Taylor Talks: Essential barber tools

For trades people, our tools are relatively cheap. You have to buy them all individually but I’m working with companies on producing sets for colleges to get people started.

You’re going to have to spend around £120 on tools, but that’ll give you a good starting point.

These are the essentials every barber should have:

Clippers: I always recommend the Wahl Super Taper Clippers. They’re the best-selling clippers in the world. They’re very good but relatively inexpensive at around £50.They’ll last a good few years if you look after them. I use them in my training academy. If you have more money to spend then you can go for something more expensive, but I wouldn’t go any lower as a commercial barber.

clipper over comb
Invest in good quality barber tools

Six inch scissors: An AMA scissor is a decent enough, but cheap, brand of scissors to start with. You can pick up a pair of them for around £30. The price of scissors can go in to the thousands. Mine are about £300. Barbers generally have cheaper scissors because we cut dirty hair. I’ve worked with people whose scissors are about £2000 because they are made with Japanese steel, it’s the best. They just glide through hair, but once you drop them, that’s it, they’re done.

Starting out, you just don’t need the best scissors because you are going to be cutting head blocks and you’re going to drop them. You build up your scissors with your experience. After your first year, you may want to buy a pair at around £70 and then when you’re more established you could shell out a couple of hundred pounds.

I get my scissors sharpened every year, so they last forever. Cheaper scissors, I’d ditch after about a year. Decent scissors, you should have sharpened every year. I always recommend you go to a proper dealer, don’t ever get them sharpened by someone who walks into your shop. I always take mine to a trade show, like Salon International, and go to one of the scissor stalls there. They are always really busy and it’s amazing to watch them being taken apart by hand and sharpened.

The Bluebeards Revenge Fade Brush
A fade brush is a useful addition to a barbers’ toolbox

Cutting comb: You can pick a decent cutting comb up for about £5. Matador cutting combs are always good. A lot of lazy barbers will use a clipper comb for cutting, but you shouldn’t, you need a cutting comb. Hairdressers use a lot of different combs but it in barbering we just need a clipper comb, tapering comb and cutting comb.

Clipper comb: This is a big comb to blend in with. You may be able to do a whole haircut with a cutting comb but it just makes it much easier and quicker to blend in with a clipper comb.

Head block: You won’t get very far without one of these for training on. It starts off with long hair and a long beard, which you then do lots of cuts on. You can’t break the rules until you know the rules. You can make as many mistakes on these things as you want and they’re not going to tell you off. Some people may need a few of these throughout their training but I always tell my students to buy at least one to start off with.