I recently had the opportunity to work as a platform educator for the Andis Company at this year’s Bronner Bros. International Beautry Show. It was a great experience as I have never worked this show before. I would like to share a portion of the Bronner Bros. mission statement to give you an idea of the company’s commitment to excellence and their contribution to the barber and beauty industry:
“Our mission is to be the largest African American, Christian Company in the world. Our focus is to pursue excellence by manufacturing and distributing excellent hair and skin care products for African Americans. In this pursuit, not only will we manufacture excellent products, but we will also be recognized as having the most glamorous styling operation and as having the worlds’ largest and the most exciting beauty show during the mid-summer and winter months. In fact, excellence will permeate everything that we do.
I also had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best barbers in the industry on the Andis stage including Kenny Duncan, Tone McGill, and Eric Cheeks. As well as working with these barbers the Andis company introduced 3 incredible new clippers: The Supra ZR, The Limited Edition Black Label Master, and the Slim Line LI. I will give a full detailed description of each of these clippers in future blogs and why I feel they are the best on the market and make my job easier every day in the barbershop.
As far as haircutting education goes this is one of my favorite shows because of the diversity. In a two hour time period on stage I went from cutting an Afro with a low taper to a bald fade to and undercut with two parts cut in. It doesn’t get any more fun than that. The crowd was extremely engaging and supportive and I am looking forward to my next opportunity to work at the show again.
I recently had the opportunity to present an Andis clipper cutting class in Farmington Hills, Michigan. at the Industry Source. A wide variety of topics were covered and I also had the opportunity to demonstrate some fun haircuts with the best clippers of course. The class started out with a presentation on how to choose the correct clipper for each individual. This was done through educating the class on the three different types of clippers which include detachable blade, adjustable blade, and trimmers. Also, the features and benefits of the three types of motors were discussed in great detail: rotary motor, magnetic motor, and pivot motor. After giving the class a detailed explanation of the above we spent a considerable amount of time on clipper maintenance. This is probably on of the most least talked about but important topics in barbering. Every clipper should be cleaned, disinfected, and oiled before each use. No if, and’s, or but’s about it. This will ensure a longer life for your clippers and optimum cutting efficiency. One of the most fun parts of these classes is to pull some of the attendees on stage to demonstrate and give away free stuff from Andis for their participation.
Next, it was on to the haircuts. I was able to demonstrate some live haircuts as well as on mannequins. I started out with a side part haircut and demonstrated the back hand clipper cutting or shear style cutting technique on the top section. On the sides and back I demonstrated how to achieve the same look with clipper over comb or plastic attachments along with a detailed explanation of the benefits of each. Finally, we finished off the haircut with a hard part which means shaving a part into the head with a powerful trimmer to make it stand out.
Next up I demonstrated a textured haircut on a mannequin. In this haircut I again used the back hand or shear style cutting technique with the clippers to remove length and layer the hair. To add texture I used the texturizing blade on the detachable blade clipper. This blade (T-24) takes the place of using a blending shear or straight razor. The attendees who come up on stage to try it out absolutely loved this technique and the finish it leaves on the hair.
On our last model I demonstrated a side part undercut with a bald fade and cut the part in. Many techniques were used on this haircut but the one I like to demonstrate the most is the reverse fading technique. In other words, fading from the top down without putting a line in first. The class loved this technique. Especially the idea of almost completely eliminating the blending step to save time while increasing efficiency.
Overall it was a great class and I appreciate the opportunity to have been able to present this class for Andis and the Industry Source. I am looking forward to my next trip back.
Prom season is upon us and the Princeton Style haircut is an excellent choice for a classic look made popular in the 1950’s. Throughout my career this has been one of the most common haircuts in the barbershop. It is easy to maintain for the customer especially with problem crown areas. With that being said it is a more difficult hairstyle to cut because of the extreme differences in length. In this case the customer has very straight hair so even though the crown area is being cut almost as short as the sides the top has to be left long enough so it can be styled to the side without standing up. This particular model is special to me because I have been personally cutting his hair since he was 3 years old and now I just gave him his senior prom haircut. Next up I will be giving him his going away to college haircut this fall. It is such an honor to be an important and memorable part of so many of these young men’s lives as they are growing up.
Princeton Style Haircut For Prom Season:
1. Use a 3/8th’s attachment comb or metal blade and shave over the pivot area and the sides and back of the head.
2. Taper around the outline of the haircut with an adjustable clipper to leave a low natural finish. Make sure not to go higher than the natural hairline.
3. Use the clipper over comb technique to blend in the crown area to the top. Make sure not to blend too far forward or the hair will stand up.
4. Use the scissor over comb technique on the top section to trim the hair to the desired length.
5. Blow dry the hair into the desired style with a light gel until completely dry.
6. Finish with a dry paste and style to the clients preference.
This is a classic cut that is not going out of style any time soon. It is a great solution for young children with problem crown areas or anyone looking for a low maintenance hairstyle.
The flattop haircut is one of the most basic barber haircuts. With that said basic does not mean easy. You are creating a square shape on a round object and with the hair being so short any imperfection will show. Proficiency with the flattop hairstyle will give you a good understanding of fading techniques, clipper over comb techniques, and scissor over comb techniques. You will also gain an understanding of the square shaped haircut and the concept of leaving weight in the corners that most men’s hairstyles require.
The Flattop Haircut:
1. Fade the sides to the desired length.
2. Taper the outline of the haircut.
3. Blend the round of the head section into the top section using the clipper or scissor over comb technique.
4. Apply a light hold gel to the hair and blow dry the hair so that it is all standing up evenly.
5. Using a large flattop comb and the clipper over comb technique create your center guide. Make sure to leave the front longer and angle slightly downward in the crown area.
6. Repeat step 5 on the left and right sides evening off the top. Make sure to always keep your comb parallel to the floor to ensure the square shape and preserve the corners.
7. Apply the final styling product and complete the final touch up. I recommend spinning the chair 360 degrees and checking from every angle in your mirror before letting the client leave.
On the second day of a two day seminar I had the opportunity to teach a shaving class at Jake’s Place. Jake’s Place is an upscale barbershop and men’s spa in the Norfolk, Virginia area. Shaving is a very difficult skill to master. One of the things to keep in mind is that no matter how good you become at cutting hair shaving is a totally different skill set that has to be practiced just as much if not more so to develop “the touch” or “the feel” necessary to provide a close but comfortable shave.
The morning session consisted of shaving demonstrations or look and learn. I had the opportunity to provide 2 shaves on men who had full beards. I had the opportunity to demonstrate with the correct equipment and the best products how to give a consistently close but comfortable shave. I was also able to show that the best razors will go through a grown out beard without cutting it down first. The danger of cutting down a beard first with a trimmer is that you run the risk of irritating the skin before shaving. The takeaways from the morning session were: the four hand positions for holding the razor, the 14 strokes of the shave, what is the best razor to use, and the sequence to prepare the face for the shave.
The afternoon session consisted of the staff at Jake’s Place demonstrating shaves with the new techniques they learned. Keep in mind this is an upscale barbershop that has been offering shaves since they opened so I give the entire staff and ownership a lot of credit for being open minded to learning knew things to improve on the high level of talent they already have. We had a few challenges but by the end of the hands on session everyone understood the importance of using a high quality pre-shave oil, a thick moisturizing shaving cream, and in my opinion the best razor to use. Everyone was also challenged with using the correct hand position for all 14 strokes of the shave.
My time spent at Jake’s Place was very rewarding. I met some great people and I can’t wait for my return trip this fall.