Is cutting women’s hair more difficult than men’s hair?
In a couple words: not really.
But… it is usually more complex with more detail involved. Most of the women’s haircuts I do are either “just take off the dead ends” or some sort of “pixie” cut. Both of these cuts (as most women’s cuts) are dealing with longer hair than most men’s cuts.
Most men’s cuts involve clippers set to a certain height and going from there. A small percentage of my women’s cuts involve clippers. When they do, it is usually just in the back or we are doing a unique style, such as a ladies’ mohawk or shaving one half of the head.
The rest of them have hair which is not only longer than a set of clippers will cut, but it also has different details.
When cutting women’s hair is “easier”
“Just taking off the dead ends” can be one of the easiest cuts for a barber to do… yet it can also be the most difficult, depending on the hair…
Many ladies looking for this service don’t need much detail… Simply figure out how much to cut off, and then cut it off. The hard part comes in the details that can come along, such as really thick curly hair or long hair with some deep face framing. These add levels of detail that must be addressed. Probably the hardest version I run across in this category is really fine hair because it slips along my shear blades and can be tricky to make adjustments to… not impossible, but it can be tricky.
Layered hair can also be simpler than many men’s cuts, again, depending on the hair. I use a very simple layering method which does the job in most longer hair. In general, women coming to a barber looking for layers are looking for life in the hair, and aren’t being that picky about feathering, inversions, 180’s, etc…
When cutting women’s hair is “harder”
I don’t necessarily think of it as being harder as opposed to it being more time-consuming. Many women’s styles follow the same general principles: length, bangs, ear coverage, layers.
However, some variations automatically add time to the cut, and can be more difficult in that sense. Very thick hair can create all sorts of mental gymnastics, as can certain cuts such as stacked bobs.
When cutting any sort of shorter women’s hair, I almost always cut sideburns into points as opposed to a simple snip across at a certain point of the ear.
I also treat bangs as a very slow zone. I learned very quickly that cutting a bang too short to quickly makes the bang go BOING! (sorry for the dad joke). I can always take more hair off, but putting it back on is much more difficult.
Difficult vs time-consuming
In my experience, the main differences between cutting women’s hair and men’s hair have been in the number of things that need to be done.
Many men’s cuts are a taper or a fade blended into a certain length on top… off the collar, over the ears, and the bangs out of the eyes. Most men in my chair even joke that “it will grow back.” Sure… easy for men to say, since most of us are dealing with hair which is less than two inches long.
Women’s haircuts, however, can involve multiple cutting processes in multiple areas, which means that they take more time to do and to adjust correctly… and a lot of barbers just don’t want to deal with it.
There’s also the philosophy among barbers: “NEVER mess up a woman’s hair!” As quickly as a man will say it will grow back, a lady whose hair has been messed up will be very, very, very upset…
…and a lot of barbers just don’t want to deal with that, either!
Speaking of very, very, very upset, sit in my chair sometime… and I will tell you the story of my first “Little-ol’-lady-beehive haircut…” It happened a couple of years ago, and she still hates me!
I am a barber in Marietta and the Cobb County area. I graduated from the Gwinnett Barber Institute and have been cutting hair since 2019.
Atlanta has always been my home, minus eight years when I was a Navy musician in Japan and Seattle.
When I am not cutting hair, I am usually found spending time with my family or at Atlanta United matches with the Terminus Legion in the supporters section.