Barbering goes as far back as anyone can remember. Barbers are most well-known for giving men simple haircuts and also for giving them a close shave.
Things have changed over the years and barbershops are not as common as they used to be. Barbers have given way to hair stylists, who perform much more complicated hair styles and hair cuts than has been the custom of barbers.
Barbers were still popular a few decades ago.
A barber is classified as someone who does the following to make a living: Gives shaves, trims beards and cuts hair.
Barbers have been around since what seems like the beginning of time. In fact, some relics found in Egypt from the Bronze Age (circa 3500 B.C.), included razors. Barbers were also mentioned in the Bible.
In the early ages, barbers doubled as dentists and surgeons. These days, however, barbers stick to primarily cutting hair and occasionally shaving a patron’s beard.
Barber poles have a sinister meaning behind them.
Up until fairly recently, barbers were a popular service provider for men who wanted a no-frills, relatively cheap haircut. Barbershops were a place that men could go on a Saturday or maybe during the middle of the week and catch up with old friends and share stories and gossip. Much like hair salons were to women, barbershops were a place for men to congregate, all the while getting their hair cut or beards trimmed.
However, as times changed, so did the needs of men. Instead of wearing their hair in traditional short styles, longer hair started to become popular and more care was needed from a hair professional than a barber could offer. Also, the younger generation quit going to their grandfather’s and father’s hair professionals. Hence, barbershops started closing, making way for salons.
One of the things most commonly associated with barbers is the barber pole. By placing this sign outside of a barber’s place of business, it serves as a beacon, letting everyone know that barbering services are available at that location. The origins of this sign date to medieval times, when it was associated with bloodletting.
Because some barbers doubled as surgeons and dentists, they would perform tooth extractions and surgery on their customers. The original barber pole featured a brass basin at the top of the pole, which represented the vessel where the leeches were kept. There was also a brass basin at the bottom of the pole, which represented the basin into which the blood would collect. The pole itself was meant to represent a staff that the patient would grip during the procedure, in order to encourage blood flow.
These days, those barbershops that are still open typically have some sort of barber’s pole outside of their place of business.
Barbers are much more skilled today than they used to be.
A barber’s tools are relatively simple. He will have chairs, scissors, electric hair clippers, shaving cream, a straight razor (for a clean shave), hair tonic, a brush (for dusting the hair off of clients) and a cape for the clients to wear while getting their hair cut. A barber may also use a certain type of “tape” to put around the client’s neck and beneath the cape to prevent hair from getting into the client’s shirt collar.
These tools are pretty much the same today as they were a few decades ago. Though technology has changed, the barbering profession has, for the most part, remained the same.
While some barbers prefer to remain traditional, others see themselves as hairstylists or hairdressers. And while most do not perform these duties, some can color or perm hair, as well as trim beards, provide shaves and facials, and style hair. Some are also licensed to work with hair-replacement products such as hair pieces and toupees.
In addition, it is also possible to find barbers working in salons. Though they tend to remain traditional in all aspects of their trade, they are also contemporary when it comes to the latest hair trends. They apply the traditional use of barbering tools to perform razor cuts and texturizing hair.
Regardless of what they do, all barbers are required to go to barbering school and obtain a barbering license.