Barbers shampoo, cut or trim, and style hair - mostly for men. Also, they shave customers, fit hairpieces and offer scalp treatments and facial massages. Some barbers also colour, bleach or highlight hair and offer permanent-wave services. A few barbers also provide skin care and nail treatments.
In addition to their work with clients, barbers are expected to maintain clean work areas and sanitise all work implements. They may make appointments and keep records of hair colour and permanent wave formulas used by their regular clients. A growing number actively sell hair products and other cosmetic supplies. As small business owners, barbers are also responsible for hiring, supervising and firing workers, as well as keeping business and inventory records, ordering supplies and arranging for advertising.
To become a barber, you should receive formal training at a barber school that includes both theory and practical training. Academies and schools offer haircare courses, which allows you to start working at a hair salon on Fridays or weekends for practical experience. Courses include the National Certificate in Hairdressing QCTO, the ITEC Level 2 Diploma in Barbering and the Occupational Certificate: Hairdresser NQF4. If you have an appetite to qualify yourself even further, you may enroll for the International Diploma in Hairdressing City and Guilds and set yourself up for a career on cruise ships or abroad.
The Hair Academy of South Africa
National Certificate in Hairdressing QCTO
Stellenbosch Hair Academy
Occupational Certificate: Hairdresser NQF4
SA College of Hair, Beauty and Health
ITEC Level 2 Diploma in Barbering
Coastal KZN TVET College
Certificate Hairdressing (Diploma City & Guilds)
Cosmetics, Toiletry and Fragrance Association South Africa (CTFA) - www.ctfa.co.za
The Employers Organisation for Hairdressing, Cosmetology and Beauty (EOHCB) - www.eohcb.co.za
Barber Courses - barbercourses.com
Why did you choose to become a barber?
I chose this career because it is my passion – I love making people look and feel great. I also love traveling, and I can do this career anywhere around the world.
If you have a more unusual career, please explain what it is that you do
I do full male grooming. I cut, style, hot towel shave, shave, wax, massage, men's facial and head hair.
What training did you undergo, and where?
I studied and trained in Morocco at the Institute Parisien. I am fully trained in all aspects of barbering.
Describe a typical day on the job
I get to work at 8:30am. I count the float for the day, make sure there is enough change in the till, check all my equipment, sanitise all equipment and work stations. Then I get myself ready for the clients, who start coming in at about 9:00am. I do cuts, faders, shaving beard and hair, hot towel, facial massages and so on. I make sure to do my very best on each and every client, so they leave the salon happy and confident to conquer the day. The shop closes at 6pm. I do the cash up, making sure the money balances, then I make sure the salon is safe and locked up before I head home.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I am a people person; I love meeting new people every day. I am from Morocco, so my English is not too good, but I practice with my clients every day and am improving quickly.
What don’t you like?
I don't like it when my clients are not happy with the end results of my work. One of the reasons I chose this field is because I love making people look and feel their best.
What hurdles have you had to overcome?
The biggest hurdle for me has been the cultural differences. I have had to adapt to South African culture. But after being here for three years, I now feel settled in.
What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
The highlight of my career has been the traveling. I have worked in Morocco, Dubai and now South Africa. My ultimate dream destination is Miami, Florida, in the US.
What are your future goals?
My future goal is to open my very own barbershop in Miami.
In your line of work is experience as important as formal training?
Yes, experience is just as important as formal training. In fact, some people only learn on the job, without any formal training.
Is there a type of personality best suited to this work?
For this type of work, you need to be a people person. You also need to be dedicated and patient. Barbering is a job where you are constantly learning, so you need to love learning new things every day.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your career?
Open your mind! And work hard.