There comes a time in every guy’s life when his look just isn’t working anymore. And that’s okay. The way you dress in your 20s isn’t going to be the same as the style you grow into when you hit your 30s. The same might be said of your haircut. When you’re in high school or college, all you need is to check into the barber’s once every few weeks so you don’t end up resembling a drowned river-rat. But as you get older and figure out your look, finding a barber or stylist who clicks with you can help you land jobs, get dates, and age well. Read on for some mistakes to avoid when you’re going through that process.
1. Appearances Aren’t Everything
Be careful not to judge the appearance of the person who’s sharpening your appearance. Let’s say you’re on track for a promotion and you want to impress the boss during a meeting next week. You book an appointment at a place like the Barber Surgeons Guild because you, sir, are in the market for a signature haircut, complete with a straight razor shave or a beard trim. You want to leave looking sharp. But when you arrive, the stylist is grizzled, tatted up, and rocking the man-bun. “This dude is the total opposite of me,” you figure. “Time to ask for another stylist.”
Mistake! The aforementioned dude may not share your style, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help you achieve that style. Actually, people who defy appearances are often the most masterful professionals. Ever see a mixologist get off work and, after hours of making cocktails, order a Budweiser? Ever meet a fashionista like High Fashion Men with a haute couture style-line who only dons jeans and a black shirt? You can be so good at what you do that you stop paying attention to the fussier details. So don’t worry about how your barber grooms himself. As long as he can recommend the right products for you and you leave his services looking the way you wanted, he’s earned your business.
2. Money, Money, Money
Always be on the lookout for the best deal, whether that means buying a house or getting an upscale cleanup. But keep in mind that universal rule of finance: You get what you pay for. Take shoes as an example. Shelling out $600 for designer footwear like Men With Class might seem extravagant, but you’re saving money in the long run. Think about it: Those shoes could last you 10-15 years, whereas if you opt for a $30 pair of Reeboks, the soles bust out in six weeks. And then you’re paying $30 for another pair — on and on and on.
The same goes for the wine you drink, the style you choose, or the wash bag essentials you bought this summer. True, you don’t want to feel like someone gut-punched you when you check your account balance the next morning. But, generally, if you don’t pay out a bit extra for quality products, you risk feeling like you wasted all your money on something you don’t even want. So invest in a good hair-care regimen. If you pick your haircut because you saw a deal on Groupon and decide to ignore your buddy’s tip to hit up BSG, you might be in for a no good, very bad hair day.
3. Ignoring Advice
Every writer needs an editor. Every athlete needs a trainer. And every beard aficionado needs a master barber. Why? Because even talented people sharpen their skills with good criticism. Let’s say you’ve been maintaining your facial hair situation for years. You’re a mutton-chop guy and you own it. There’s nothing wrong with that. But maybe your beard line’s too high, you’re using too much product, and you let your earwax go unchecked, bro. Those are the details that the pros at BSG can eagle-eye and trim up — that is, if you let them.
Imagine going to a barbershop and the man standing behind your chair drops this cold piece on you: You’re going bald. It happens to us all. (To be precise, to 85% of men by the time we’re 50.) Yep, your hairline’s receding, and the worst thing you can do is rock the comb-over. Your barber suggests you let him buzz it short. But you don’t want to hear that. You’re still hanging on to your floppy-headed look from 10 years ago. So you hop from stylist to stylist, trying to find someone who will tell you what you want to hear. Mistake! If you notice that every BSG-caliber pro is giving you the same input, it’s probably time to listen up.
So, okay, those are all the things you shouldn’t do when finding the right stylist. What should you be looking for? A clean shop, a range of services, and even a barber who’s tough to get an appointment with. (After all, there’s probably a reason he’s in high demand.) But the deciding factor? Someone you vibe with. A barbershop is basically a guy’s spa, and if you can relax in it, you’ve probably found the right place for you.