From the way the hair is cut to how it is styled, Erin Hundley explains exactly what needs to happen the moment a textured hair male client sits in your chair. From what tools to use to how you conduct the consultation, Erin’s advice and information will help you to continue to bridge that communication gap all the while evolving your skills and knowledge. Having this understanding and knowledge will also benefit those of you who are seeing an increase in male clients due to in part with the boom in men’s grooming.
Texture! This word is taking the reigns lately. We are seeing it everywhere. From social media platforms to behind the chair, texture has always been a part of our hair culture, and for the longest time, we’ve been working on smoothing it out. Now that we are seeing a culture shift and people with texture embracing the goods they have been given, we know its back and ready for wear.
The majority of us salon professionals (and people with textured hair) understand the woes that today’s women face. From the endless ads in magazines to the commercials on television, it’s everywhere and a constant reminder. How about all the men with textured hair? Very rarely do we ever see any advertisements or strategies or solutions for the other gender. It’s something that needs to change.
Maybe we as salon pros can blur this thin line a bit.
When posed with the question, “Do men require a different type of consultation than women,” the answer is NO. After speaking with Franco Della Grazia, Owner of Franco and Co & Matrix Artistic Director he said, “Your initial consultation will be the same whether male or female. The difference will be the end result. A woman will most likely need a finishing service that will entail products that support whichever service is done (i.e. blow dry). A male will require a pomade, wax, gel or hairspray with little finishing.” He also stated, “Men pretend to be less fussy, but are fussier.”
I find that statement to be funny and yet very true.
And if you think about it, men visit the salon/barbershop more frequently than women, sometimes weekly. So it’s a target audience we as salon pros want to capture, right?
Remember every client experience will yield a different result. No two clients are the same. However, our formula for consultation should be consistent. Be sure that you listen to your client and what he/she is seeking, repeat it back to them to be sure you are both on the same page. Give them your professional insight. Build their trust by being honest, and more importantly, don’t talk to them via the mirror. Turn them around and make eye contact. Let them know you are present.
Understanding men’s texture is as important as understanding women’s texture. Once you understand hair texture, whether it’s straight or curly, you should have no trouble learning how to master the cutting techniques used to tame these manes. Whirls, also known as “cowlicks,” sometimes cause an array of problems when cutting hair. Always cut to follow the whirl and keep the hair a little longer, because we know one wrong move and OOPS! Bald spot.
Tools For Texture:
As for the tools used for men’s haircutting, we see many barbers and stylists using clippers, edgers/trimmers, thinning shears and/or shears to achieve these desired looks.
Now that we have moved passed the unkempt, shaggy manbun phase, we are noticing clean lines again. The short, tight-to-the-head fades and crop cuts along with hard parts are causing the resurgence of old school barbering techniques such as scissor over comb.
As an educator, I’ve noticed many barbers and stylists steering clear from scissor over comb. I know because I used to be that stylist. Here are a few tips if you find you struggle with this technique.
- Be sure that you are only moving your thumb when you are cutting; you should have a still blade and a moving blade when you cut. Your hand should not be chomping like Pacman or a hand puppet nor should your scissors. The only finger to move is your thumb.
- When you have downtime in the salon, place your still blade on the hand you don’t cut with. Your shears should be parallel to the ground. Practice just moving your thumb and make it so your thumb is not completely through the thumb hole, but enough so that you still have control over the movement.
- Make sure your still blade is always level with your comb, because they work as a unit. If they are apart they can not work together.
- Start in the center nape and work up the head in columns. Don’t jump all over the place. Just finish one column at a time. Work up the head then repeat and pay attention to the shape of the head and use your mirror. You will be able to see what needs to be blended better from afar opposed to up close and personal. If you still aren’t certain, take a step back and look at your work.
I’ve found the “Cut Safe Comb” by Franco and Co work wonders when learning/achieving scissor over comb technique. The awesomeness of these combs is they emulate the guards on clippers; each set comes with sizes 1-4.
The beauty of our industry is there are always tools and techniques available to help you master the things you may not understand today that in turn helps prepare you to teach them tomorrow. The assistant will become the teacher and the teacher will become the assistant. It’s the circle of life, which is why we must always remain open to learning. It’s the foundation in which our industry is built.
Until next time!
Love & Light –
In the comments below, please share with us some struggles you’ve personally experienced when encountering male clients with textured hair.
Top: Tony Wilson
Middle: Joe Riber
Bottom: Johnny Georgi