The Kavanos of a Haircut:
One is to intend upon getting a haircut that he is removing the powers of severity, and is fulfilling the Mitzvah of having Peiyos, and the Mitzvah of paying a worker for his job on the same day and the Mitzvah of honoring Yom Tov. One can fulfill a total of fourteen Mitzvos when he gets a haircut.
May a gentile give one a haircut?
Based on Kabala there are those which avoid receiving a haircut from a gentile.
Shaar Hamitzvos brought in Kaf Hachaim 232/15; 581/80
Kaf Hachaim 232/15: 7 negative commands relating to the Peios and beard; One negative command of Bechuko seihem Lo Seliechu; One negative command of Lo Yilbash Gever; One negative command of Lo Savo Alav Hashemesh; One negative command of Lo Salin; One positive command of Beyomo Titen Secharo; If the barber is poor he also fulfills the negative command of Lo Yikra Alecha; One Rabbinical Mitzvah of honoring Shabbos and Yom Tov.
Kaf Hachaim 260/13; Mateh Efrayim-Alef Hamagen 581/105