I had the pleasure of training a small group of incredible barbers dedicated to perfecting their craft this past weekend at our latest barber training class at Ricci’s Academy of Barbering in Connecticut.
The class consisted of barbers from New Jersey, New York City, and Connecticut. The hands on barber class covered a wide range of barbering topics from the basics to the advanced. We started out learning how to break the head shape down into 5 easy to remember sections. Then we moved on to the four basic barbering techniques: scissor over fingers, scissor over comb, clipper over comb, and blade on skin.
After becoming more familiar with the correct way to perform these techniques we performed 4 haircuts on male manikin heads. We started out with the popular disconnected long layer cut focusing on sectioning techniques and over directing hair to create longer bang lengths. After that we moved on to the ever popular Pompadour. With this haircut we focused on the square shape haircut with a longer front and most importantly how to use a hair dryer and brush together to get the desired finish. Next up was the classic business side part haircut. Again focusing on the square shape haircut. Due to the shorter length we focused on the scissor and clipper over comb techniques. Last but not least was the flattop haircut. This is what I have found to be the hardest haircut to learn. You are cutting a square shape on a round object. Also, the hair is extremely short so any imperfection shows. With this haircut we focused on fading techniques using clipper attachments and the clipper over comb technique.
I had a great time teaching a wonderful group of people and am happy to say I have made some new friends in the industry that I look forward to staying in touch with and keeping up on their progress.
One of the most important things to consider when you are learning how to fade hair is how high or how low you are going to cut it. There are a lot of things to consider as you think about this question. Some of them include cowlicks, hair thickness, hair color, head shape, 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 note 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. These are the most particular and hardest customers to please.
This blog will teach how to give a fade haircut with scars. When you are asking the customer how high they like their fade make sure to ask them if they have any scars. If you are uncomfortable asking the customer that question, just spend an extra few seconds combing through the hair in an upward motion so when the hair is lifted up you will see if they have any scars. You will most likely find scars in 2 areas. In the temple region and/or on the occipital area which is just above the nape of the neck. If the scars are any lower than that there is not a lot that can be done. They are most likely going to show no matter what. Just make sure the customer is aware of that before you cut their fade.
If you find scars in the higher areas leave the hair thicker or darker in those areas and fade the hair low. When cutting the fade start arching the blade or floating the blade away from the scalp about ½ inch below the scars so you have room to fade the hair just below the them. If you go any higher you will run into the scars and they will show.
Throughout my 20 year career as a barber and an educator the most common question I am asked is “how do you fade hair without leaving a line?” My answer is simple. If you don’t make a line in the first place you won’t have to worry about fading it out. I want you to repeat this statement to yourself every time you are about to begin a fade. “FADING HAIR IS SIMPLE. IF I DON’T MAKE A LINE I DON’T HAVE TO FADE IT OUT.”
Now I will explain how to make leanring how to fade hair much easier. Start the haircut on the top instead of the bottom. The first advantage of this technique is you are removing length so you can see your work better. When you start the fading technique with the clippers you won’t lose site of the cutting blade in the excess hair. The next advantage is the clipper will cut through the shorter amount of hair much easier. As the head rounds in at the top take an imaginary line parallel to the side of the head until you run out of hair. This one technique will save you an enormous amount of time and improve your fades drastically.
This technique works best with the Oster 76, Andis BGRC, or Andis MVP. These are all detachable blade clippers with metal blades. The power of the clipper plus not having any of the teeth covered with a plastic attachment allows the blade to move through the hair with ease. It also works very well with a powerful adjustable clipper such as the Andis Master or Envy, Oster Fast Feed or Topaz, and Wahl Senior and Designer. Make sure the attachments used with this clipper fit extremely tight so you don’t run the risk of it falling while you are fading the hair.
If you follow these steps, not only will you be giving better fades, you will be able to work slower and more relaxed while finishing your fade haircuts faster.
In previous blogs I wrote about why it is not a good idea to cut by numbers. In this blog I am going to give you the basic sizes of attachments and metal blades that will make it more professional and descriptive than clipper cutting by numbers. I can’t stress enough how important the following information is when learning how to cut hair with clippers.
The standard blade/attachment sizes from longest to shortest are:
– 1/2”, 3/8”, 1/4”, 1/8”, 1/16”
Anything size longer than ½” you are better off cutting with clipper over comb. Any size shorter than the 1/16″ is an adjustable clipper without an attachment, and a trimmer for the shortest. Those sizes are standard and they are: 1, 0A, 000 for an adjustable clipper, and 00000 for a trimmer.
When talking with the customer about how short they like to get their fade cut it is much more personalized and professional referring to the actual measurement sizes than clipper cutting by numbers.