What It Means To Be A Barber

What It Means To Be A BarberWhat it means to be a barber goes far beyond just giving a good haircut. Yes, to be a successful barber you need to have a clean barbershop, give a quality service, have a convenient location, ample parking, and affordable pricing. What I am talking about is what makes your customers and community look at you in a different light. In my opinion the most important aspect of any barber’s job is your communication skills and your ability to build relationships. You can get away with being an average barber if you posses these skills. If you have outstanding talent but do not posses these skills you will have a difficult time becoming a successful barber with the potential for a long career.

I have been reflecting on my two decades in barbering as a technician, shop owner, and educator a lot recently. All of the sudden it hit me: As I am working on so many college kids many of them have been customers since they were 3 or 4 years old or in some cases since their first haircut. Throughout the years a strong relationship has built to the point where some of these guys are asking me advice on all different kinds of topics and life decisions which I consider a huge honor (and great responsibility)! On the other hand I cut many of their father’s hair who often tell me stories about their son’s, what they are up to, and in some cases ask for my opinion on some of their decisions. Again, a huge honor and great responsibility not to be taken lightly!

The best advice I can give is to make sure to always come to work with a smile on your face (even on the bad days), always have a positive attitude, never use bad language, never talk about controversial topics, work on having superior listening skills, and most importantly HAVE FUN! The last one being the most important because if you are laughing, joking around, and having fun it is contagious. Your customers will leave feeling great and keep coming back for more. Add a first class haircut to the mix and you have a combination that can’t be beat!

The Two Day Advanced Barber Training Academy

I would like to congratulate Tanya Golder from Fort Lauderdale, Florida for completing The Two Day Advanced Advanced Barber Training at Gregory's BarbershopBarber Training Academy in Albany, New York at Gregory’s Barbershop. Tanya exemplifies what true passion and determination for becoming the best she can be is all about. She has been a member of HowToCutHair.tv for over a year beginning when she was in barber school and into the first six months of her career. We have had the opportunity to get to know each other a little over that time through e-mail and phone conversations. She has been asking all of the right questions and it has been an honor to help steer her in the right direction to start her career in the best barbershop for her. I would recommend anyone in Fort Lauderdale to go see Tanya at the Las Olas Barbershop to get a first class haircut from her.

I absolutely love teaching these one-on-one classes and getting to know and help people from all over the country further their careers. In Tanya’s case she came well prepared. She knew exactly what she wanted to learn and practice. It was so obvious that she came prepared to get the most out of her investment.

On day 1  we covered the usual barbering basic techniques such as scissor over fingers, scissor over comb, clipper over comb, and blade on skin haircutting. We also worked on body positioning and posture, head shapes, sections of the head, and haircut shapes. Due to Tanya’s impressive ability we were able to work on some advanced barbering techniques as well such as razor sculpting, razor over comb, and razor over fingers.

On day two Tanya got the surprise of a lifetime with a 14 inch snow storm. It was the first time if 15 years that she has seen snow. The shop was closed for a snow day but we braved the weather and drove to the shop to work anyway. We finished up our manikin work and I demonstrated 6 different haircuts and a shave on live customers. Tanya diligently took notes and asked plenty of the right questions.

I had a couple of first time moments in my classes that I will never forget. The first is being corrected by Tanya for not referring to a customer by their first name. If you read my blogs you know I stress how important this is. I do not like excuses but I forgot the customers name and it didn’t get by her. The second, which I am very thankful for is: the first haircut I teach on the manikin with long hair has been taking a little bit too long in all of my classes. Tanya showed me a sectioning technique from her cosmetology training that will improve that portion of my seminars in the future (Thanks Tanya!).

I had a great experience teaching this class and am looking forward to visiting Tanya at her barbershop on my next trip to South Florida. Which by the way can’t come soon enough. It is -4 degrees outside at the time of this writing.

How to Fade Hair: How To Cut Cowlicks

One of the most important things to consider when you are learning how to fade hair is how high or how low the fade should be cut. There are a lot of things to consider as you think about this question. Some of them include cowlicks, hair thickness, hair color, length of the bangs, shape of the head, surface of the scalp (lumps, bumps, and/or dents), moles, scars, customer’s age, customer’s job, desired hairstyle, and the customer’s preference.

A very important thing to keep in mind is that no matter how good you are at fading hair, if the fade is too high or too low your customer will not think it is a good haircut. If the haircut is 100% technically correct but it is not exactly what the customer wants they won’t be happy. This is especially true with the fade haircut customer. It doesn’t matter if they are a young kid or older suit and tie professional. The fade guys are the most particular and hardest customers to please.

In this blog I am going to discuss how to cut cowlicks. Even though I could write a book on all the different kinds of cowlicks I am going to keep it simple in this short article. The first and most important thing I would like you to always remember is what I have been telling my students and employees for years: “IT IS ONLY A COWLICK IF YOU CUT IT TOO SHORT ”. I know this sounds obvious but if you cut the hair too short in the crown or the pivot area the hair will stick up every single time. There is nothing worse than a customer walking out of a barbershop or hair salon with his hair standing up in the back. This is one of the number one reasons for a customer not coming back to you for a haircut.

The most difficult cowlicks to deal with are the ones on top of the head in the crown area. They can be closer to the top of the head, all the way down by occipital bone in the back, or somewhere in between.

–          Always make sure to layer the top first. This will remove the weight and give you a guide to blend to. If there is too much hair on top you will lose sight of the cutting blade and most likely go too high with the clipper. If you cut too high it will be late to recover.

–          Depending on how strong the cowlick is or how much the hair wants to stick up or out you need to leave anywhere from an inch to three inches from the base of the cowlick for blending.

–          If the cowlick is closer to the top of the head you can usually fade past the occipital bone (round of the head).

–          If the cowlick is lower let the occipital bone (round of the head) push the clipper blade away from the head in an arcing motion. This will leave you enough room to blend.

Cutting cowlicks correctly is one of the best ways you to keep a customer for life. This is the customer who has rarely received good haircuts in their lifetime. They will appreciate you and their tip will definitely reflect that.