Essential Tools for Barbering

Barbering has been an occupation since ancient times when, in addition to cutting and grooming hair, barbers performed surgeries and centuries later doubled as dentists. Barbers of today have put down the scalpel and instead reach for a straight razor, clippers and trimmers to offer their loyal clients an experience, not just a procedure. Is your store providing the essential tools that successful barbers need to offer five-star service? Offering a one-stop shop for barbers and all their tool needs can increase sales and customer loyalty.


Making the Cut

Clippers and trimmers are essential to every barber, however there are many options to choose from. Adjustable blade clippers have a side lever on the cutting blade that moves to control the length of hair being cut. Detachable blade clippers use removable blade sets to cut different hair lengths and textures. Detachable blades sets are available in steel or ceramic. Additional guards can be used on both types of clippers.

Trimmers are available with a square or T-blade, the latter can be used for etching designs into hair. Both clippers and trimmers are available in corded and cordless options. Cordless tools are powered by either a nickel-cadmium or lithium-ion battery. Nickel-cadmium batteries are cost effective, but are heavier in weight and can suffer from “memory effect” and not charge to full capacity—decreasing overall tool speed; lithium-ion batteries are more expensive, lighter and have “no memory” so tools maintain the same speed for the duration of use, and through multiple recharging.

In addition to stocking a variety of clippers and trimmers, add shears to your barber retailing area. According to Ivan Zoot, aka Clipperguy, “Every barber should have three pairs of shears: barber shears that are 6.5” or larger, 5.5” precision cutting shears, and blending or thinning shears.”

Opposite the cutting tool, barbers use three types of combs: a cutting comb, a clipper comb and a finishing comb. They should have at least 6 or more of each so combs can be rotated for cleaning throughout the day as every client requires disinfected combs.

Most barbers have a professional hairdryer and rely on a lonely vent brush. With the men’s grooming category growing, Rodrick Samuels, president of Michigan Barber School and owner of Hair Lab Detroit the Salon, recommends having multiple brushes on hand. “I teach all students at Michigan Barber School to perfect their finishing skills by using round brushes to create volume, a Mason Pearson boar bristle brush to create waves and now, various curl sponges for twists.”


Full Service

To encourage barbers to offer full service and create a client experience, stock hot lather machines, lather solution, straight razors, shavers, small towels and hot towel steamers for facial services and shaving. A neck duster, talcum powder and alcohol-based aftershave are vital to complete a memorable service fit for a king.

Other essential sundries that factor into the client experience include a water bottle to dampen hair for cutting, neck strips to provide a sanitary barrier between the client’s neck and cape, and the cutting cape itself.

Speaking from experience, Samuels says, “Barber cutting capes should be made of sturdy, water repellant lightweight nylon so hair cuttings slide easily to the floor. I prefer an extra long adjustable snap neck closure if possible; Velcro tends to catch falling hair.”



Smart barbers maintain their cutting tools between each client to guarantee top cutting performance and client comfort. Always keep blade brushes or canned air, blade care spray and lubricating oil in stock. Brushes and combs also need to be disinfected by soaking in liquid disinfectant or UV light, depending on individual state requirements, so keep disinfecting solutions like Barbicide on the shelf as well.


By keeping a healthy inventory of frequently-used barber liquid tools and maintenance products, expect to see more barbers as customers.


OTC Beauty Magazine offers useful business tips and effective selling tools to boost revenue and customer traffic for OTC retailers. The magazine also provides invaluable product knowledge, industry news and insights for retail store owners, manufacturers, distributors and professionals in the barber and beauty supply industry. Contact us:

Read the latest issue of
OTC Beauty Magazine

July 2024


Stay in the Know!

From the newest products to the latest in acquisitions and mergers, if you want to be in know of what’s going on in the multicultural beauty industry, you’ve come to the right place!

Just sign up below and you’ll receive updates right to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!