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Hair Stylist vs. Barber — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Published on May 16, 2024
A hair stylist specializes in creating various hairstyles and may offer additional services like coloring, while a barber traditionally focuses on cutting, grooming, and styling men's hair, often including shaving services.
Hair Stylist vs. Barber — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Hair Stylist and Barber


Key Differences

Hair stylists are known for their expertise in cutting, coloring, and styling hair of all lengths and types, offering a wide range of services to cater to diverse clientele needs. They stay updated with the latest trends in hair fashion and are skilled in techniques like layering, texturizing, and blow-outs. On the other hand, barbers specialize in cutting, trimming, and styling primarily men's hair, with a strong emphasis on traditional and classic haircuts. Barbers are also known for their expertise in facial hair grooming, such as beard trimming and offering a traditional wet shave.
While hair stylists often work in salons that have a wide array of hair care and cosmetic products, barbers usually operate in barber shops which might have a more masculine environment and could offer more specialized services for men's hair and beard care. This difference in setting also reflects the distinction in the clientele each tends to attract, with stylists catering to a broader demographic, including women and children, whereas barbers traditionally focus on male clients.
Education and training paths for hair stylists and barbers can differ, with stylists typically attending cosmetology schools to learn a broad range of beauty services beyond just hair, such as makeup, nails, and skin care. Barbers, in contrast, often attend barber schools where the focus is more on men's hair and beard care, including the use of razors for shaving.
Hair stylists and barbers may hold different licenses, depending on the region's regulatory requirements. A cosmetology license allows a stylist to offer a broader range of beauty services, while a barber's license might include specialized training in shaving and facial hair grooming, highlighting the professional scope and services offered by each.
Both hair stylists and barbers play crucial roles in the grooming industry, yet their skills, services, and clientele often differ. A person's choice between the two may depend on the services they seek, the type of hair care and grooming experience they prefer, and the expertise required for their hair and beard needs.

Comparison Chart


Cutting, coloring, and styling hair
Cutting, trimming, and styling men's hair, including facial hair grooming


Broad range including hair care and cosmetic services
Specialized in men's hair and beard care, including shaving


Diverse, including women, men, and children
Primarily men


Salons with a wide array of beauty products
Barber shops, often with a more masculine atmosphere


Cosmetology schools, focusing on a broad range of beauty services
Barber schools, focusing on men's hair and beard care

Compare with Definitions

Hair Stylist

A professional skilled in cutting, coloring, and styling hair of all types.
The hair stylist transformed her look with a modern haircut and highlights.


Often provides traditional wet shaves and facial hair grooming.
The barber's skill with a straight razor made for the closest shave he'd ever had.

Hair Stylist

Caters to a broad clientele, including women, men, and children.
The hair stylist is known for her ability to work wonders on both adults' and children's hair.


A professional specializing in cutting, grooming, and styling men's hair and beards.
The barber gave him a classic cut and a precise beard trim.

Hair Stylist

Stays updated with the latest trends in hair fashion.
The hair stylist recommended a hairstyle that matched the latest fashion week trends.


Typically works in barber shops, offering a masculine environment.
He enjoys the traditional vibe of the barber shop, complete with leather chairs and sports memorabilia.

Hair Stylist

May require a cosmetology license depending on regional regulations.
After completing cosmetology school, the hair stylist obtained her license to work in a high-end salon.


May require a barber's license, with training focused on men's hair and shaving.
After barber school, he passed the state board exam to become a licensed barber.

Hair Stylist

Often works in salons and offers a variety of beauty services.
She visited the hair stylist for a complete makeover, including a facial and manicure.


Primarily serves male clients looking for classic and modern haircuts.
The barber is popular among men in the neighborhood for his expertise in both classic and trendy styles.


One whose business is to cut hair, usually of men and boys, and shave or trim beards.


To cut (the hair of someone).


To shave or trim (the beard of someone).


A person whose profession is cutting (usually male) customers' hair and beards.


A barber surgeon, a foot soldier specializing in treating battlefield injuries.


(Canada) A storm accompanied by driving ice spicules formed from sea water, especially one occurring on the Gulf of St. Lawrence; so named from the cutting ice spicules.


To cut the hair or beard of (a person).


To chatter, talk.


One whose occupation it is to shave or trim the beard, and to cut and dress the hair of his patrons.


A storm accompanied by driving ice spicules formed from sea water, esp. one occurring on the Gulf of St. Lawrence; - so named from the cutting ice spicules.


To shave and dress the beard or hair of.


United States composer (1910-1981)


A hairdresser who cuts hair and shaves beards as a trade


Perform the services of a barber: cut the hair and/or beard of

Common Curiosities

What services do hair stylists offer?

Hair stylists offer cutting, coloring, and styling services for all hair types and may also provide other beauty services.

Can barbers cut women's hair?

While barbers specialize in men's hair, many have the skills to cut women's hair, especially for shorter styles.

What's a traditional wet shave?

A traditional wet shave is a barber service involving a hot towel, lather, and a straight razor for a close shave.

Are hair stylists and barbers trained differently?

Yes, hair stylists usually attend cosmetology schools, while barbers attend barber schools with a focus on men's grooming.

Can a hair stylist perform a shave?

Depending on their training and local regulations, some hair stylists can perform shaves, though it's more common among barbers.

Can a barber color hair?

Some barbers are trained in coloring hair, but it's more commonly a service provided by hair stylists.

Can I get a facial at a barber shop?

Some barber shops offer facial grooming services, but comprehensive facial treatments are more common in salons.

Do hair stylists and barbers need licenses?

Yes, both professions typically require licenses, but the specific requirements can vary by region.

What type of haircut should I get from a barber?

Barbers are particularly skilled in classic cuts, fades, and military-style haircuts, as well as beard trims and grooming.

Are hair stylist services more expensive than barber services?

Prices can vary widely, but hair stylist services, especially those involving color, can be more expensive due to the products and time involved.

Do hair stylists offer beard grooming services?

While some hair stylists offer beard grooming, it's more commonly a service associated with barbers.

Can a hair stylist provide makeup services?

Many hair stylists are also trained in providing makeup and other cosmetic services, especially if they have a cosmetology background.

What's the difference in atmosphere between salons and barber shops?

Salons often offer a broad range of beauty services in a stylish setting, while barber shops might have a more laid-back, masculine environment.

Is there a difference in the tools used by hair stylists and barbers?

While there's overlap, barbers often use more clippers and straight razors, whereas stylists might use a wider range of cutting and styling tools.

What should I consider when choosing between a hair stylist and a barber?

Consider the type of service you need, your hair type, the desired experience, and whether you're looking for additional beauty services.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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