Barbers, who typically work at barber shops, are trained to cut hair, although most specialize in cutting mens' hair. Barbers are often trained to shave their clients' faces as well.
Working as a barber requires knowing how to cut hair to customers' satisfaction, but it also requires proper hygiene to avoid infections and spreading diseases. As a result, states typically require that barbers receive training. Regulations vary, but most states require between 800 and 2,000 hours of training before a student is allowed to work as a barber. Barbers are also generally trained to apply hair treatments, including hair coloring. In some states, only trained barbers are allowed to shave faces using a straight razor.
Although modern barbers primarily focus on giving haircuts, men would visit barbers on a regular basis for face shavings before the safety razor was invented. Shaving with a straight razor was potentially dangerous since small mistakes could cause cuts and infections. Although modern razors have made shaving far safer, some men still visit barbers for shavings.
In the past, barbers would perform a wide range of tasks now performed by well-trained specialists. Dental work, which often involved pulling teeth, was often performed by barbers. Barbers were considered medical professionals, and many would even perform surgeries.