9 Styling Techniques Every Barber Should Know Before Accepting Customers

Most of the time, a barber’s job is seen as plainly trimming hair and brushing it off the neck and shoulders of the customers. But beyond this basic notion, there are other things that barbers do and include their service. Some well-rounded barbers can do beard styling, eyebrow trims, and even ear singeing (you’ll know more of this later). All these add value to the service especially if a customer doesn’t want to look for another stylist that will do the job separately. With that, I listed some styling techniques every barber should know to help you out.

The techniques I’ll discuss could be advanced in nature compared to the basic cutting of hair. The industry of barbering is growing and more people are spending time and resources to be a professional stylist. You simply can’t be left behind just because you failed to explore different styles that, no matter how subtle, will make a big difference on the look.

So before you accept a customer on your styling chair, take time to read this. Be guided on our simple process to get you started. I advise that you practice well before trying any of these on an actual crown of hair.


Lineups are the defined lines in the hair that creates an ultra-clean cut path on the scalp. It could either be surgical or hairline lineups depending on what the customer requests. Regardless of what you’re tasked to do, lineups are excellent styling techniques to give a person an edgy and suave look. But that is if you do it right. A failed line up is a disaster especially if you over shaved the surgical line or the hairline wasn’t symmetrical after styling. This is one of the styling techniques every barber should know you can’t fail at.

styling techniques every barber should know

Use a comb and dab it on some talc powder. After that, create a surgical line that you’ll later trace. If the hair is a bit disheveled, you can try putting on a spritz to keep it in place. Start tracing from the back of the head going forward using a straight razor. Always use a sharp and clean razor to reduce the risk of cutting a customer’s skin and giving him ugly skin bumps.

Make sure that the thickness of the line up isn’t awkward and it only accentuates the side part. If you’re dealing with a hairline line up, do the same process but always take a step back to check if you’re doing well.


Tapering is a finishing technique where the sides and back are styled to have a gradually thinning effect. This avoids exposing the scalp too much and it also imbibes a clean, well-kept look. Unlike the fade cut, it’s low key and less intimidating for people who just want a short and easy to manage hair. It’s a conservative choice but sleek if done right.

As one of the styling techniques every barber should know, you need to have a clipper and a set of guards. Decide where the tapering cut will end so you can plan the guards you’re going to use. Use the shortest clipper guard and start on the lowest point of the hair closest to the ear. With that, you have your first layer of taper.

You can go on by switching to longer guards until the taper meets the volume of hair on top. Don’t be hasty on cutting the hair with the clippers so you won’t overcut the taper. Also, don’t start tapering unless you’re done trimming the hair. Doing so will result in an uneven and unsightly finish.

Remember, this takes a lot of practice to get used to.


Commonly compared to tapered cuts, fade is edgier and it exposes the scalp. There could be a taper effect on it but very subtle. Start doing the fade once you finish the haircut and you settled the length that will be left on the top or sides if it’s a low-fade finish. Define the spot where the fade will start and end on both sides of the head.

styling techniques every barber should know

When it comes to choosing the right clipper guard, pick one that’s higher than #3 so you can achieve a thinner cut. You’ll need a shorter guard when starting from the parting down to the extreme fade so the outcome won’t be a glaring shave. Make sure that you glide the clippers horizontally on the spot you’re working to ensure that the cut will be symmetrical. As one of the styling techniques every barber should know, it’s crucial that you master this.

After that, take a second look at the top hair volume and perform touch-ups to make it look rectangular. Take note that the extent of the geometric appearance depends on your customer’s request. Always move in small sections just like how you’ll do it with a tapered cut. A steady hand is required here.


Contrary to stereotypes, a layered haircut is also a thing among men. It gives their hair volume especially those who used to have naturally weighed down tresses. Layering also helps reduce the volume of the hair without making it appear too thin. Usually, the bottom part is made the longest and the cut shortens as it climbs up to the crown. You have to be careful here or your customer’s head will be a disaster of uneven cuts.

The technique here is to work on wet hair. It will keep the strands intact and in place especially if there’s a lot of volume going on. After that, do face framing to ensure that the long hair will be cut equally.  Cut using a powered pair of shears then switch on shorter blades to come up with a blended look on the hair. When cutting, always grasp the hair upwards then snip. You should also leave some length since the hair will be shorter when it dries.

Once you’re done layering, blow-dry the hair to show the natural look of the hair. This will reveal stray hair and missed spots. It’s normal for the locks to have flyaways for a few days until it settles down to the new length.


No matter how excellent the haircut is, the sabotaging part could be the neckline. You should trim the hair on the nape with the same precision as to how you cut the top part. There are three types you can choose from: blocked, rounded, and tapered. It’s important that you base the choice of neckline cut on the shape of the back of your customer’s head. As one of the styling techniques every barber should know, you should pay attention to this.

Basically, a blocked haircut is a style where the hair is cut straight across the nape. The rounded one arcs a bit at the back but without any fade or taper. Among the three, the tapered neckline is the most common since it gradually thins down to the nape and follows the natural course of the hairline.

If the customer doesn’t plan to have another haircut soon, suggest that they go for a tapered look. Both the blocked and rounded neckline cuts grow fast and would need another trimming. Tapered cuts grow and look better as the hair lengthens in time. It will look clean even if the hair is a bit longer than usual.


Aside from the neckline, one of the styling techniques every barber should know is the sideburn. It’s a defining feature of the face that when done wrong will cause a problem that will take months to fix. When trimming a sideburn, make sure that you don’t apply any product so the hair will be in its natural place. Take note that your customer may request that you follow the natural length of their sideburns and that you just trim it a bit.

styling techniques every barber should know

A sideburn could either be above ear, mid-ear, or below the ear. All these depend on the hairstyle and request of the customer. Most of the time, if the customer is growing a beard, a below the ear sideburn is necessary so it will meet with the facial hair.  Once you’re satisfied with the length, apply a little shaving cream on the edges of the sideburns so you can finish it using a straight razor.

Remember that when you do a fade haircut, you should also include the sideburn on the fade. This goes to the same to tapered ones. A well-kept sideburn will accentuate the overall look of the haircut.

Ear singeing

Ear singeing is a traditional barber technique of removing ear hair. Instead of cutting the hair which can fall inside the ear and cause infection, ear singeing uses fire to burn the hair. This is the best trick to remove pesky ear hair, although it’s not for the faint of heart. Ear singeing involves wrapping a cotton ball on the tip of the scissors, dipping it on rubbing alcohol, lighting it up, and dabbing it on the outer ear. It’s one of the styling techniques every barber should know if they want to add flare to their service.

The fire would sting a bit, but if the barber is skilled, the pain would be minimal. This is a Turkish method of removing hair and shouldn’t be tried at home especially for those who aren’t skilled. Most barbershops offer this service for free.

styling techniques every barber should know

Tweezing ear is dangerous since it can start infections. Cutting it using a pair of scissors isn’t a good option too as you might clip the person’s ear. Mastering and recommending ear singeing to your customers will be added points to your shop. But before you do so, practice incessantly. You don’t want your customer to end up with a blazing crown, right?

Like how many describe it, ear singeing is the manliest way of removing ear hair.

Eyebrow trim

It may come as a surprise to you, but there are barbers who actually take time to master eyebrow trimming. This styling technique isn’t exclusive to the ladies since men can also have an unkept facial hair above their eyes. And as a barber who deals with facial hair, eyebrows also count as an important part.

First, plucking all of it off isn’t an option. Second, you have to do it while maintaining the masculine look of your customers. There’s a certain fleek on the brows that will accentuate the entire face and letting it go untrimmed could sabotage your client’s haircut. It’s one of the styling techniques every barber should know aside from the conventional ways.

You should start by brushing the brow using a dedicated, tiny brow brush. Always keep the trimming natural by removing the strays beyond the brow line and keeping everything intact. Applying a little bit of spritz using the brow brush will help manage the facial hair.

Be prepared as men are more likely to have thicker eyebrows than women. The end result should be an eyebrow arching above the eye with the right height and thickness. And most of all, the pair of brows should be symmetrical after the trimming.

Shape Up

Once the haircut is done and you finished the styling, one thing left to do is to shape up. It’s the finishing touches that include sharpening the edges of the hairline or removing missed hair in the circumference of the hairline. Shaping up also includes sculpting the hairline for a geometric finish.

styling techniques every barber should know

It’s a very crucial finishing step since you can’t undo the part you mistakenly shaved or razored. The first thing you have to do is to visualize the shape up by taking a step back and looking at the overall hairline of your customer. There’s no written rule as to where you should start the shaping up. It depends on where you’re the most comfortable at. Just practice to perfect the finishing touch before applying it to a customer’s head. It’s one of the styling techniques every barber should know before they even start snipping.

Always check your work and see if you’ve done it as symmetrical as possible. Those with a receding hairline might be a challenge to deal with but with the right shaping, it can be done.

These styling techniques every barber should know are just some among the myriads of skills professional stylists have. Take time to master them so you can level up the ante of your service. Aside from the traditional cutting and styling, having these unique touches will pay off on both effort and revenue.

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9 Styling Techniques Every Barber Should Know Before Accepting Customers

by time to read: 9 min