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If you’re looking to get the most out of your money at the barbershop, you need to know how to ask for the perfect haircut. If you don’t know how, a good haircut can almost be as upsetting as a bad haircut because you know your hair might never look that way again. To save yourself from having to carry a picture of your head into the barbershop, you can just learn how to explain yourself the first time. Most barbers have been at the job long enough to be able to pick up on lingo and carry it out effectively, leaving you with the style you came in for.

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Don’t assume you both have the same name for the same haircut. You might say you want a taper cut, but that doesn’t mean you’ll both know where the tapering should begin. The best bet is to ignore the name altogether and use descriptions for that haircut instead.

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Know the length of the clippers you use. If you’ve been to that specific barber before and know what kind of clippers are used, you can just say the number of the clippers you want. On the other hand, you may be better sticking to the specific measurement for the clippers you want the barber to use.

Be as specific as possible with the terms to describe the haircut you want. Words like “short” or “long” are too vague. Instead, use words like “choppy” or “thinned-out” to describe the technique you prefer. Depending on the type of barber you have, the terms used can be anywhere from extremely basic to extremely fashionable, so ask around before showing up.

Use you hands to show the barber any details that are difficult to explain. Don’t leave anything up to chance. If you want your hair tapered at a specific spot, point to that spot. If you want your hair a specific length, demonstrate how long you want and don’t leave the description at just a number.

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Get to know the same barber so that you can learn the lingo he prefers. You can also get used to that barber’s personal tastes. For example, you might pick up that the barber always leaves it a little longer than you ask for. After time, you’ll then know to always ask for a shorter haircut than you might otherwise ask for. The goal, however, when sticking with the same barber, is to be able to walk in and not have to ask for anything, since they’ll already know.

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Remember that you’re at a barber shop. If it is too confusing to explain the haircut you want, you probably want a pretty confusing haircut, and you may be better served at a hair stylist’s boutique and not a barber shop.