Barbering Careers Are Not Just for Men

Barbering Careers Are Not Just for Men

While the perception of a hairstylist seems to be gender-neutral, a barber is generally assumed to be a man. And the barbershop was always a place to not just get a shave and a haircut, but a place where boys could be boys and men could be men. Women worked in beauty salons and men in barbershops. Why mess with tradition? After all, a woman couldn’t possibly understand how to give a great straight razor shave or the perfect fade, right?

Wrong. It’s a brave new world in beauty and both men and women are boldly going where their respective genders were not so boldly going in years past. Men get mani-pedis. Women get buzz cuts. And the only thing that has remained the same for guys and gals, is the desire to look your best. It matters less who helps you get there.

The training to become a barber versus a cosmetologist is different and is typically geared towards cutting and styling men’s hair and involves more training in facial shaving and grooming than a cosmetologist might receive. And while it is a traditionally male-dominated field, the number of women choosing barbering training over cosmetology training is growing. So why would a woman choose to become a barber? The truth is, for the same reasons you would choose any career in the beauty industry!

• Flexible schedule options, you can often set your own schedule!
• Making people look and feel great…feels great!
• You get to be creative in an industry that is continuously evolving.
• Life-long friendships – you’ll have clients who become your clients for life!

Top 10 Best Beauty Colleges In Kenya 


This is a list of the top 10 best beauty colleges in Kenya. The beauty industry in Kenya has tremendously grown over the past years. It has become one of the most lucrative areas to venture in. Several beauty colleges and schools have been established to meet the growing demand for professional training in beauty-related courses.

Most of the beauty colleges in Kenya offer comprehensive courses in hairdressing, cosmetology, barbering, beauty therapy, nail technology, salon management, fashion, and design. Some also offer modeling courses.

Here is a list of the top 10 best beauty colleges in Kenya.


1. Vera Beauty College


It was established in 1998 in response to a need for professional training in hair, beauty, modeling, fashion and design, and instructor's course. Courses offered range from practical certificates, diplomas to advanced diplomas. It generally offers courses in hairdressing, specialized massage, beauty therapy, modeling, nail technology, event decoration, event management, fabric decoration, flower arrangement, and salon business management. It has campuses in Nairobi, Eldoret, Meru, and Nakuru.

2. Ashleys Hair and Beauty Academy


Ashleys Academy was established in 2001 with a vision to specialize, explore and refine the beauty industry in East Africa, and to equip students with skills and competencies in cosmetology. It offers certificate, diploma, and advanced diploma courses in hairdressing, beauty therapy, nail technology, salon management, spa treatments, and body therapies. It has campuses in Nairobi, Buruburu, Ruaka and Nakuru. For any inquiries, you can contact them on, +254 (0) 070 012 345 or via email, ashleys@ashleyskenya.com.

3. Beauty Point College


It is a universally credited institution committed to offering high-quality education systems for the hair and beauty industry. Its main office is located at Beaver House, along Tom Mboya Street, with other branches located at Midway Mall opposite Odeon cinema, White Angle Building opposite Accra Hotel, and New Generation Building near OTC, Nairobi. The college offers courses in, hairdressing, beauty therapy, holistic therapy, cosmetology, barbering, nail technology, salon management, fashion, and design. For any inquiries, you can contact them on, 0726 856 999/ 0721 818 063

4. Dima College


It is located at Hamburg House, 2nd floor, above KCB Tom Mboya. It offers certificate and diploma courses in hairdressing, beauty therapy, and management courses. It has campuses in Nairobi and Runyenjes. For further inquiries, you can contact them on, 0724 360 244/0736 160 269.

5. Afro Beauty Academy


It is located in Lang’ata estate, Nairobi. It offers diploma and certificate courses in hairdressing, beauty therapy, cosmetology, hair cutting and styling, hair design, and body adornment. For any inquiries, you can contact them on, 0720 830 327/ 020-2012277.

6. Pivot Point Hair Design and Beauty School


It is a top hair design and beauty school located at Lonrho House, Standard Street, Nairobi. It offers both certificate and diploma courses in hairdressing and design, salon management, fashion and design, cosmetology, beauty therapy, hair cutting and styling, body massage, and body adornment. For more information, you can contact, 020-252 598.

7. Tonic Institute of Professional Studies


It is located in Thika Town and has been in operation since 2004. It offers certificate and diploma courses in, cosmetology, hairdressing, beauty therapy, nail technology, barbering, instructor course and computer packages. For further inquiries, you can contact them on, +254 722 308 194/+254 710 880 839.

8. Lintons College of Beauty


Lintons college of beauty is located at Kenrail Towers, 2nd floor Ring Road Parklands, Nairobi. It offers courses in hairdressing and design, beauty therapy, makeup artistry, and skincare. For any inquiries, you can contact them on, 0714 870 037.

9. Azizi Hair and Beauty College


It is a top beauty school situated at Nairobi Safari Club Annex, Ist floor. It offers courses in, nail technology, body treatment, and massage, facial care, hair cutting and styling, hairdressing and beauty, manicure, and pedicure. For more information, you can contact them on, 0790 459 918.

10. Alison Caroline Institute


It is located along Limuru Road, Muthaiga Shopping Centre ist floor, Nairobi. It offers courses in spa and salon management, manicure and pedicure, waxing, beauty and reflexology, nail enhancement, skincare, gym instructor courses, hairdressing, and design. For further inquiries, you can contact them on, +254 733 529 291/ +254 733 848 567.

What it’s like being a woman in barbering


We spoke to flame-haired Skye from Most Wanted Award-winning Cut & Grind about her experiences as a female behind the chop-shop chair…

How did you get into barbering?


“I started a hairdressing apprenticeship when I was 19 and my first ever haircut at academy level was actually a classic men’s scissor cut! I enjoyed it so much – I instantly felt cutting was more what I was attracted to, and so I decided to pursue that part of the industry.

“At the same time, a work colleague was also telling me about her friends who were barbers and how much they loved it and I thought ‘Wow, that’s something I would love to do!” I wanted to get my experience level up before going down that route, but I always had barbering and men’s hair in the back of my mind.”

Have you faced any obstacles or adverse reactions from people as a female barber?


“I think it comes with the job, whether people notice or not. I get mixed reactions when I tell people what I do. Mostly positive – which is great – but you will always get people who doubt and don’t understand your passions and abilities. But you know what? It drives me to prove them wrong.

“You have to have a thick skin to survive and evolve in most jobs. I love beards, but on one occasion I introduced myself to a client and he looked shocked and disappointed that I, a young female, would be doing the service. But after I looked after him and showed I cared about his beard and getting a great result, he now only lets me do his beard.”

What makes the atmosphere within barbering unique?


“On the whole, I feel the vibe is more chilled. Guys tend to be more relaxed, honest and direct, but they love the fun and banter of a barbershop. Men come in for a haircut, but also the chat makes it a fun and unique place to work.

“You can’t take yourself too seriously and you need to be prepared to be the butt of a joke every now and then, but you just gotta play along have fun with the guys! It’s not for everyone, and I’d say a sense of humour is a must.”

Do you feel that there are more women entering barbering now compared to say five years ago? If so, why?


“I do, 100 percent, and I love that women are breaking boundaries and stereotypes. The kind of women who do barbering tend to be like-minded individuals. I’m lucky to know some top female barbers in the field, and we have an unspoken understanding of the shared passion for the job we do.

“I feel that five years ago, barbering wasn’t as big as it is now, but it’s great to have another path for people like myself from a hairdressing background to go down. As for why female barbering is booming – I think it’s a confidence thing! I also think it’s become more accepted in the industry and amongst clients to have women in the barbershop. Gone are the days of it being a “men’s club”, plus I think the clients are happy to see more glamour and diversity in the shop!”

What do you think barbers could learn from the hairdressing world and vice versa?


“I think hairdressers could learn more about the diversity of clipper work and the importance of speed alongside accuracy. Plus they could brush up on fades, creative cutting in terms of pattern work, and the skills of the hot towel and wet shave – basically, becoming more male-focused and seeing the depth of the men’s market.

Barbers could learn a little more from hairdressers about the science of a haircut – training in texturizing techniques rather than over-using the thinners and assessing hair texture and hair growth patterns. I think for businesses to have a blend of the two is a great way for the two industries to learn and grow from one another.”

What do you like to think you bring to the barbering sphere?


“I like to think I bring a good mix of what I learned in hairdressing and what I know now in barbering together. But I also know I’m still learning! I want to help to inspire and teach others while being inspired by the people I work with and what I see all around me. When it comes to specialism, I find beards are something I love to do. They’re my passion and like to think I bring something a little different to men regarding that!”

What has been the hardest lesson you’ve learned about barbering?


“I found wet shaving using a razor so scary and hard to use. I mean, it’s a very sharp object you’ve got to hold against someone’s face – I think that’s pretty scary in itself! What surprised me the most in training was how much I love beard trims. I got a knack for it pretty quickly and picked up an understanding of what suits each person.”

What technique were you most proud of mastering?


“Definitely beard trims and shaving, spanning the traditional wet shave to the modern beard boom. Opposites, yes, but yet I love them both. I found them hard to learn, but I wanted to learn both skills so much when I started barbering. After all, if you can’t use a razor, you’re not a barber!”

What excites you most about the future of barbering?


“What really excites me is seeing how much the industry has boomed and how well our first shop has done, especially since it is only two years old. Eventually, I want to get into educating and become head of education for Cut & Grind. I dream of helping open and build up shops and our empire, so the next five years will be pretty exciting for us!”

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