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 your job as a barber 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.
Learning how to cut men’s hair at an expert level requires an understanding of the different shapes of a man’s haircut and the degree of graduation required for the haircut. These two terms may sound complicated but I am going to make it real simple for you to understand.
There are two basic shapes of a men’s haircut:
Square: Think about a flat top. You are putting a square shape on a round object. The hair is longer in the corners and in the front. The majority of men’s haircuts are very similar. The hair needs to be longer in the bang area so the client can comb them to the side or back, longer in the round of the head section so the hair can be combed down or back without sticking out, and longer in the crown so the hair will not stand up. All of your business type haircuts, classic boys haircuts, and the majority of low fade haircuts fall into this category.
Contoured: These are the haircuts that follow the shape of the head. Instead of leaving the hair longer in the corners or the round of the head section the hair is cut to the shape of the head. Some of these haircuts include brush cuts, faux hawks (and all of their variations), Cesar haircuts, and most variations of short, bed head style haircuts.
This word is nothing more than a fancy way to say taper or fade. It means the hair is gradually cut from shorter to longer. When cutting any men’s hairstyle you need to determine ahead of time the best area of the haircut for the graduation. The area of graduation is determined by the length of the top. The longer the top the more extreme and lower on the head the graduation should be. The shorter the haircut the higher on the head form the graduation can be. The principles are the same whether the haircut is a low skin fade, a blowout haircut, or businessman’s haircut. The only differences are the tools and techniques used.
Through the proper men’s haircutting education and experience these concepts will become second nature. Mastering this attention to detail will keep your barber chair booked up weeks in advance.
The best way to learn how to cut men’s hair is by cutting men’s hair. This may sound over simplified but it really is that simple. The more men’s haircuts you do the better at men’s haircutting you will become.
Now that we have that out of the way here are some ideas to get more hair cutting practice and to increase the quality of your practice:
Schooling: Make sure you are learning the proper way. Go to a reputable school with qualified teachers or work for an organization with a high quality training program.
Learn From Others: When Learning from fellow students make sure they are giving the quality of men’s haircuts you would like to provide. Don’t just watch them because they tell you they know what they are doing. The same holds true if you are an industry professional working in a salon or barbershop. Make sure the co-workers you choose to learn from are providing excellent men’s haircuts.
Practice On The Clinic Floor: When you are in school working on the clinic floor grab the men’s haircuts you are not comfortable with. The only way to get good at these haircuts is by practicing them. You cannot improve if you keeping giving the same haircut you have already mastered. If you are working in a salon or barbershop push yourself within reason. Make sure to get some challenging haircuts so you are growing everyday.
Free Haircuts: Offer friends and their friends’ free haircuts. Keep cutting until you are comfortable with these haircuts. Giving a free haircut takes the pressure off and can lead to valuable paying customers in the future.
Get A Mentor: Learn from the best. Find a barber in your area or someone online who is giving the quality of haircuts that you would like to duplicate. Learn their techniques. Practice, practice, practice their techniques.
I can still hear my high school football coach screaming “You play like you practice.” This is so true. The quality of your men’s haircut practice time will determine your level of success in your barbering or men’s haircutting career.