by Dan Dixon


In a sea of cheering choppers, there stands a select group of cutters who can consider themselves elite within the hair industry…The Competition Barber!
He or she is a focused individual; tuned in with a desire to deliver quality, on point and on time and for those who watch from a distance, bow your head in respect.

This is a different game! Nerves, excitement and accomplishment are the ingredients in the breakfast of these champions…and they are hungry!

You wanna give it a crack, eh?

So, you’ve decided to step out of the haze of Instagram barber fades and show that you’re bigger and better than a controlled workspace, a ringlight and a photoshop touch up..KUDOS to you!!
Get ready to conquer big fears, showcase your talents and add another feather to your professional cap that ain’t for the faint of heart, then sit back and bathe in an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

What are comps all about?

The barber competition culture is a reasonably young movement compared to the older, stronger hairdressing fraternity however, the fundamentals are the same.

Do the best ‘current’ cut & style on your chosen model, showcasing all your skills within a set time-frame. Sounds easy right?

Where the difference lies is competitor numbers in barbering comps are limited and pre selected, which means that those you’re up against already have a proven ability. There are no dark horses in this race and with no final heat, you have one chance to shine.

Give your best, be your best and respect to the rest.

So what kind of things can help you on the day?

Getting ready and sorted to deliver your best should be prime focus and here’s my pointers based on my personal experience.

Preparation is Key.

Ensure your kit is tuned, oiled and TESTED. Lay out all your preferred tools and triple check before you pack them. Leave at home the stuff you won’t use as there are no points for the biggest kit. Less clutter means you’re more fluent and time is not your friend on the day.

Check all clippers for charge 30min prior to your heat start (in case they’ve bumped on in transit and flattened)

Pack black towels and always chuck a few bandaids into the bag. These events can create a lot of blood sometimes. Slips, snips and knicks.


Keep it neat, Keep it clean. Barbering is a time-honored tradition and as much as times do change, presentation and cleanliness doesn’t. A mark down on a sloppy workspace could see a perfect cut become a runner up.

Remember sectioning, this is a great visual representation of your skillset. Exaggerate this skill.

Constant cape cleaning – don’t forget your neck brush.

Remember that with such a strong level of talent, judges sometimes have to look for the things you haven’t done, over the quality of the things you have.

Model Selection

Hot does a lot, so think about your choice and make sure it’s not ‘my only mate that was available’. They’re about to showcase your talent so make sure they equal it.

Do practice runs in the months before to get the understanding around lengths and growth patterns.
Dress your client in something with a definite fashion edge that reflects the style you’ve created.

Attitude & Composure

Don’t be tool and act the fool. Behaviour is important in all competitions. Intoxicated carry-ons or disrespect to the establishment (management, judges or contestants) will see you enjoying the precession from the sidelines (or outside).
A lot of effort goes into organizing these events, all the judges are proven professionals giving their personal time to advance the upcoming industry.

Most importantly though, this is a day to be inspired…watch, learn and get excited about this amazing industry.

Good luck and welcome to becoming a follicle athlete!