This month, Ian Harrold ponders his year in review and the lessons learned so far

As the year draws to a close and we start to get all nostalgic over the last 12 months, I thought it might be useful to round up some of the points that I’ve tried to drive home over the last few columns. So here’s a few tidbits of advice that ranges from the insightful to the downright anecdotal. But then, I suppose that’s exactly what advice is really, isn’t it? Vaguely insightful anecdotes. Anyway, here goes: 

#1 – Don’t ask, don’t get
Be open and honest about the style you want from your barber. Don’t be the guy who sits in the barber chair with some radical re-style on their mind that’s too shy to ask for it. Get their advice on whether they think it’ll work for you. It’s what we’re here for after all.

#2 – Change can be a good thing
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: As barbers, we want to give you the best version of the haircut that you’ve chosen. But if we can nudge you out of your comfort zone every once in a while, that’s a bonus too. Don’t be afraid to try new things, question your barber a little, and take a few tentative steps out of that comfort zone. You might find it paying off more than you think.

#3 – Less is often more
Remember: There’s nothing wrong with longer styles (especially in current climates), but keeping things short is also keeping things simple and time effective. Surprisingly, shorter styles also have added benefits for those a little more follically challenged. Do yourself a favour: Avoid the combover and ask your barber for something tight and short. It’s a great look that avoids any unnecessary, comb-over faff.

#4 – Don’t believe everything you see on Instagram
This one isn’t just for the upcoming barbers, it applies to everyone. Instagram is a wonderful tool when used intelligently. But in a lot of cases – regardless of your profession – Instagram’s filter-heavy illusions of success often make everything look easier than it actually is. Stay clear of the hype, and remember that you can’t pay bills with likes and ‘exposure’.

#5 – Grooming ain’t taboo 
Men are spending more time and money on the way they look and feel, and that’s a great thing. Don’t get hung up on other people’s perceptions of what it means to be manly. Moisturising,manicures, hell, even manscaping. It’s all fair game. There’s nothing wrong with a guy taking pride in their appearance.

#6 – If all else fails, become a florist
Of course, what I really mean by this is that it always pays to have a plan B. But feel free to read into this is a literal sense too. I mean honestly, you’ll never see anyone sad to see a flower. Unless you suffer from crippling hayfever, that is.