The History of Barbering

Black Barbershop Circa 1941The Beginning of our history:

The barber’s trade has a long history and haircare begins in the glacial age. Modern-based ideas for barber tools have been found among relics of the Bronze Age (around 3500 BC) in Egypt. The first barbering services were performed by Egyptiansin 5000 B.C. with instruments they had made from oyster shells, sharpened flint, bronze, etc. In ancient Egyptian culture, barbers were highly respected individuals. Priests and men of medicine are the earliest recorded examples of barbers.

Barbering was introduced to Rome by the Greek colonies in Sicily in 296 BC.

Meryma’at Egyptian Barber
Father of Modern Day Barbering

Barbers & Surgeons:

Starting in the Middle Ages, barbers often served as surgeons and dentists. In addition to haircutting, hairdressing, and shaving, barbers performed surgery, bloodletting and leeching, fire cupping, enemas, and the extraction of teeth; earning them the name “barber-surgeons”. Barber surgeons began to form powerful guilds.

The father of modern surgery was a barber surgeon. 

The Beginning Of Regulation:

In 1893, A. B. Moler of Chicago established a school for barbers. This was the first institution of its kind in the world. In the beginning, only the practical work of shaving, hair-cutting, facial treatments, etc., was taught as neither the public nor the profession was ready to accept scientific treatments of the hair, skin, and scalp. Not until about 1920 was much effort made to professionalize the work.

Training to be a barber is achieved through various means around the world. In the US, barber training is carried out at “barber schools”.

Modern Day Barbering:

Iowa and Nebraska lead the country in the number of hours required to practice. Requiring 2100 hours of practice and a successful passing score on the written, and practical exams proctored by state officials on the barber board.

Barber school consists of hair cutting, coloring, and styling men’s and women’s short hair. Aspects of long hair cutting, with a high focus on chemical processes such as bleaching, coloring, lightening, perming, and relaxing. Barber students also learn hair replacement systems, however, it is up to the barber on what he or she practices.

Other areas of extreme importance are safety and sanitation, anatomy, physiology, bacteriology, and elements of pharmacology. Barber programs also include massage and other treatments.

In the world of business, barber schools touch on the business aspect of barbering. Including tax designations, what to expect when negotiating work contracts, and how to run and manage your shop. It is up to the barber to research more in-depth their position in the business world.

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