The Grooming Ritual: What to Expect During a Barbershop Visit

The first time you visit a new place is always a little intimidating, especially if you don’t know what’s waiting for you. While most professional barbershops in New York will try to create a welcoming atmosphere, walking in for the first time can be intimidating. Everyone already seems to know each other, and it’s easy to put a foot wrong if you don’t know the unwritten rules.

You don’t have to have full-blown social anxiety to want to know what you’re in for on your first visit to a barbershop for men. Everything runs more smoothly when you are properly prepared. Knowing what your appointment will entail will also help you structure your day around it, with a better idea of how much time you’ll need to allow. Ready? Let’s dive in.

Making Your Appointment

If you haven’t done so already, it’s usually a good idea to make an appointment for your haircut or shave. While many barbershops in New York will accept walk-ins, making a specific booking will cut down on your potential waiting time. It also guarantees that your barber will be able to see you when it suits you. 

Booking your slot has never been easier. If phone calls aren’t your thing, your favorite professional barbershop will often have an online booking system you can use instead. Not only does this make the process quick and easy, but it also helps to prevent miscommunications and double bookings. You’ll usually receive a confirmation email once your booking is done so you can make sure you’ve selected the right day and time. Online bookings often allow you to check the price of your appointment up front, too.

Check with your barber whether you need to arrive with clean hair or if a hair wash is part of the appointment. Don’t apply product to your hair before you come – even if it isn’t about to get washed off, it changes the way your hair falls and lies, affecting the outcome of the cut.

The Check-In: A Guide for When You Arrive

Whether you have an appointment or you’re a walk-in, your first port of call is checking in to let your barber know you’ve arrived. The modern upmarket men’s barbershop often has a receptionist fielding new arrivals. They’ll let your barber know that you’re here, so you don’t have to worry about disturbing their current appointment, or, if necessary, they’ll check who’s available for the cut or shave you have in mind and assign you to someone.

If there’s no receptionist, politely get someone’s attention and tell them what you’re there for. If you’ve booked an appointment with a specific barber, that’s the person who needs to know you’ve arrived (ask the first available person to point them out if you’re unsure what they look like). 

Once this is done, take a seat and wait to be called. Even if your barber is finishing up their last appointment, they need time to reset their station, clean up, and have a sip of water before they start with you. Even if they don’t seem busy, let them call you rather than presuming you can make yourself comfortable straight away. A good barber won’t make you wait too long or will communicate with you if there’s a delay.

In The Chair: Before The Cut or Shave

You’ve finally made it into your barber’s chair. Sit back and relax – it’s time for the magic to happen. Before any wizardry can occur, however, you’ll have a quick consultation with your barber to confirm what you’d like to achieve in this appointment. This includes confirming that you’re there for a cut, shave, or both and letting them know about your hair and beard goals.

Your barber is a highly-trained professional. This is your chance to use that knowledge and experience to your advantage. If there’s a specific style you want, bring some photo references and then listen to what your barber has to say about it. They might advise you that that style might not work for your face shape or that you’ll need to grow out your hair a little more to get the effect you’re looking for. Whether it’s a roadmap to hair perfection or some alternate suggestions, it’s always worth a listen – even if you don’t decide to follow their advice. It’s always better to go in as informed as possible. Most importantly, be realistic: if your barber says that a style isn’t going to work, they’re not just making small talk.

If you have any specific hair concerns, this is the time to raise them. Worried about thinning or balding? Your barber can suggest more flattering style choices and helpful products to boost your hair health. Had a hair disaster before? This is your chance to draw some boundaries around what you definitely don’t want. Last but not least, this is your chance to (politely) ask if your barber offers “silent appointments” if you aren’t in the mood for chitchat.

Snip-Snip, Buzz-Buzz: What Happens During Your Haircut or Shave?

The big moment has arrived. It’s time for the cut or shave itself. The process will vary whether you’re having a cut, beard trim, or straight razor shave, so you can ask your barber to explain each step if you’re unsure. Generally, depending on the length of your hair or beard, your barber will use a combination of scissors, combs, and razors to tame your locks into your desired look. 

Chatting with your barber is a good way to pass the time during your appointment. It’s also a great way to build a rapport that will stand you in good stead as you hopefully become a regular client. For those who aren’t so inclined, be careful about taking refuge in your phone or a magazine – it will make you much less aware of the position of your head and more likely to move, disrupting your barber’s work.

Styled & Satisfied: Enjoy Your Next Visit to a Barbershop for Men

At Soho NYC Barbers, we take care to make every hair experience a good one. Our highly qualified barbers are here to answer your questions and work with you to transform your look. From a regular trim to a relaxing hot towel shave, we’ll keep you looking fresh at all times, whether you’re a regular or it’s your first time. 

Book an appointment with us and join us at our premium barbershop for men for the cut or shave that leaves you feeling confident today.