Business Builders

Hair Salon vs. Barbershop: What’s the Difference?


client at hair salon sitting in chair
Source: Oksana Kukuruza |

Have you ever wondered what the main differences are between a hair salon and a barbershop? If so, you’re not alone. Both barbershops and hair salons cut hair and perform services that help people look their best. However, the two handle very different clientele, primarily because of the kinds of haircuts they offer.

And it’s essential to understand the difference whether you’re a hairstylist or barber who is looking for a career cutting hair or a client deciding where you should get your hair cut. Hair salons and barbershops operate differently because of their services or their use of professional salon supplies.

So, let’s set the record straight and sort out the differences between barbershops and hair salons.


What Is a Hair Salon?

Hair salons specialize in the artistry of hair cutting and coloring. Salons may also host several other services like manicures, pedicures, waxing and other spa treatments.


man at barbershop in chair
Source: Prostockstudio |


What Is a Barbershop?

Barbershops specialize in cutting shorter hair. Barbers focus on precise cutting and shaving techniques for the hair and face.


What’s the Difference Between Hair Salons and Barbershops?

Do these two establishments still seem similar? If so, let’s outline the differences.

  • Clientele

    – Barbershops and hair salons usually serve different types of people. However, men, women and non-binary people can visit either. Since hair salons usually service clients with longer hair, their services are more intricate. For barbershops, people with shorter hair usually go in for a shape-up or a trim. They aren’t usually getting their hair dyed or adding extensions. The client’s gender and hair needs are what make salons and barbershops so different.

  • Services Offered

    – The main difference between a hair salon and a barbershop lies in the services these businesses provide. Hair salons usually offer more services than a barbershop due to the clientele that each serves. For example, some services that hair salons offer that barbershops don’t are extensions, manicures, pedicures, hair coloring and blowouts — to name a few. On the other hand, barbershops offer precise buzz cuts, shape-ups and facial hair trims.

  • Products Sold

    – Another thing that differentiates salons and barbershops is the products they sell and use. For example, barbershops use grooming products from reputable brands, like STMNT hair, that are focused mostly on shaping short hair. They may also offer beard oils or products catered toward facial hair. Whereas, salons have all kinds of products that help clients keep hair healthy, retain color and preserve any treatments given in the salon.


When to Visit a Salon

So, how do you know when it’s time to visit a salon, rather than a barbershop? Let’s look at the times when salons may be your best bet.

  • Extensions

    – If you need extensions, you will need to go to a salon, preferably one that specializes in hair extensions.

  • Hair Coloring

    – A salon is the best place to go for services like professional hair coloring and highlights.

  • Blowout and Styling Services for Long Hair

    – Salons usually offer a suite of styling services for long hair such as blowouts and updo styling for special occasions.

  • Hair Cutting for Longer Hair

    – If you have long hair and want layers or bangs, we recommend going to a hair salon.


happy man at barbershop
Source: Pressmaster |


When to Visit a Barbershop

If you have shorter hair or you’re looking for a precise haircut or facial hair shape-up, chances are you need to go to a barber. Here are a few other reasons.

  • Facial Hair

    – If you want facial hair shaped with your haircut, you must visit a barbershop. Barbers use special blades and tools to ensure you get a precise cut.

  • Fade or Lineup

    – For shorter hairstyles that require a lineup or a fade, a barbershop is your best bet.

  • Beard Treatment and Shaping

    – If you have a long beard that requires maintenance, barbershops can not only help you better maintain it, but they can also recommend specialty products.

Is the distinction between barbershops and hair salons a little clearer now? If you’re unsure where you belong, a quick visit to either will help you find out immediately. Barbershops and salons may offer more or less of the services mentioned above. It’s critical for clients and stylists to get to know the shops and salons they want to visit or work at before they commit to see if it’s a good fit for them.


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