With high end barber shops coming into vogue, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a barber shop and a salon. Both of these shops can give most people a great cut, but there are a few distinct differences.
Barber Shops Cater Primarily to Male Hair Cuts
A barber shop started as a place for men to get groomed quickly. Consequently, the traditional "barber shop" has stylists who are well-versed in male hair cuts and can complete them quickly. Today, even women occasionally want a pixie cut or something that's traditionally male. These women may be able to get their hair cuts done faster and more professionally at a barber shop.
Because barber shops work primarily with male hair, many of them don't do color work, shampooing, or conditioning. Instead, they focus on providing a fast cut, and often a grooming of any facial hair. Men with longer hair may be better served at a salon than a barber shop.
Barber Shops Are Fast and Efficient
Most barber shops don't take reservations. Instead, they let people line up and wait. A cut only takes about fifteen minutes, so they just go down the line. This is true even when they're doing some fairly substantial work, such as cutting patterns. But, waiting in line may not be what you want.
Comparatively, some salons take appointments months in advance. The highest end salons can be booked into the next year. It's almost always required that you make an appointment with a salon. But as a bonus, there's no waiting.
An Expensive Barber Shop Can Do Most of What an Expensive Salon Can Do
Now that you know the differences, let's move onto an exception. Most high end barber shops can do just about anything a salon can do, that's why they're high end. Similarly, most high end salons are also flexible enough to do what a barber shop can do. If you're willing to pay more, you can go just about anywhere.
In fact, many high end barber shops have the best of both worlds now, and people can even make appointments and select the stylist they want to use. It's worth it to inquire about a barber shop before going, for this reason.
Ultimately, it's going to depend mostly on what you want. If you want a quick, competent hair cut, a barber shop does the best work; if you want a complicated cut, color, and re-texture, a salon is better. Yet at the higher ends of both barber shops and salons, the line can blur.