers

If you are interested in becoming a barber or hairdresser, there are other options you may want to learn more about that also involve working with clients so they can look their best. This includes getting into the field of cosmetology as a make-up artist. If working with hands and feet sounds more appealing to you, becoming a nail technician is a potential career path.

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