The History of Barbering | Montana Academy of Salons

February 9, 2017

The History of Barbering

barbers tools
Barbering has been around for years, so it’s no surprise that the profession is still employing many people around the world. Here at Montana Academy of Salons, we love our barbers! We think it’s important to know and understand the history and current state of barbering as whole. Read on to find out more about the history of barbers.

barbershop pole

The First of Barbering

According to the National Barber Museum, barbering dates back to ancient Egypt. Depictions show “barbers” shaving the hair of the nobility with sharpened stones.

Later on in history, about the time of the Middle Ages, barbers cut hair and shaved their clients. Uniquely, they also performed surgical operations. Here, they earned the name “barber-surgeons”. Down the line, the surgery part of the job left the hands of barbers. Oh, except for tooth extractions. They could still do those.

You might recognize the iconic red, white, and blue striped barber pole. Originally, the colors stood for blood, bandages, and veins. Back in the day, barbers were also associated with phlebotomists. We could guess that clients felt that barbers were similar to surgeons and phlebotomists because they wielded sharp objects.

Moving forward in history, barbering gained traction as a job, rather than a skill that soldiers or immigrants picked up in their spare time. Barbershops started to crop up on main streets. They offered shaves and haircuts.

Thus, the barbering industry thrived. Soon after the establishment of shops, schools and unions started to appear.

Barbering Now

After a short dip in popularity in the 90s and early 2000, barbering has risen again. Just check out #barber on Instagram. There are tons of men and women around the world practicing the craft. Blogs and accounts appear all the time with new barbering trends, jobs, and information. The Art of Manliness is a blog that has info on barbers, and just check out these Instagram accounts!

A photo posted by menshair2.0 (@menshair2.0) on

Nowadays, barbering isn’t seen as a hobby. It is a profitable skill that can be likened to wood working, metal working, and glass blowing. Men everywhere are more interested in personal care than ever. Men in popular culture are being portrayed as very well dressed and clean cut.

Barbering is a well respected profession where creativity, style, and flair are highly valued. A strong social media presence is also very important. Many barbers can gain a following, and potentially more clients, by posting photos or videos of their work. The social media boom has launched barbers and hairdressers alike into the view of their target clients almost all day!


How to Become a Barber

In order to practice barbering in the state of Montana, you need a license. The state requires 1500 hours of practice in a program. To graduate from our course, students must pass both the written and practical national tests with a grade of 75% or higher. Students can learn skills in the technical area of barbering, as well as the business side of the industry.

Barbering students in our program can learn the following:

  • Haircutting
  • Shampooing & Scalp Treatments
  • Chemical Services
  • Salon Management
  • And More!
  • Barbering is a unique craft that can potentially offer vast opportunities to a talented person. Are you interested in learning this highly sought after skill? Contact us with question on how to get started!

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