How To Ensure A Hygienic Haircut At Your Barbershop

You may think your barbershop is clean when getting a haircut, but is it really?

Sidima Mfeku |

While keeping a great image and maintaining your look with that fresh haircut from your favourite barbershop is very important, it’s doubly so that you keep an open eye on what’s used to treat your hair.

Many barbershops might be doing an amazing job in giving you a cut to to remember, but there is a high possibility that they are doing it in a unhygienic manner. Farren Greening, owner of Barnet Fair barbershop shared with MH what to look out for on your next visit – to ensure a fresh cut and great hygiene.


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Why is it important to examine the barbershop tools used?

Farren suggests that you keep a fine eye on what your barber is doing while giving you a haircut. He notes that it might be difficult to do so because, as clients, we have never paid much attention to it. Here’s what he suggests.

“It’s standard procedure that when us barbers are done with clients, we dust off all equipment, use things like an Odour Eliminator Disinfectant Spray and spray our electric equipment,” he says. “But some barbers don’t, and it’s impossible to monitor every single barber to make sure that they are doing a clean job.” 

“Do not just trust and believe, ask your barber to re-clean the machine in front of you.”

But there are ways to do so, he says. “If a barber is going to perform a shave on you, look at their tools, try and see if he/she is putting new blades in. Most barbers would clean their machine in front of you and some would come and say they may have already cleaned them, do not just trust and believe, ask them to re-clean the machine in front of you. If they value you they will do it again with ease just so they make you⁠—their client⁠—happy.”

Related: The Best Haircut For Dense Hair

Are blisters a sign of unhygienic clippers?

People have different hairs, some are susceptible to ingrown hairs and some are not. Although raiser burns and pimples are as a result of unhygienic equipment in most cases, the cause is actually a bad shaving technique, Farren explains.

“If someone is too rough when shaving your head, that can cause a raiser burn.  A lot of things that grow on people’s hair⁠—most of the time people might think its dirty equipment that causes the problem⁠—when sometimes it’s just bad technique,” he says.

“If you shave someone against the grain, pimples will come up. So people should be weary of how their skin reacts to things that go into their hair. People should know their hair and understand their skin dynamics, because we as barbers might perform a haircut not knowing that a person has a problem until the person tells us⁠—and only then we will be able to keep your head clean and still leave you feeling comfortable.”


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What do you advise people with sensitive skin use on their hair?

“The most important thing I always say to clients is that, if you are a client that has sensitive skin you need to tell your barber,” says Farren. “Unfortunately we are not dermatologists, we cannot examine the skin. Here at Barnet Fair we have all sorts of pre-shave lotions, we’ve got oils, we’ve got aftershave bums. We’ve got things like Bay Rum, which tightens up the skin and closes the pores.

Bay Rum is an awesome after shave which tightens the skin. If you have a hot shave, your pores are usually open, so if dirt gets in then you’ll get ingrown hairs and pimples. This is why toners like Ray Bum are vital.

There are a plenty of different tricks for barbers to deal with people with sensitive skin, but the best trick is to keep a certain distance when cutting and not go deeper into the root of the client’s hair, Farren tells us.

Related: Why The Undercut Is Your Next Haircut

My barber leaves scratches on my head, can I still trust him?

Farren believes that small hair line cuts and scratches which are a result of carelessness, shouldn’t happen with a professional barber and if it does then as a client you need to consider speaking to your barber about it. It’s not healthy for your skin and might get you infected.

“Imagine if you as a client have a big mole on your head and I go over the top and slice it off? To be quite honest, it’s both our fault because if a client has a big hole that no one can see they need to tell the barber before the cut,” he says.

“But as a barber I examine someone’s head before I perform a shave, I look at the guy’s face and pin point big moles and pimples and anything like that so that if I do go around with the blade I just know to be a little careful around those.”


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Will my dandruff cause any harm to others? How should my barber deal with it?

“All right, so you get dandruff, then you get dry scalp. These are two different things. Most men have dry scalp, and they think it’s dandruff. Dandruff is a medical condition, when your head gets slightly irritated and inflamed, you can see dandruff, whereas dry scalp is when you’re not conditioning and not putting enough moisture on your hair and when you’re using  too dry a shampoo,”Farren says.

“For anyone who has dandruff, people should report it to their pharmacy for remedies on how to deal with it. So if it’s dry skin then there is no problem and if the equipment is well cleaned dandruff will not even reach the next client.”

Related: The Best Haircut For Fine Hair

How Farren keeps Barnet Fair clean and hygienic:

“At Barnet Fair we prioritise health, hygiene and cleanliness. In terms of the procedure, after every client we brush and clean our equipment and we disinfect our brushes and other equipment daily.”

Barnet Fair also uses neck rolls, Farren notes. “There is a lot of bacteria that collects on people’s necks, you get dead skin, ingrown hairs and pimples and when you put our cape on before your shave, we first put on a clean piece of towel which goes on for each client and is thrown away after use.

“The piece of towel is just to make sure that the client’s skin does not directly touch the cape,” saying this is just another way to make the barbershop as hygienic as possible.

If there is hair in any equipment one will not be able to see dirt on it, and will therefore be brainwashed to think that the machine is clean.

“It’s very important that as barbers we keep our equipment hair free, because if there is hair in any equipment one will not be able to see dirt on it, and will therefore be brainwashed to think that the machine is clean when it is actually not. Also, hairs carry a lot of bacteria from one head to the next, you do not want to start cutting another person’s hair with a clipper full of someone else’ hair.”

Farren advises barbers to not reuse disposable blades on other clients, and ensure it’s one client per disposable. He also advises you to pay equal attention to the cleanliness of your barbershop as you would to the equipment.

Want a free professional haircut?

Come and join us in Jozi, at Men’s Health Residency, where Gary Rom Hairdressing and Jack Black Grooming will give you a fresh cut. Also come and learn from top industry players on wealth, style and tech and join us for a beer and the evening’s Premier League games. Basically the best house party ever.


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