Barber or Hair Salon for a man looking for a new hairstyle?
February 15, 2007 2:44 PM   Subscribe

Hair Salon or Barber? How to get a good haircut without knowing what would look good? This is in Berkeley.

I've long subsided on cheap haircuts, and they've served me fairly well. However, they were all quite simple and consistent -- fairly short and styled up/back. I've been thinking of investing some money in getting a good haircut, presumably letting the professional do what he/she thinks is best and seeing how that goes.

Now, should I go to a hair salon or barber? I took a look at Yelp for good local hair salon recommendations and it seemed that almost all the reviews were by women, so I'm not sure if barbers would be better equipped for cutting a man's hair. I don't really want to go the bring-the-picture route -- rather, I am willing to bet on someone who works with hair for a living doing something fresh with my hair. Given these considerations, what kind of a place would be best? If you have specific recommendations in Berkeley or around Berkeley, that would be appreciated, but I am mostly trying to figure out how to best get a good haircut without providing any specifics.
posted by bsdfish to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Go to Festoon on MLK. And if you have the time (like 2-3 hours) you can be a hair model there for $15 a haircut. All the people there Really know what they're doing, what looks good, etc.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:48 PM on February 15, 2007

I don't know Festoon in particular, but go to a salon at least once. If you're concerned about looking too metro or whatever, just say so and they'll hook you up. Ask what might look good, ask lots of questions about what they're doing. Then, even if you don't come back every time, you'll know what to ask for everywhere else. It's worth the investment, even if you go somewhere that's substantially more than $15.
posted by rkent at 2:54 PM on February 15, 2007

I asked a similar question a while ago. The cutaway on Piedmont is great I would recommend Jenny, but no one else. It's under $20, but hard to find a similar haircut for under $35.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 3:07 PM on February 15, 2007

You get what you pay for. Spend the money. Go to a salon. It's your head, for god's sake. You wear it every day. While you're there, wax those brows. Those bad boys are starting to look like caterpillars. The key is to walk the line between "natural" and "well-groomed."

Your boss will like it. Chicks will dig it. This means more money and better sex. This is a no-brainer.

If you want a shave, however, go to an old-fashioned barber shop, and don't accept any barber under the age of 50. And don't let them use anything but a straight razor on your face. And don't spend more than $12.
posted by charlesv at 3:08 PM on February 15, 2007

My haircut strategy: pay the premium for a really nice cut when you're drastically changing the style. In between major cuts, go somewhere cheap and tell them to "just take length off, but keep the shape and style." This has worked pretty well for me and keeps the cost down without sacrificing appearance.
posted by chickletworks at 3:23 PM on February 15, 2007

This is just MHO, and YMMV, but most of the time, there's no reason for a guy to go to a salon to get his haircut. If you want your hair dyed, want more 'grooming' (eyebrows, f'r'instance), or want something a bit unusual, then sure; otherwise, go to the local barber. Much cheaper, but once you find one that knows what he's doing, you'll get a nice looking haircut anyway.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 3:53 PM on February 15, 2007

I've been to barbers all my life but it wasn't until I went to a stylists (and shelled out some bucks) that I realized I'd never had a good haircut that complements the rest of me.
posted by lyam at 3:55 PM on February 15, 2007

i agree that there is definitely a difference between the cheapie cuts and the nicer salons. however. i would caution you about this idea of finding a hairdresser to read your mind or figure out what looks good. good communication is really important when talking to your stylist. you may not know what you want exactly, but i'd go in there with some opinions if i were you. choppy? pointy? slick? messy? hipster mullet? beatle mop?
posted by apostrophe at 6:51 PM on February 15, 2007

I just got a great cut from Eric at Festoon. I am a dude. It took me a while to get comfortable in the salon world, though; I definitely understand your hesitance. There are lots of thing you'll learn as you get into that world which women learn at a young age (I believe there is a camp they all go to? A camp called SHIT WE'RE NOT GOING TO TELL THE DUDES?). Ask about price; each stylist is different.

And, yeah, spend the money on it at least once to see how you like it. The danger is that, like expensive denim, you may not be able to go back.
posted by wemayfreeze at 6:54 PM on February 15, 2007

Go here!

Seriously, don't be afraid. They're super down to earth and wont do anything that you aren't comfortable with. They'll spend a lot of time just consulting w/ you to figure out what will work best for you.

I am not a dude, but I see 'em in there all the time.
posted by lannanh at 7:45 PM on February 15, 2007

I will say that maybe Barbarella is a little intense for a first time salon visit for a dude? I mean, I'm sure it'd be fine (and I've never been there) but the reviews make it seem very salon-y. Also (and really this is why I am suggesting the OP not go there right away) they've been totally snotty to me on the phone (and really I know that that's not a particularly good reason to have a problem with a place because maybe that time the person was a shitty person on the phone, you know? But still: meh. Don't need that crap in my life OR my hair. Is anybody still reading this thread?)
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:27 AM on February 16, 2007

My friend Cindy has a hair salon on Piedmont ave called Azure. She does a great job with my BF's hair. He went to an old school barber for years, but he's really happy with her work. Not a super salon-esque experience; she's got one chair.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:05 PM on February 16, 2007

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