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Barber Supplies, Tools, and Equipment – Part 3: Getting the most out of the Adjustable Clipper

Throughout my career as an educator I have taught at barber and cosmetology schools hundreds of times. I was teaching at a new school last week and I was demonstrating a tapered neckline with an adjustable clipper. I was using the terminology opening and closing the blade and I received 2 questions I have not heard before. What does opening and closing the blade mean? And, what is the lever for?

This was a surprise to me as I assumed all students were familiar with an adjustable clipper. This particular school does not have an adjustable clipper in their kit so I feel it is very important that I cover this topic in detail.

The lever adjusts the length of the blade. When the lever is pushed toward the cutting blade it is called closing the blade and will cut the hair shorter. As the lever is pushed away from the cutting blade it is called opening the blade and will leave the hair longer. There are also a few lengths in between depending on the make and model of the clipper which makes the adjustable clipper ideal for skin/bald fades and tapered outlines.

Stay tuned for “Getting the most out of the Adjustable Clipper (continued)” where I will cover the benefits of using this clipper for the clipper over comb haircutting technique.

Please visit http://www.mastersofbarbering.comfor more info on the adjustable clipper as well as many other barbering tools.

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Barber Supplies, Tools, and Equipment – Part 2: How to avoid leaving razor burn with your trimmer

Razor burn left on the neck after giving haircut can seriously hurt your customer satisfaction and retention rate. It is an extremely important issue that needs to be addressed early on in your barber education as you learn how to cut men’s hair.

Let me explain what I mean by razor burn. It can be as slight as a light red mark left on the back of the neck or as severe as bright red marks with broken skin. The more sensitive the skin the worse it gets.

Fortunately there is an extremely simple solution. First, you must understand how a clipper blade is designed to cut hair properly. There are two blades. One is stationary (does not move) and the other is mobile (moves back and forth). The stationary blade picks up the hair and holds it and the mobile blade (also known as the cutting blade) moves back and forth and cuts the hair.

Now you understand how the blade works but how do I avoid the razor marks? The answer is very simple. DO NOT drag the clipper in a downward motion after making the outline. Turn the clipper around and shave the hair in an upward motion. This way the hair will feed into the clipper blade properly. The stationary blade will pick up the hair and the mobile blade will cut it.

If you still are unsure look at your trimmer closely. Notice how close the cutting blade is to the stationary blade. Even the lightest pressure to the skin will expose the skin to the cutting blade causing the different levels of razor burn. Experiment by touching your finger to the blade and press down LIGHTLY and you will see what I mean.

I can’t stress enough the importance of learning this lesson early on in your barber education. This one simple yet important tip will increase your customer satisfaction and retention levels in a BIG way.

Please visit http://www.mastersofbarbering.comto learn more about this and many other barber supplies and tool tips.

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Continuing Your Barber Education

The first step to any good barber education is the proper schooling. Going to a good barber or cosmetology school is the START of your foundation as a barber or men’s hairstylist. After school the real work starts.

I cannot stress enough the importance of finding a good mentor. This person can come in the form of an owner or manager of the barber shop you are going to work for, a co-worker, or someone you know and respect from another shop

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The first thing to look for in a mentor is a barber’s ability to teach (really teach) you the barbering trade. Make sure they can explain and are willing to explain everything in an easy to understand manner. This is the best way to further your barber education in the beginning of your career.

The next thing to look for in barbering mentor is someone with above average skill whose work you would like to duplicate. What you do not want is a barber who is very good and is just looking to show off their skills and impress you. This may seem attractive at first but the goal is to learn as much as you can in a way that you will be able to reproduce the haircuts being shown to you. It is my feeling that when someone has an above average skill level, their work will speak for itself. It is of no benefit to you to keep hearing from them how great they are. The best teachers are those who are humble and grateful for their ability ,want to share all of their knowledge with you, and help you succeed.

If you are unable to find a good mentor or would like to supplement your continuing barber education online please visit www.MastersOfBarbering.com. There are easy to follow lessons on topics including the tools of the trade, barber supplies, haircutting techniques, a variety of classic and current men’s hairstyles, beard trims, and numerous lessons on straight razor shaving. Each lesson includes video, written descriptions, and diagrams to help move you through the learning curve of your barber education as fast as possible. Good luck and remember hard work and a lot of practice will always be rewarded.

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Haircutting Techniques Part 1 – How to cut hair when it is too short to short pick up with your fingers

Many times when beginning a career in barbering or men’s haircutting the barber or cosmetologist will struggle the most in one particular situation. This is when giving a haircut the hair is too short to pick up with your fingers and the desired length is to be left longer than using the largest clipper attachment. Now what? or a look of confusion is what I get from the student. In my opinion this is where the truly talented are separated from the average.

There are two haircutting techniques that are used in this situation. The first one is called scissor over comb. This haircutting technique is when the comb slowly moves through the hair picking it up and the scissor held in the opposite hand opens and closes quickly cutting the hair. This is the oldest technique in barbering. (Yes, there was a time when the electric clipper did not exist.) With time and practice this technique will become second nature and you will start using it on longer hair instead of picking it up. You will find this haircutting technique to be much more efficient as well as more accurate than picking up the hair in many sections.

The second haircutting technique is clipper over comb. This works the same as scissor over comb except you are using a clipper. I recommend using an adjustable clipper or detachable blade clipper but never a trimmer. The trimmer is not powerful enough and the blade is too fine causing clipper lines in the haircut. Another benefit too this technique is you can begin the taper around the outline of the haircut after you finish each section. This will drastically increase the efficiency of your haircutting without increasing your hand speed. It is extremely important that the customer never feels like you are rushing them out of your chair.

This is the first blog of a multi-part series on men’s haircutting techniques.

Please visit http://www.mastersofbarbering.comto learn about these men’s haircutting techniques and much more.

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Barber Tools, Supplies, and Equipment: What you need as a professional barber – Part 1

Welcome to the first blog in a series of posts about barber tools, supplies, and equipment. Everyone has heard the saying “You are what you eat”. The same is true for your tools. You are only as good as your tools. It is impossible to give a great men’s haircut without the proper tools. You may get by with a good haircut once in a while with average tools but who wants to settle for good when greatness is possible.

Barber tools fall in to three main categories: Clippers, combs, and scissors. You must have a combination of all three to have a complete kit.

For the clippers we recommend having three. A powerful detachable blade clipper will help you remove a lot of thick hair or wet hair at once. It will also aid in cutting fade haircuts easier because the power will help to avoid leaving lines to blend out. The next clipper will be an adjustable clipper, which are perfect for cutting tapered/faded hairlines. You can easily get 4-5 blade sizes just by moving the lever. The last clipper you will need is a trimmer. This will be used for cutting outlines and shaving neck hair.

We recommend having three pairs of scissors. You will need a smaller scissor for cutting hair over your fingers which should be 5-6 ½ inches in length. A larger scissor is needed for cutting hair with the scissor over the comb technique. This scissor should be 6 ½ -8 ½ inches in length. A longer scissor allows for better control of the hair. The last scissor needed is a 40-44 tooth blending scissor. This will allow you to either blend or texturize the haircut for the perfect finish.

You will need both clipper combs and scissor combs. Your clipper comb should have a handle and the teeth should be smooth so the clipper will not get stuck on the grooves. A medium size and a larger one (flat top comb) will do the trick. You should also have a larger scissor comb for handling a lot of thick hair and a small one (finishing comb) or the fine work around the ears and on the hairline.

With the proper tools and education the sky is the limit.

Please visit http://www.mastersofbarbering.comfor more detailed video and written instruction on the Tools of the Trade.

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Barber School: The Start of Your Barber Education

The first step to any good education is the proper schooling. Going to a good barber or cosmetology school is the START of your foundation as a barber or men’s hairstylist. When selecting a barber school it is a good idea to visit more than one. Do not pick a barber school just because it is the shortest commute or the cheapest. Your career as a barber is at stake.

When visiting a barber school ask permission to talk to a couple of instructors and pick their brains. Ask them why they chose a career in barbering and why they would recommend one to you. Ask them what positive impacts attending their barber school will have on your career as a barber.

Before your visit ends talk to some of the students and ask them a few questions about their experiences so far in barber school or cosmetology school. Why would they recommend their school and how do they feel it will have a positive impact on their future? Are they happy with the student kit or do they feel they would benefit from additional tools? One of the most important things to find out is how much practical experience you will get before you graduate school. Theory is extremely important but you can only learn how to be a barber by being a barber. This may sound overly simple but the best way to learn how to cut men’s hair is by cutting men’s hair. The best way to learn how to shave someone’s face is by shaving someone’s face.

Make sure to get the most out of your experience. Take every advantage you can to take in the knowledge and experiences of all of your teachers. Watch and learn from all of your fellow barber students. Be humble and leave your ego at the door. There is something to be learned from everyone you come in contact with even if it is what not to do. In many cases this is just as valuable a lesson as anything else you will learn. Work on as many clients as possible while you are in barber school. Learn how to cut as many different hairstyles as possible to get the most out of you barber education. Ask your clients a lot of questions as well as your teachers to get a good feel for the male customers’ likes and dislikes. All of the above suggestions will go a long way in giving you a head start upon graduating barber school.

Please visit www.MastersOfBarbering.com to get a preview of the many different hairstyles, shaves, beards you will be expected to perform in your career as a barber. Our online barber school is designed supplement your training or serve as the first step in developing a career in barbering.
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The Secret to Learning “How To Fade Hair”

Throughout my 20 year career as a professional 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 YOU DON’T MAKE A LINE YOU 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 on the top so that when you start fading with the clipper you won’t lose site of the cutting blade in the excess hair. The next advantage is the clipper will cut through the 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 a detachable blade clipper 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. 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 without the fade taking longer.

Please visit www.MastersOfBarbering.com for more detailed video and written instruction on how to fade hair.

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The Importance of Learning to Cut Hair With Scissors

There was a time when the electric clipper did not exist at all and you were lucky if you had a hand clipper. Hand Clipper? Does anyone even know what that is? It is a clipper blade attached to two metal handles that fit in the palm your hand. It had to be opened and closed as fast as possible to avoid pulling the hair while cutting it. Who would ever want to put themselves and their customer through that?

So how did barbers cut short hair efficiently? They use the oldest and most prestigious technique which is the scissor over comb technique. Different size combs were used the way different size clipper attachments are used today. The outline was done with the point of the scissor and finished with a straight razor shave.

There are two great benefits to cutting hair this way:
1.    Cutting hair with the scissors and the scissor over comb technique teaches a great understanding of graduation (shorter hair graduating into longer hair).
2.    It gives the customer a lot more confidence in the barber cutting their hair. The reason? The perception of a higher level of skill and the barber taking greater care in the finished product. There is a big difference in using this technique versus the barber asking the customer what number they get and running the clipper up the side of their head.

Learning to cut hair with the proper scissor techniques will go a long way to improving the quality of your haircuts and the perceived value of the service you are providing. This is what ultimately leads to greater customer retention, charging higher prices, and receiving larger tips on a consistent basis.

Please visit www.MastersOfBarbering.com for more information on how to cut hair with scissors and other barber techniques with our online barber school.

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Welcome to the Masters of Barbering Blog!

Check back the week of November 21, 2011 as we roll out the Masters of Barbering blog! We’ll be bringing you expert advice, industry tips, product reviews, news, and business insight from our Master Barbers!

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