Barbershop Terminologies Explained By An Actual Barber [With Pictures!] - Cyclops Brand

Barbershop Terminologies Explained By An Actual Barber [With Pictures!]

image of a barber talking to his client

Barbershop Terminologies Explained By An Actual Barber

Have you ever wanted a particular haircut but had a hard time explaining exactly what you want to your barber? Don’t feel bad. This happens to many people, and The haircutting industry is riddled with terminology that’s not readily available to the public. (until now!)

If you don’t know what these barber terminologies are, you’re going to feel left out in the dark. This article will explain to you the most popular terminologies in a barbershop so you can articulate your words correctly and get the exact haircut you want, and sound knowledgeable doing it! 

Image of a client with a mid fade. By: Cyclops brand

Asking For A “Fade”

A fade is a specific clipper cut that goes from longer to shorter as it progresses towards the bottom of the head using the clipper guards. 

Depending on where you want the fade to start (low, middle, or high), you would ask the barber low fade, mid fade, or high fade. This is the level where the blending process will start. 

image of a barber texturizing the hair
Barber point cutting to add texture to the hair.

Asking For “Texture”

Texture refers to using the shears to cut notches in the hair at various lengths to add more volume ending in a choppy textured look.

Image of a haircut after using the number #1 clipper guard.

Asking For A “Clipper Cut”

A Clipper cut is where the barber only uses a clipper and the guard number of your choice to cut the hair. Guards refer to the amount of hair in inches that will be left on your head. 

image of clipper guards numbered from 1-8
Clipper Guards are attachments that go on the end of the clipper.

Ask for any of these numbers going from 1-8.

  • 1 = 3mm or 1/8 inches
  • 2 = 6mm or 1/4 inches
  • 3 = 10mm or 3/8 inches
  • 4 = 13mm or 1/2 inches
  • 5 = 16mm or 5/8 inches
  • 6 = 19mm or 3/4 inches
  • 7 = 22mm or 7/8 inches
  • 8 = 25mm or 1 inch
Razor tool used for texturizing the hair.

Asking For A “Razored Cut”

A razor cut reduces the heavy bulk from the hair thinning it out and keeping the initial length.

image of a barber using thinning shears.
hair being thinned using thinning shears.

Asking For Your Hair To Be “Thinned Out”

The barber only uses thinning shears and various techniques like point cutting and notching to reduce bulk.

image of a man with an undercut
a gentleman with an undercut (or disconnected haircut).

Asking For A Undercut (Disconnected Haircut)

This is where the barber cuts the hair very short on the sides and back (usually with the clipper), leaving a lot more hair on top to where it overhangs. To get the most out of this haircut, you should tell the barber what guard number you want to use so he knows how short to cut.

image of a barber cutting hair short around the sides and back of the head
Barber cutting using clippers around the head.

Short Around The Sides And Back

This is where the barber uses their clippers around the sides and back without touching the top. You can always ask for a number guard before starting the haircut.

image of a man with an asymmetrical haircut.
A gentleman with an asymmetrical haircut.

Asking For An “Asymmetrical Haircut” (Modern Combover)

This mainly refers to modern comb-overs where one side is taken down lower where the other side is more full but blends down evenly on the other side of the head. 

image of a squared or rounded neckline
On the left is a squared neckline and on the right is a rounded neckline.

Asking For A “Square Or Rounded Neckline”

This is talking about the back of the head towards the bottom, where the barber uses their trimmers to outline the hair parameter. Some people like it to look more squared (a straight line across the bottom) or rounded (where the base has a semi-circle look).

Image of a Gentlemen getting a taper haircut on the back of his head.

Asking For A “Taper” 

A taper is similar to a fade where the top is left longer and gets shorter towards the bottom. (Usually, the base is to the skin) Although a taper is different because tapers are more specific and tailored to the back of the head down towards the bottom of the sideburn and temple areas. 

To properly ask for this in the barbershop, say, “taper up the sides” or “taper the back,” depending on what you prefer. 

image of a hard part

Asking For A “Hard Part”

A hard part is where the barber adds emphasis on the natural part of your hair by using the trimmers to cut out the line manually. This helps the part stand out more, and last longer.


Barbershop terminologies can be tricky to understand at first, although they make sense when you think about them. It’s a faster way to get to the point when you’re explaining your haircut to your barber. Now that you know the basic terminologies of barbering, so, go ahead and put together your next haircut and impress your barber with how much you know now!

If you’re worried you might be doing something annoying to your barber, you should check out this funny post I wrote, and it’s one of Cyclops Brand’s most popular posts that couldn’t be more true; hopefully, you’re not this type of client!

Find out now by reading 8 Things Clients Do That Barbers Absolutely Hate!


Cyclops Brand Is a World-Class Barbering Website Dedicated to Educating our Readers with Informative Articles related to the Barbering Industry. Bringing High-Quality Supplies & Apparel to Professional Barbers All Around The World. We want to Thank You For Reading Our Blog Posts & We Hope to Bring you value as a Tonsorial Artist! - Cyclops

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