Barbers and salons have a long history. In fact, in many periods of history men did not attempt to shave themselves. Only the invention of the safety razor took shaving from the barber's shop to the home.
Generally, a barber cuts the hair of men. A hair stylist works for either just women or for both. Beauty salons tend to specifically cater to women. However, the equipment and supplies needed are similar. Supplies, however, are not the same. Barbers require razors and shavers, especially as some masculine hair styles require shaving of part of the head. Shaving creams are also important. Both need shears, scissors and shampoos, however. Beauty salons also tend to purchase skin care supplies. 'Salon quality' shampoos and conditioners tend to be acquired from a specific brand to which a salon is likely to remain loyal, as are hair tonics. While many barbers trim hair dry, stylists tend to wash the hair before cutting. They may also use mousses and sprays to help the person's hair hold its style. Professionals working in these areas also wear clothing designed to be easily cleaned of hair.
In terms of equipment, chairs and bowls are most important. Salons often have over head dryers. The traditional barber's pole sign is still used by many shops, although few are aware of its history and association with the minor surgery once performed by barbers. Brushes are, of course, important, as are towels for drying hair and robes worn by customers so that trimmed hair does not land on their clothes.
All of these items are generally acquired from specialist distributors.