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Here's How To Get A Haircut You Actually Like

It's all about communication.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Your hair doesn’t need to call attention to itself, it just needs to look good.

Because in those stressful moments, like it or not, looking good matters. A job interview. A date. Lunch with grandma. Your hair should be one less thing to worry about.

But if you’re reading this, maybe you need some help with getting a really good haircut.

That’s because when most of us go to the barber we tell them some vague idea of what we think we want before conceding "Just do whatever you think looks best."

It's okay. We've been there. But it's time to take ownership of that stuff on top of your head (while you still have it).

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Thankfully getting a good haircut is actually easy.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

We know, because we tried it for you.

Whether you go to the fanciest salon in your city, a greasy old-school barber or your local $12 Supercuts, these tips will help you get the cut you want.

Dude #1 - Angelo

Interest in his own hair: πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’ / 5Hair type: Thick, curly when long. Generally kept messy, no product.What he usually asks for at the barber: "Keep enough length to run my hands through it and push it to one side out of my eyes. And I usually just ask for a #3 on the sides, not too short. Again, I usually defer to the barber and say 'I don't know, do what you think looks best.'
Chris Mottalini for BuzzFeed

Interest in his own hair: πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’ / 5

Hair type: Thick, curly when long. Generally kept messy, no product.

What he usually asks for at the barber: "Keep enough length to run my hands through it and push it to one side out of my eyes. And I usually just ask for a #3 on the sides, not too short. Again, I usually defer to the barber and say 'I don't know, do what you think looks best.'

Dude #2 - Kevin

Interest in his own hair: πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’ / 5Hair type: Coarse but also curly and dry.What he usually asks for at the barber: It depends on my mood, the time of year, and how daring I want to be when I'm at the barber. When I first got the hairstyle that I have now, I showed my barber a picture of Usher and Kid Cudi when they had their mohawks and she used those as inspiration.
Chris Mottalini for BuzzFeed

Interest in his own hair: πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’ / 5

Hair type: Coarse but also curly and dry.

What he usually asks for at the barber: It depends on my mood, the time of year, and how daring I want to be when I'm at the barber. When I first got the hairstyle that I have now, I showed my barber a picture of Usher and Kid Cudi when they had their mohawks and she used those as inspiration.

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We visited the best barber shop we could find to figure out what we should really getting at the barber shop.

We got our hair cut by Nigella Miller at Blind Barber in Brooklyn, NY, where they give you a coffee, beer, whiskey or whatever during your cut, which is nice.
Chris Mottalini for BuzzFeed

We got our hair cut by Nigella Miller at Blind Barber in Brooklyn, NY, where they give you a coffee, beer, whiskey or whatever during your cut, which is nice.

Nigella helped us figure out what info you should have ready when you walk into the barbershop.

Do you use product? Would you? If so, you'll have to find the product that's right for you (your barber can help!) If not, there may some styling goals that are off limits to you.Do you want to be able to recreate an exact style on your own? Your barber can give you an aggressive style, but you have to decide whether your committed and skilled enough to do it daily. How often are you willing to come back? Shorter cuts mean more frequent cuts, which can be pricier.Do you keep your hair messy of precise? Pretty self explanatory, but depending on your profession and lifestyle, you might be able to get away with messier looks.
Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Do you use product? Would you? If so, you'll have to find the product that's right for you (your barber can help!) If not, there may some styling goals that are off limits to you.


Do you want to be able to recreate an exact style on your own?
Your barber can give you an aggressive style, but you have to decide whether your committed and skilled enough to do it daily.

How often are you willing to come back? Shorter cuts mean more frequent cuts, which can be pricier.

Do you keep your hair messy of precise? Pretty self explanatory, but depending on your profession and lifestyle, you might be able to get away with messier looks.

If you've got a particular hair type, consider these tips:

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

With those questions answered, your barber will be able to figure out a style that works for your level of effort.

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If you have a specific look in mind, bring a picture for reference.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

The communication doesn't end there. During your haircut, keep an eye on the mirror, and ask questions about what your barber is doing.

Within your chosen style you need to make some other choices, too. Like how long you want your sideburns.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

For example, Kevin decided to have his sideburns faded into his facial hair.

Chris Mottalini for BuzzFeed
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And what type of neckline you prefer.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Angelo went with a rounded neckline, FWIW.

Chris Mottalini for BuzzFeed

And how long you like the hair on your sides.

This will help you choose which buzzer length to ask for.
Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

This will help you choose which buzzer length to ask for.

If your barber is using an unusual tool you've never seen, feel free to ask what it does.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed
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...like thinning shears, which help remove weight from thick hair so that it lays comfortably and easily when styled.

Chris Mottalini for BuzzFeed

Or a straight razor, which can be used to get super close shaves and extra sharp lines.

Chris Mottalini for BuzzFeed

Or to shave in a "hard part."

This was the first time Angelo got a shaved in part, which makes it easier to style his hair in the morning.
Chris Mottalini for BuzzFeed

This was the first time Angelo got a shaved in part, which makes it easier to style his hair in the morning.

Getting an actually good haircut can make a HUGE difference. Case in point:

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Angelo before and after his haircut.

Alvin Zhou / BuzzFeed
Alvin Zhou / BuzzFeed
← Slide β†’
Alvin Zhou / BuzzFeed

Angelo's final thoughts:

Nigella did some different things than I'm used to, like using a comb and shears to do my sides instead of buzzers. This means my sides weren't as short as I usually get them, but that if I take my sweet time before coming back to the barber, my hair will look more natural as it grows out.

I barely do anything to my hair besides a quick brush every once in awhile. But Nigella showed me how to use product effectively on those rare occasions when I want to look a little nicer. She told me to work in pomade on the back and sides first, then moving forward, then to brush it in so the product is evenly distributed and not all gunked up at the front.

If you're getting product, don't just assume you know how to use it. Ask the barber how!

Once you've found a barber or a shop that you like, that makes it so much easier. Building a rapport with a stylist is key, so that as you continue to come back, you won't have to really explain anything anymore.

And Kevin before and after his.

Alvin Zhou / BuzzFeed
Alvin Zhou / BuzzFeed
← Slide β†’
Alvin Zhou / BuzzFeed

Kevin's final thoughts:

This time I learned to trust the barber more and realized how much her aesthetic matches with mine. She went a little more daring and faded my sides much more dramatically to get more of a mohawk look.

I learned that after after the first few days, in order for me to maintain the look, I need to use a brush to keep things neat. (I also use two different products, a olive oil moisturizer, and a castor oil).

For guys who have hair like mine, you don't have to get stuck in your normal caesar haircut or very low fade. You never know how much a new hairstyle can improve your confidence and overall attitude.

I think it's relatively easy to get the look that you want if you're clear and direct about the look you're trying to achieve. You should always be satisfied when leaving the barber's chair, but also realize that it may take a few tries to get your hair to 100% perfection.

Last thing: save this to your phone.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed
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