"Yes, Barbers can do hair color" a brief barber history essay by Eric Williams.


To start, the word "Barber" derives from the Latin word Barba which means "Beard". The barber's trade has a long history; razors have been found among relics of the Bronze Age (circa 3500 BC) in Egypt. In ancient Egyptian culture, barbers were highly respected individuals. In order for the aging men and women to cover their grey hair and keep it black the Barber would use Hennah to Color the hair. Priests and men of medicine are the earliest recorded examples of barbers. In early tribes, a barber was one of the most important members, as it was believed that certain evil spirits were able to enter a person's body through their hair, and that cutting it was a way to drive them out. Due to their spiritual and religious beliefs, barbers even performed religious ceremonies, such as marriages and baptizing children.

In 296 B.C., barber shops quickly became very popular spots for daily news and gossip. A morning visit for men and women to the tonsor became a part of the daily routine, as important as the visit to the public baths, and a young man's first shave (tonsura) was considered an essential part of his coming of age ceremony.

Barbers in the Middle Ages often served as surgeons and dentists. In addition to haircutting, hairdressing, coloring, and shaving, barbers performed surgery, bloodletting and leeching, fire cupping, enemas, and the extraction of teeth; earning them the name "barber surgeons". The barber pole, featuring red and white spiraling stripes represent bloody bandages and clean bandages wrapped arount the bloodletting pole. After a bloodletting, the barber would tie the bandages to the pole that the patient held on to, and would stick it out side for the bandages to dry. People would see these poles a recognize that a Barber Surgeon was there.


The Georgian Era (1714-1830) was also a profitable era for barbers. On top of cutting, coloring, dressing and shaving; wigs came into fashion. And who do you think cut, colored and styled all those white wigs of our founding fathers? That’s right, Barbers.

So as you can see, Barbers have been cutting, coloring and styling men’s and women’s hair for thousands of years. The first American Barber school was founded in 1893 in Chicago. It wasn’t until the early 1900's that the demand for women stylists and salons came to play and even then all the women stylists in salons had to be trained and managed by barbers. Cosmetology wasn’t founded till 1947 and their school book and classes was written and put together by A. B. Moler... Yup, the same Barber who founded the first Barber school 50 years earlier.

So in conclusion, the next time you hear a barber does hair color and women’s hair, don’t be surprised. You should be more surprised if one doesn’t, because in essence, he's not a true barber. And on a side note all the make-up and perfume women have worn throughout history, who do you think made it?...I think you know.

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