barber/hairdresser/hair stylist

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Senior Member

Are there different meanings in these terms "barber", "hairdresser", and "hair stylist"? Or are they just personal preference of word choice?

I always have a feeling that "barber" is for old fashioned or old people, and "hairdresser" is for modern or young people, while "hair stylist" is more for celebrities. But I'm very likely wrong. :p

Also, are there different meanings in "barbershop" and "hairdressing salon"?

Thank you.
  • Here to learn

    Senior Member
    English- USA

    Traditionally, a barber is a person who cuts men's hair.

    A hairdresser is a person who cuts women's hair.

    Hair stylist is a fancy term for a hair dresser or a barber. It is a relatively new term.

    And, traditionally, a barber shop is just for men, while a hairdressing salon is just for women. Barber shops are disappearing in America, so more and more both men and women go to a hairstyling salon, may times located in a shopping mall.


    Afrikaans/South African English
    When I was still young, I used to go to the Barbershop and told the Barber, "Short back and sides, please". Usually only men frequented the Barbershop.
    In "ancient" times a Barber was permitted to do blood-letting to relieve headaches and other ailments. This was indicated by the red and white candy stick they displayed outside their shops.

    Going to a hairdresser normally referred to where women went to have their hair dyed, cut and styled etc.
    Nowadays a Hair Stylist refers to males or females who specialize in hair creations (masterpieces) for special occasions or a hairstyle to suit you.

    I think a Hairdressing Salon in our modern times is meant for men and women who want something special done to their hair.
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