Is the Barbering Industry Doing Itself an Injustice?

Why The Barbering Industry Deserves Better

Mikey Pearson takes a look at the state of the barbering industry and suggests that the time for recognition is long overdue. With the male grooming industry booming, barbers are showing their innovation and creativity more than ever before, so Mikey asks the question, without further change will we see improvement?


Now is the time for the barbering industry to get as much credit and recognition as the hairdressing industry. It is also time to stop the comparison between barber haircuts and hair salon haircuts. At Manifesto we believe that a barber’s haircut requires the same amount of skill and effort as a hairdresser’s haircut.

We also believe that there should not be a different price point for women’s and men’s haircuts – at Manifesto we do not discriminate when it comes to gender. The difference in price and time should only be dependent on factors such as length, thickness of the hair and the amount of work that is to be applied to the haircut, not the gender of the person. With this in mind, we are also very aware that there are differences between the way the two industries approach and deliver their services, and these differences ultimately contribute to creating the gap.

One of the main differences is that the barbering industry traditionally delivers quicker and cheaper services because the majority of barber shops encourage this business model: putting quantity before quality. Also, barber shops generally do not use assistants to shampoo. Another difference is that most barbers perform the majority of their haircuts using clippers, using scissors only to refine, while hairdressers tend to use mainly scissors, and only use clippers to refine.

This is due to the fact that barbering training programs generally do not devote enough time to scissor hair cutting like hairdressing training does. As a consequence, we will find that barbers are generally stronger on cutting short/sharp clipper cuts than hairdressers and hairdressers are more confident on longer shapes. Hairdressers also have more skills when it comes to styling the hair.

We tend to classify haircuts performed predominantly by scissors into the ‘Men’s Hairdressing’ category, and the majority of consumers are very much aware of these differences when they decide whether to go to a hair salon or a barbershop to get their hair cut.

What Now?

At Manifesto, we believe that in order to gain the same amount of credibility as hairdressing, barber training should focus equally in both areas and produce training programmes that are able to deliver a much wider skill set to newly qualified barbers. This same approach should be implemented when it comes to training barbers on styling hair. It’s also important that the allocated time for a service should be longer,  in order to give the same amount of time as the hairdressers – breaking away from the business model that is often seen in barbershops.

The hair barbering industry has significantly changed in the last decade, with both products and tools improving. Social media has contributed to clients becoming more aware of styles and trends, and becoming more openminded when it comes to choosing a style. We feel the conversation is not just about getting the same amount of credit and recognition as hairdressing, but it is also about the barbering industry making changes and becoming more in tune with the demands of our society.


Manifesto recently joined forces with charity Haircuts 4 Homeless – and you can get involved too! Find out how here.