When Giving Is Golden: Social Responsibility as Barbers

Recently I have seen a lot of discussions on social media about giving back as a Barber or Hair Stylist and I felt it was time to finally have an open dialogue regarding when we should or should not participate. For the five years I have been working as a freelance artist, I have participated in somewhere around 4-5 unpaid or low paying events/jobs that I felt would make a difference. But this isn't about my career, it's about yours and when you should say 'yes' or 'no'. 

Mark Bustos Free Haircuts NYC Homeless Her Chair His Hair

If you have Instagram or Google notifications then you have certainly heard about the recent trend of barbers like Mark Bustos giving back to the homeless or that The Vatican is now offering shaves in addition to haircuts and showers.  If you aren't in the hair realm then perhaps you have heard of other not-for-profit programs that offer makeovers for women in shelters or with cancer and MS.

But what about the people that are just looking for hand-outs? Who don't want to pay and don't even have the proper registration? You will walk away annoyed and feeling like it was a waste of your time. I want to prevent this because we, as artists, do have  social responsibility to give back in ways that other groups cannot. 

Here are four tips for making sure that this job is legitimate, first, and worth your time, second.


Why are you doing this? Is it for the 'likes' on Instagram? Or maybe praise from the people organizing the event? Look, I don't think I've ever gone a day without thanking someone for the smallest thing but when it comes to these events you may not be thanked. There is so much more at play than just the makeup like catering running behind or the venue not allowing the amount of people they said they would. Address why you want to do this: money, likes, or because it's something that genuinely makes you happy, and you won't have any problems feeling unfulfilled. 


Are they paying? If yes, how will they pay you? Cash day of, check in two billing cycles, etc. Most of the time non-profit groups don't have a lot of funding to pay for an event but they either budget it or make sure that you're paid quickly for your time on a low rate. If they're not paying you, then just like when you donate clothing to some places, they will give you a voucher for your taxes at the end of the year and you simply claim how much you would normally charge and/or how much product you used. If not? I'd be careful which leads me to my next point.


Are they registered as a Non-Profit or 501(c)3? Some companies try to tell artists that their event is non-profit which is a sneaky way of saying,"We've already paid too many people, sorry." If someone approaches you and you have a weird feeling in your gut, LISTEN TO IT! Don't be afraid to ask the right questions like Crystal Wright always says. Unsure of what the right questions are? Ask Crystal. ;)


If this event is larger than 25-50 people then they definitely have at least 1-2 additional artists. See if they have worked with them before and how their experience was. Most of the non-profits I have worked for have invited me back each year and I've only said no to one. That was after I didn't listen to my gut and ask the right questions AKA I shot myself in the foot. 

There you have it ladies and gents. With these tips you should be on a solid start for you all journeying into the world of charitable services. As Mark Bustos says,"Remember to be awesome to somebody."

Until Next Time!

Free Cuts for the Homeless in New York

The whole premise of Her Chair His Hair is to create a platform for Lady Barbers but when a certain gent comes around we are more than happy to feature him. I've been quietly following Mark Bustos (@MarkBustos) since before the news picked up on his Sunday haircuts so it makes me so happy to see him finally getting the recognition he deserves. 

Giving free haircuts since 2012, Mark inspired me to do the same and I'm sure so many others. It is so wonderful to see someone quietly utilizing their gift to better the world and he does it without any big spectacular introduction. Mark approaches each man and says 'I want to do something nice for you.' If they're interested he will gladly give them a trim or a cut, essentially boosting their self-worth and reminding us that a small but effective gift can really turn around a person's day. 

I think it's safe to say that his Karma is set for quite a while. Well done, Mark, the whole Barber community is happy to have you represent us in such a positive and giving light.

Check back on Mondays and Thursdays at 11 AM EST for our next featured Lady Barber and more feel-good stories or helpful information. We look forward to your feedback as always and please join us in supporting the Barber community whether it's by watching the ScissorSalute™ Show on Mondays at 7:00 PM EST or downloading the new Lady Barbers United application for Iphone and Android.

Until Next Time,