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How to Ask for the Perfect Haircut: a Guide for Clear Communication (2024)

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how to ask haircutTo get the perfect haircut, you’ll need to clearly communicate your desired style when asking for it.

Start by determining the specific cut, length, and any taper or fade you want.

Next, describe your hair texture – straight, wavy, curly, or coily – so the stylist can cater to your needs.

Don’t be afraid to use proper barbering terminology like "guard sizes" or "necklines."

Discuss your face shape too, as certain styles flatter different features.

Finally, ask about maintenance, products, and any aftercare tips.

With open communication and trust in your stylist’s expertise, the ideal ‘do is within reach – and you’ll soon learn more helpful pointers.

Key Takeaways

  • Knowing the lingo and using proper barbering terms like "guard sizes," "fades," and "necklines" is like having an insider cheat code to getting your dream ‘do. Your barber will be so impressed by your savviness!
  • Visuals are everything when it comes to hair inspiration! Bring in all the reference pictures you can scrounge up, from celebrities to street style snaps. Hey, a picture’s worth a thousand (carefully snipped) strands, right?
  • Honesty is the best policy here, friends. Don’t be shy about laying all your hair details on the table – texture, cowlicks, the works. Your barber needs the full scoop to whip you into hair heaven.
  • At the end of the day, building rapport with your barber is a must. Listen to their sage advice and be open to suggestions – they’re the hair gurus, after all! With some back-and-forth banter, you’ll be rocking a new signature look in no time.

How to Ask Haircut?

To ask for the perfect haircut, start by familiarizing yourself with different hairstyles and lengths you prefer. Communicate clearly with your barber or stylist, using proper terminology to describe your desired look, hair texture, face shape, and styling preferences.

Determine Your Desired Haircut Style

Determine Your Desired Haircut Style
When determining your desired haircut style, consider classic cuts like the side part or pompadour, modern styles like the textured crop or messy fringe, or trendy looks inspired by celebrities or fashion icons. The style you choose should complement your face shape, hair texture, and lifestyle to guarantee it looks great and is manageable.

Classic Cuts

You might prefer a classic cut like the flat top, bowl cut, pompadour, or side part.

These timeless styles exude sophistication and can be adjusted to your hair texture and face shape.

Consult your barber for advice on the perfect iteration, whether a sleek slick back or a vintage-inspired pompadour.

Classic cuts offer a refined, polished look that never goes out of style.

Modern Styles

If classic cuts don’t suit your style, consider modern options that flatter your features. You could opt for:

  1. A pompadour with flattering fringe
  2. An asymmetrical cut that follows your hair’s growth patterns
  3. A fade or taper with shaved designs

These styles provide a contemporary look while accommodating your unique preferences. Discuss with your barber how to adapt a modern cut to your lifestyle and hair texture.

Trendy Looks

For a trendy look, consider a pompadour quiff, undercut slick back, or textured mullet. If you’re feeling bold, try a long mohawk or temple razor fade.

Style Length Fade/Taper
Pompadour Medium+ High Taper
Undercut Top: Long, Sides: Short High Fade
Textured Mullet Top: Long, Back: Short Low Taper

These edgy styles require some upkeep but will unquestionably turn heads.

Specify the Length You Want

Specify the Length You Want
When specifying the desired length, consider if you want a short, medium, or long cut. Short haircuts are typically above the ears, medium styles fall around the ears or eyes, and long hair extends past the shoulders or neck.


If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, effortless style, ask your barber for a short cut. Provide pictures of buzz cuts or crew cuts to convey your desired length. Discuss hair maintenance, as short styles require frequent trims to keep them looking sharp. Consider your daily routine and head shape to guarantee a flattering short cut.


For a medium-length haircut, discuss your ideal length by specifying the desired inches on top, sides, and back. Share references of styles that appeal to you, and ask your barber’s advice on flattering cuts based on your face shape and hair type. Clarify neckline preferences, like tapered or squared, and inquire about trendy, modern looks.


If you’re going for a long haircut, consider a side-swept style or a slicked-back look. These cuts can give you a polished yet modern vibe. Discuss maintenance tips with your barber, like how often to trim split ends or get a light dusting. Also, ask about products to tame frizz and add shine to your lengthy locks.

Describe the Desired Taper or Fade

Describe the Desired Taper or Fade
When describing the taper or fade you want, specify whether you prefer a high taper that blends in above the ear, a low taper that fades closer to the hairline, or a skin fade that changes smoothly into the skin. Providing clear details about the desired gradient will help your barber achieve the precise look you envision.

High Taper

If you prefer a more dramatic, high-contrast look, request a "high taper" or "high fade." This style involves gradually trimming the hair shorter as it reaches the upper portions of the head, creating a disconnected gradient. It often features a high, blocked neckline for a clean, sharp finish—perfect for those seeking a modern, edgy vibe.

Low Taper

A low taper is a gradual shortening of hair from the top to the bottom near the neckline. You’ll want to:

  1. Specify the desired length at the nape
  2. Indicate if you want a clipper or scissor cut
  3. Mention texture preferences like textured or smooth

This tapered cut creates a neat, blended look while maintaining length on top. Discuss your hair type, guard numbering needs, and ideal sideburn length for a personalized style.

Skin Fade

For a clean-shaven look, ask for a skin fade. This style tapers down to the skin along the hairline and neckline. It’s a bold choice, accentuating your facial features. A skin fade can be subtle or dramatic, depending on your preference:

Style Description
Low Skin Fade Gradually fades to skin near the ears
High Skin Fade Fades to skin higher on the sides
Surgical Skin Fade Crisp, straight line along the hairline
Temp Skin Fade Fades gradually into sideburns

Communicate Your Hair Texture Preferences

Communicate Your Hair Texture Preferences
Your hair’s texture plays a vital role in achieving the desired haircut and style. Whether you have straight, wavy, curly, or coily hair, it’s important to communicate your preferences clearly to make sure the barber can recommend an appropriate cut and provide suitable styling advice.


If your hair is straight, discuss styles like a flat top, side part, or crew cut. Straight hair can pull off many classic looks. A pompadour or pompadour-inspired style is also an option for embracing your sleek texture. Just be sure to mention any cowlicks or areas that need extra shaping.


For wavy hair, you’ll want to:

  1. Request a layered cut for movement and texture.
  2. Ask about a thinned-out style to reduce bulk.
  3. Inquire about products to enhance or tame waves.
  4. Discuss a low-maintenance cut that embraces your natural texture.

Let your barber know if you prefer a looser wave pattern or a more defined, beachy look. The right cut and products can beautifully accentuate your wavy locks.


If you have curly hair, let your barber know. Describe the tightness and density of your curls. Ask about styling techniques to enhance curl definition and control frizz. Inquire about moisturizing products suited for your hair’s porosity. Discuss detangling methods to prevent damage. With open communication, you’ll achieve the perfect curly cut.


If you have coily hair, give your barber detailed info about its texture. Discuss maintenance, products for nourishing coils, and ways to style them. Show examples of coily haircuts you admire—this visual aid helps confirm that you’re on the same page. With open communication, your barber can tailor the perfect cut for your unique coils.

Use Proper Barbering Terminology

Use Proper Barbering Terminology
To safeguard accurate communication with your barber, familiarize yourself with common barbering terminology like guard sizes (numbers specifying hair length), fades (gradual hair length changes), tapers (longer changes than fades), and neckline styles. Using the correct terms will help you articulate your desired cut precisely.

Guard Sizes

You’ll need to communicate the desired guard size for achieving your ideal haircut length. For reference, here are common guard sizes:

  • 8: 1 inch

  • 6: 3/4 inch

  • 4: 1/2 inch

  • 2: 1/4 inch

  • 0: 1/8 inch

Discussing guard sizes guarantees you and your barber are on the same page for the most suitable length. Don’t hesitate to ask for custom guard sizes if needed.


For fades, specify the style and height. A "high and tight" leaves only a short strip of hair. "Low and loose" changes gradually. A "mid and textured" fade maintains a defined length on top. Don’t forget mentioning clean "razor and faded" edges, or asking for a "long and layered" fade.


For a taper, specify the desired length gradient from shorter to longer hair, like a "low taper" or "high taper." Clearly indicate your preferred taper style, such as a "tight taper" or "textured taper." Consider the taper’s neckline integration for a cohesive look. Ask about maintenance tips to keep your tapered cut looking fresh.


For necklines, specify whether you want a blocked, rounded, or tapered cut. Blocked provides a sharp, defined line, while rounded is softer and more natural. Tapered gradually blends the hairline. As for sideburns, indicate the desired length—top, mid, or bottom of the ear—and request a cleanup or thinning if preferred.

Describe Your Ideal Styling

Describe Your Ideal Styling
When describing your ideal styling, be specific about whether you prefer a messy, slicked-back, spiky, or textured look. This will help your barber understand your desired finished style and cut the hair accordingly.


Let your barber know if you prefer a messy, textured look. It can provide an effortless, stylish vibe:

  • Messy fade for a casually tapered cut
  • Messy quiff for added volume on top
  • Messy undercut with tousled lengths above
  • Messy top knot for a trendy man bun style
  • Messy faux hawk for an edgy, piecey finish

The key is communicating your desired level of dishevelment for a personalized cut.

Slicked Back

To achieve a sleek, slicked-back style, ask your barber for an undercut or side part that allows you to sweep your hair back and up into a pompadour. Embrace the look’s vintage vibes by requesting a disconnected undercut for added edge. With the right cut and pomade, you’ll exude confidence and control.


If you prefer a spiky look, ask your barber to:

  1. Use gel or pomade
  2. Style hair upwards
  3. Create defined spikes
  4. Finish with strong-hold hairspray

A spiky cut adds volume and edginess. Specify the level of height and texture you desire for the perfect spiky hairstyle that suits your personality.


You’ve got a textured mane, and you want to show it off. Describe that desired look to your barber:

Style Description
Messy Intentionally tousled, piecy locks
Piecey Hair separated into chunky sections
Tousled Disheveled yet stylish texture
Layered Varying lengths create movement
Spiked Precise, gravity-defying spikes

They’ll help you nail that perfectly imperfect, textured vibe.

Discuss Your Face Shape and Lifestyle

Discuss Your Face Shape and Lifestyle
Considering your face shape is essential when selecting a flattering haircut. Discuss with your barber how an oval, square, round, or oblong shape may influence the most complimentary cut to enhance your features and suit your lifestyle.


If you have an oval face shape, you’re lucky – most haircuts flatter this versatile shape. Consider classic looks like side-parted styles or modern quiffs. Trendy textured crops and flowing layers also complement oval faces well. Discuss any specific hair concerns, like cowlicks or a receding hairline, with your barber.


If you have a square face shape, your barber can recommend styles that soften your angular jawline. Consider a side-parted cut with some length on top to elongate your face. Texturized ends also add movement, preventing a boxy appearance. As for necklines, a tapered or rounded option complements square faces nicely.


For those with round faces, opting for a rounded neckline can create a balanced look. Voluminous styles on top, like:

  1. Side-swept bangs
  2. Textured crops
  3. Modern pompadours

Draw attention upwards, elongating rounded profiles. Remember, your barber’s expertise guides the perfect cut to flatter your unique features.


If you have an oblong face shape, consider hairstyles that add width:

Hairstyle Details
Side Part Creates balanced volume
Pompadour Adds height and fullness
Quiff Widens with swept-back style

Shorter sides complement longer tops. Facial hair like full beards can balance your elongated features. Warm hair colors further soften an oblong appearance.

Ask About Maintenance and Products

Ask About Maintenance and Products
After discussing the desired style, length, and details of your haircut, inquire about the recommended frequency for trims to maintain the look. Additionally, ask your barber for their expert advice on suitable styling products and aftercare instructions to keep your hair looking its best between visits.

Frequency of Trims

When discussing maintenance, ask your barber, "How often should I come in for trims to maintain this look?" Be prepared to:

  1. Schedule regular trims every 4-6 weeks
  2. Adjust the frequency based on your hair type and style
  3. Follow aftercare tips for products and at-home styling

Proper maintenance guarantees your cut looks fresh and lasts longer between visits.

After describing your desired style, don’t hesitate to ask your barber for product recommendations. Depending on the look, they may suggest pomades, gels, waxes, creams, or sprays to achieve the perfect finish. An expert’s guidance guarantees you have the right tools to easily recreate and maintain your fresh cut at home.

Aftercare Tips

After your fresh cut, proper aftercare is essential. Ask your barber for specific blow-drying tips and styling techniques to maintain your new look. Inquire about the ideal maintenance schedule for your desired style and texture. Don’t forget to seek product recommendations custom-tailored to your hair needs for effortless at-home styling and care.

Build a Strong Barber-Client Relationship

Build a Strong Barber-Client Relationship
To build a strong barber-client relationship, it’s crucial to communicate your preferences openly and rely on the expert advice of your barber. At the same time, remain receptive to their suggestions, as their expertise can help you achieve the perfect haircut suited to your unique needs.

Communicate Openly

Be upfront about your preferences and voice any uncertainties or concerns. Don’t be afraid to ask your barber questions – they’re the experts! Open communication guarantees you get precisely what you want. Clarify details, like the desired neckline or fading technique, to avoid confusion and achieve your ideal cut.

Trust Their Expertise

Barbers spend years honing their craft, so trust their experience and professional advice when discussing your desired hairstyle. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your hair type, face shape, and personal preferences. Building trust is key to achieving your perfect look and maintaining it long-term.

Be Open to Suggestions

While communicating your preferences is essential, be open to your barber’s suggestions. They may recommend alternative styling options or techniques based on your hair type, growth patterns, or unique features. Trust their expertise; a skilled barber can often envision styles that complement your personal preferences while considering practical factors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do I say when asking for a haircut?

Ever wondered how to nail the perfect haircut? Start by communicating your vision to your barber – show pictures, describe lengths and fades. But don’t forget to listen to their expert advice too; a skilled barber knows what’ll flatter your unique features.

How to ask for a haircut for a female?

When getting a women’s haircut, show photos and describe your desired style, length, and preferences clearly. Ask about styling tips and maintenance. An open dialogue helps guarantee the perfect look for you.

How do you explain what haircut you want?

Bring reference photos to clearly show your desired style. Describe the overall cut, specifying length on top, back, and sides. Indicate any gradients like fades or tapers. Discuss maintenance needs with your barber.

How do I say I’m going to cut my hair?

You could simply say, "I’m planning to get a haircut." Feel free to describe your desired style, length, or any other specifics to guide your barber accurately.

How long does a haircut typically last?

Like a butterfly emerging renewed, a fresh haircut breathes life into your style. Typically lasting 4-6 weeks, you’ll soon crave that revitalizing transformation once more.

Is it okay to get a trim frequently?

Yes, getting frequent trims every 4-6 weeks helps maintain your style’s shape and prevents split ends. Just communicate your needs clearly with your barber.

Some popular hairstyles right now are textured crops, modern pompadours, and tousled quiffs. Consider your face shape, hair texture, and lifestyle when choosing a flattering cut.

Can you recommend a hairstyle for thinning hair?

Let your thinning hair take on a stylish edge with a closely cropped cut or buzz cut – the shorter strands create an illusion of thicker volume. For a softer look, try a tousled crop with wispy bangs to mask any sparse areas.

How much does a typical haircut cost?

A typical men’s haircut costs around $20-$40, but prices vary by salon, stylist experience, and location. Higher-end barbershops may charge $45-$75 or more for specialized cuts and services. It’s wise to call ahead and ask about pricing to avoid surprises.


Ultimately, mastering how to ask for the perfect haircut guarantees your stylist understands your vision.

From specifying cut, length, and texture to using proper terminology for taper and necklines, clear communication bridges any gaps.

Don’t hesitate to discuss face shape, desired styling, and maintenance needs too.

With open dialogue and a trusted barber’s expertise, you’re on your way to achieving the ideal look that complements your features and lifestyle.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.