A barber is an individual whose job is mainly to cut, groom, and dress, style men’s and boys’ hair. The barber’s place of work is known as a “barbershop” or a “barber’s”. Barbershops are also known as places of social communication and public discourse. In some cases, barbershops are also public forums. They are the locations of voicing public concerns, open debates and engaging citizens in discussions about existing issues.
In earlier times, barbers (known as barber surgeons) also performed surgery and dentistry. With the improvement of safety razors and the declining prevalence of beards, in Anglophonic cultures, most barbers now specialize in cutting men’s scalp hair as opposed to facial hair.
In recent times, the word “barber” is used both as a professional title and it is also refer to hairdressers who specialize in men’s hair. In history, all hairdressers were considered to be barbers. In the 20th century, the career of cosmetology branched off from barbering and today hairdressers could be licensed as either a cosmetologists or barber. Barbers varies with respect to where they work, services they are licensed to provide, and what name they use to call themselves. Part of this terms varies depending on the regulations in a given location.
Different states in the US differ on their labor and licensing laws. For example, in Maryland, a cosmetologist cannot use a straight razor this is strictly reserved for barbers
Barbershops were very influential in the 19th century in the United States as African American businesses that have helped to develop African American culture and economy.