1. Clean hair = a better end result for you. Do you brush your teeth before you go to the dentist? Do you take rubbish out of your car before you have it vacuumed? Do you wash your hair before you come in for a haircut? The answer to all three questions should be "yes". Nothing causes a barber to internally sigh more than seeing a greasy, sticky mop sat in our chairs. The benefits of having clean hair go further than the first impression, though. Clean hair is both easier to cut and style afterwards. However, if you absolutely MUST wear hair product before your appointment and you don't have time to wash it out, keep it minimal (slimy has never been a trend - less is definitely more.) and have something water soluble, so we can work around it. The $5 special from Woolies ain't good for anyone. It's very painful for a barber to see their hard work tarnished by dodgy hair gel you've dug out from the back of your medicine cabinet in the late 90's.
2. Know what haircut you want. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase "I dunno mate, you're the professional", then I'd have at least $20. But it's still frustrating. Yes, we are the "professionals", but our profession is cutting hair, not reading minds. When you go to McDonald's and they ask what you want, do you say "I dunno mate, you're the professional" to them? I doubt it. Sure, in a restaurant you can ask for recommendations - which is something we can also definitely give. Everybody's hair is different and will suit certain styles more than others. But you will have to give us at least some indication of what you do or don't like. Bringing in one or more photos is an excellent way to give us some idea of what you're after. Just saying "whatever" does not. If you tell us to do what we want we'll give you a skin fade, and if you normally get a number 3 on the sides you're going to regretting telling your barber to "do whatever".
3. Sit still. Look straight ahead and try not to tilt your head unless directed to. If we want your head tilted we will move your head to the angle we need. If you feel your barber pushing against your head with the clippers they're not pushing your head to move, they're trying to get all the hair between the clippers, sit strong and hold your head in the position it's in. Barbers aren't trained to cut hair on moving targets, so when your favourite banger gets played on the speakers in store, you need to remember you aren't in the club, but actually sitting in a chair with someone holding very expensive and sharp objects close to your head and face, so it isn't the best time to bang your head.
4. If your barbershop of choice uses appointments, show up on time. If you're minutes late, don't complain if you're refused a service for that day, or asked to pay a deposit before your appointment in the future. Serial offenders can cost a shop hundreds of dollars in the space of a couple of months. Skipping an appointment here and there might not seem like a big deal to you but many shops are independent local businesses who simply cannot afford to have this happen. Not only because they've missed out on the money from you but because they've also missed out on money from someone else who would have actually turned up, but couldn't, because that time wasn't available, because you took it. We get it - things come up, things happen, that's just life. But it isn't difficult to make a quick phone call to say "Hey, I'm sorry but I can't make my appointment today". A little bit of notice goes a long way and communication is greatly appreciated.
5. Keeping with the theme of appointments - don't show up an hour before closing time and get upset when you won't be squeezed in. Sure, you're welcome to try, and there will be the odd occasion that you time it to perfection and can jump straight into the chair, but this simply won't always be the case. You've probably had at lease a couple of weeks since your last haircut, which is plenty of time to book your next one. Some (amazing) people book their next haircut on the day. Again, yes, life happens and it isn't always this easy, but barbers have lives outside of work too, and want to go home on time. Most shops open both early and late enough that unless you're working 18 hour days, you should be able to get in at some point (with an appointment, woo!)
6. Try not to take calls during your haircut - a barbershops booking schedule is a finely tuned machine that runs like clock work. We can try to continue to cut your hair while you're on the phone but it will be uncomfortable for everyone. Let us do our thing and call them back when you're finished. This is especially true when you're in a walk-in barbershop. If you have any awareness of your surroundings then you should feel the awkward gaze beaming from the queue of waiting customers begin to burn a hole into the back of your head. This leads us on to point 7.
7. Don't be on your phone scrolling through Instagram or Facebook while you're in the chair. You might not notice but your head will start to tilt down to look at the screen. As stated in point 3 - It's much easier to cut a still, forward-facing head. Most modern haircuts rely on making even, straight, symmetrical lines, which are a lot more difficult to achieve when your head isn't in a natural position. If your hair gets cut while your head is tilted, then it's possible that symmetry is lost when you move your head back to it's natural position, resulting in an uneven line-up/taper/fade/cut.
Remember - a happy barber is more likely to want to give you a better service. We've all got clients that have over time grown into friends. That bridge will be harder to cross if you don't follow these simple, courteous steps.