Barbershops and barbering is a tradition that goes back generations, but it has only recently made its comeback over the last five to ten years. To learn more about this curious, rise, fall, and rise again of barbershop and their social context, check out our other barbering related post titled “Barbershops, the cornerstone of the male community.”
Barbers can be very much considered craftsmen as they use their hands, tools, and years of training and expertise to craft a stylish and meticulously groomed hair cut for customers. While training and experience play an important role in barbering, this short photo essay will explore another side of barbering that is as personal for barbers as their own hairstyle. Just as important as quality brushes and paint are for a painter, scissors and clippers are for a barber. We are going look at the tools of the barbering.
1. Synthetic Bristle Brush – used to detangle hair and smooth it out in preparation from cutting, as well as being used while blow-drying to style and dry hair. The synthetic bristles have the added advantage of not creating static.
2. Comb– this comb and other similar combs are used by barbers to cut and trim without getting too close to the head using the “clipper-over-comb” method. They are sometimes used with scissors but most often they are used with clippers as a method for trimming.
3. Scissors – it’s a pretty clear one but scissors are used to cut hair. Whereas hairdressers primarily use scissors, barbers typically cut the majority of hair with clippers. However, scissor are still the most fundamental tool used in barbering.
4. Straight or cut-throat razor – perhaps the most iconic symbol of barbers, straight razors are used to shave the face, neck, and/or back of neck. Shaving with a straight razor requires a calm and practiced hand. Most people consider a straight razor shave the closest shave one can get. Not only is it close it is also less expensive and more environmentally friendly than disposable razors.
5. Palm brush – palm brushes are often found in the military but the use of natural bristle (usually boar hair) makes the brush ideal for distributing natural oils so the hair is softer and shinier. It also reduced damage to hair from styling.
6. Hair brush – very similar to the palm brush but with smaller bristles. The hair brush is used to brush hair. Simple as that.
7. Thinning shear – these are used to thin out bulky hair or add texture to hair by using a serrated edge to only cut some of the hair.
8. Neck duster – used to cleaning up excess hair from the neck, face, and equipment as well as applying talc-like powders on skin.
9. Clipper – Just like the scissors, clippers are the work-horse of barber tools as they typically remove most of the hair and have the largest impact on the overall cut. An adjustable clipper allows the barber to change length and clipper combs can be attached to further affect the length of haircut.