5 Ways To Groom Your Barber Vocabulary

Lessen your chances of getting a bunged up cut by knowing how best to talk to your barber about hair.

BY EUGENE LIM | Jul 29, 2016 | Grooming

Chuan Looi

1 | Describe hair length with the metric system

Be definitive when telling your hairstylist how short you would like your hair to be cut. Use the metric system, since you're in Singapore, where the imperial system doesn't fly. Tell them exactly how much much hair they should cut off, be it 3CM at the top or sides. Terms "a little bit" or "shorter" are generally frowned upon.

2 | Know your numbers

The numbers correspond to guards, or the comb-like attachment on the shavers, as well as how much hair they would leave behind. Everyone who's been through National Service would know about the dreaded Number 1 recruit cut, which leaves about a week's worth of hair growth from the scalp (about 3MM). The Number 2 would leave 2 weeks of hair growth after your shave, while the Number 0 means no guards would be attached to the shavers, leaving no hair behind. 

3 | There's a difference between a fade and a taper

Fade and taper cuts may look really similar, as they are both a style that's longer at the top, graduating down to a shorter bottom. It's a popular cut because it provides structure and shape to thehead. Fades, however, are usually shorter, and done with a shaver, where it's goes from long to a Number 0, resulting in a very discernible gradient. Tapers, on the other hand, are for those who prefer a similar gradiated haircut without forgoeing all your hair at the bottom. It's best to ask your hairstylist prior to committing to a cut to find out their personal definition of the difference between the taper and fade. If all else fails, bust out your newfound measurement skills (a la points 1 and 2).

4 | Familiarise yourself with variations of hair textures

From L to R, clockwise: Layered, where longer hair rests on shorter hair; Razored, where the ends of the hair are sheared off for a less bulky look; Choppy, where the top is more voluminous; Texturised, where the hair is a choppy cut, but shorter.

5 | Let your picture do the talking

If you can't be arsed to learn all of the terms above (and yet, you got this far!), bring a picture of the haircut you want, and trust your barber. If you don't get your desired cut, don't worry, that's what caps and hats are for.