Many people assume barbers and cosmetologists do similar jobs – they both just cut hair, right? Wrong. Barbering and cosmetology are like two sides of the same coin. Barbers traditionally work more with hair, beards, and mustaches. Cosmetologists focus on a wider variety of services such as hair, skin, and nails.

Even though they are both in the beauty and hair business, they have different educational backgrounds, tools, and services they provide for their clients.

Education and Training

The differences between barbers and cosmetologists starts with their schooling. Both go to certificate or associate degree programs for 9 to 24 months. These are usually offered through technical schools, community colleges, or beauty schools.

Both barbers and cosmetologists will learn about styling and different hair treatments in school. Barbers will focus more on cutting and shaving hair, and cosmetologists will center their studies around a variety of beauty treatments.

Cosmetology school does not usually cover much clipper work, but barbers are trained and skilled to use them daily. Barbers don’t usually use scissors as much as cosmetologists, but they do know how to use them to trim and even out hair.

While barbers learn more specialized techniques with clippers, cosmetologists’ training cover a broader range of focus. Cosmetology schools usually teach students about:

  • Hair-Styling
  • Manicures
  • Pedicures
  • Waxing
  • Facials
  • Makeup Application

Each student has the opportunity to specialize in any area that interests them the most.

Required Tools

One of the biggest differences between barbers and cosmetologists is the tools they use. Barbers are trained and specialize in using clippers. Hairstylists are trained to use scissors. There is definitely some overlap, but clipper work training is not usually as in-depth for hairdressers and cosmetologists as it is for barbers.

Cosmetologists offer comprehensive services such as shampooing and conditioning, cutting, and coloring hair. With this comes even more tools than just scissors. Cosmetologists have to know the best products for their clients’ hair and have the right location and building to offer their variety of services.

Many barbers offer cuts, shaves, and beard trims for men. This requires them to be proficient with clippers, scissors, and straight razors to cut facial hair with precision and accuracy.

Services Offered

One of the biggest differences between barbers and cosmetologists is that barbers are trained to shave men’s faces. A lot of time in school and certification programs focus on this because it can be a delicate process. They need to know how to use both a straight razor for traditional shaves and a modern razor for regular shaving.

Barbers are skilled with their clippers and offer many more services using them, such as creating different designs or cutting different hairstyles.

While barbers are more specialized with their services, cosmetologists offer a complex set of services. In addition to cutting hair, those with a cosmetology certification or degree should be able to apply false nails and care for them. They should also be able to apply makeup for weddings, parties, and special events.

Cutting hair is the most popular specialization of cosmetology. Hair stylists wash, cut, and color their customers’ hair. Cosmetologists are proficient in their scissor work but if they want to learn more about clippers, they have to go back to school to take barbering classes or attend a professional workshop. Knowing more about clippers can diversify their portfolio and increase their business.

Patrick the Groomsmith offers professional workshops providing insight and guidance on using clippers: how to care for them, what type to use, basic techniques, and different styles you can create with them. His workshops also teach more about marketing both individual stylists and entire salons.

Learn more about Patrick and his workshops and sign up today!