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Hairdresser: Wikis


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Gysis 002.jpg
Nikolaus Gysis, "The Barber"
Names Barber, hairdresser, hairstylist
Type Vocation
Fields of employment Barbershops, hair salons
A boy visiting a barber.

A barber (from the Latin barba, "beard") is someone whose occupation is to cut any type of hair, give shaves, and trim beards. In previous times, barbers also performed surgery and dentistry.[1] In more recent times, with the development of safety razors and the decreasing prevalence of beards, most barbers primarily cut hair.

Although many barbers may still deal with facial hair when requested, in American and Commonwealth culture most barbers specialize in the simple cutting of men's hair. They do not generally offer significant styling or 'fancy' haircuts when compared to hairdressers working in hair salons.

The place where a barber works is generally called a barbershop, or simply the "barber's".



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 colouring, haircutting and hair texture techniques.

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 (toupées, etc). Many working stylists are legally barbers. There is some professional rivalry between barbers and cosmetologists, both of which are licensed and regulated. 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 establishments known as male salons. Male salons have afforded the barber the opportunity to remain traditional in all aspects of the term, yet also progressively contemporary as fashion and trends evolve. In male salons, hairstylists and barbers seek to accommodate the modern male hairstyle trends by employing traditional hair styling and straight razor shaves with modern practices, such as texturizing techniques and color.

In the US state of New Jersey the fields of Cosmetology and Barbering are regulated by the State Board of Cosmetology which is a division of Consumer Affairs of the Department of Law & Public Safety. There is no longer a difference in barbers and cosmetologists. They are issued the same license and can practice both the art of straight razor shaving, coloring , other chemical work and haircutting if they choose.


Barbershop in Bucharest around 1842. Woodcut. As shown in this image, the barbershop also provides an opportunity for social contacts.

The barber's trade is an ancient one. Razors have been found among relics of the Bronze Age (circa 3500 BC) in Egypt.

Shaving, either of the head or face, was not always a voluntary act, for it has been enforced by law in England and elsewhere.[citation needed] Cleanliness and vanity were therefore not the sole reasons for a "clean shave"; the origins lie deeper.

Before the Macedonian conquest brought the custom of clean shaving, the κουρευς in the Greek agora would trim and style his patrons' beards, hair, and fingernails, as gossip and debate flowed freely.[2]

Barbering was introduced to Rome by the Greek colonies in Sicily in 296 B.C., and barber shops quickly became very popular centres for daily news and gossip. A morning visit to the tonsor became a part of the daily routine, as important as the visit to the public baths, and a young man's first shave (tonsura) was an essential part of his coming of age ceremony.

Interior of a barber's shop, circa 1920.

A few Roman tonsores became wealthy and influential, running shops that were favorite loci publici of high society; however, most were simple tradesmen, owning small storefronts or setting up their stool in the street and offering shaves for a mere quadrans. Some had reputations as clumsy butchers who left their patrons scarred about the cheeks and chin; their dull bronze or copper (never steel) razors must share some of the blame. The better barbers offered depilatories for those customers who refused the razor.

The barbers of former times were also surgeons and dentists. In addition to haircutting, hairdressing, and shaving, barbers performed surgery, bloodletting and leeching, fire cupping, enemas, and the extraction of teeth. Thus they were called barber surgeons, and they formed their first organization in 1094.[1] The barber pole red and white in spiral indicated the two crafts, surgery in red and barbering in white. The barber was paid higher than the surgeon until surgeons were entered into British war ships during its many naval wars. Some of the duties of the barber included neck manipulation, cleaning of ears and scalp, draining of boils, fistula and lancing of cysts with wicks.


The term "barbering" when applied to laboratory mice is a behaviour where a dominant mouse will use her teeth to pluck out hairs from the face of a passive mouse when they groom each other (barbering is practiced mostly by female mice). If moved to a cage with other mice, the "barber" will continue to practice her job and pull out hairs from her new cage-mates. [3]

See also

External links


  1. ^ a b "History of Barber Poles" page of
  2. ^
  3. ^ Kurien BT, Gross T, Scofield RH. Barbering in mice: a model for trichotillomania BMJ. 2005 Dec 24;331(7531):1503-5. PMID: 16373730

Simple English

A hairdresser's job is to cut, in a certain style, female hair to change its look. They can cut hair, add colour to it or texture it. A hairdresser is usually female. Male hairdressers who cut men's hair are called barbers.

They usually have to spend time at a beauty school to improve their skill.

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