If you have an interest in working with people and making them feel better about themselves, you may want to think about becoming a barber. Training to become a barber can involve slightly different techniques than what you would find in a typical cosmetology program, however. Barbers must learn the basics of shaving, hair trimming, styling, and dyeing. They must also learn how to affix and care for hairpieces, and attend to other aspects of male grooming. If you’re thinking about becoming a barber, there are several ways to begin this process.
Many hair stylists and barbers get started by practicing on friends and family. There’s a wealth of knowledge available in books and online, allowing you to learn basic cutting and shaving techniques. Video tutorials and diagrams can be helpful if you already have a knack for haircutting, but if you’re just starting out you may learn improper form by trying to teach yourself. It’s best to have an experienced barber to correct your technique as you’re learning. Another downside to the self-taught method is that it may be difficult to find employment in an established salon or barbershop without a professional qualification.
Professional Barber Courses
If you’re serious about becoming a professional barber, you will need to gain the right level of qualification or NVQ. Most salons require their stylists and hairdressers to hold at least a NVQ Level 2, which you can earn through courses at the London School of Barbering or other professional training centres. At this level, you learn the skills necessary to enter into a junior position. However, a Level 3 is even more advantageous, giving you greater technical skills and managerial techniques. Students in formal training programs benefit from learning a wide range of traditional and contemporary cutting, trimming, dyeing, styling, and shaving techniques. They learn these skills in a professional salon atmosphere, helping them become more comfortable working with clients as they gain hands-on experience.
Foundation degrees are also qualifications that can be obtained. These are even more comprehensive, offered through trade schools and hair academies alike. Students can choose to take these professional barber courses on a full-time or part-time basis, often combining them with practical work experience at a salon.
For centuries, barbers have learned their art through apprenticeships. This system puts a junior stylist under the care and tutelage of a seasoned professional, similar to an office internship. Although it’s not as common, some barbers get their start through working as an apprentice for a specified time period. This can also be combined with more formal training to be a barber in London, which gives the advantage of work experience, mentorship, and a professional qualification.
The most successful barbers will soak in as much information and experience as possible, often through a combination of all of these methods.