Barber like A Boss with These 8 Tips from Barber Bros Mark and Matty
Barber bros Matty Conrad and Mark Bustos lifted the filters for their #NOFILTER presentation at COLOR, Cut & Style. As always, they delivered. And, as always, the most important lesson wasn’t technical at all. It was this: “Our job is to make people feel good,” said Mark. “I work at a salon in New York City and I do celebrities, but celebrities don’t pay the bills. It’s the everyday client in my chair who pays the bills, and they have to walk out of my door feeling great every time.”
1. When the Occipital Bone Protrudes Like a Turtle Shell
It’s easy to cut hair on a perfect head, Matty pointed out, but in the salon, barbers see real guys with all kinds of imperfections. “The thing is,” he said, “men’s haircuts today are really exposed, so the cuts have to be executed perfectly no matter what.” Protruding occipital bones are common issues—they can really throw off the proportion of a taper-down fade. “When the occipital is prominent,” Matty advised, “keep it low and cut clipper-over-comb so there’s enough room to build it gradually from the nape up.”
2. Texture is Everything
Forget fighting waves and curls, said Matty. Right now it’s all about natural texture, so put down the flat iron. Encourage movement and texture in the lengths. “We’re going for a cool, James Dean feel,” said Matty.
3. Clippers Aren’t the Only Tools
“When a client has a lot of hair, I like to use a feather razor to create a cool, disheveled shape,” said Mark. “A lot of barbers have mastered clippers, but it’s important to know how to use all of your tools.”
4. Control the Beard
A beard should always have a jaw shape, explained Matty. When the hair gets heavy in the back of the chin, the beard becomes heavy and round. Beard shapes should be squared-off and masculine, and follow the line of the jaw.
5. Fine and Tight
When you do tight work on the side, and the hair is fine, leave extra length to avoid cutting too close and creating holes. “Clipper-over-comb vertical sections, and give yourself room to work so you don’t skin him,” Matty declared.
6. Curl Craft
When hair is fine and curly, work with your clipper wide open to blend and create a softer line in the hair. Hard lines are hard to erase, so try not to create them in the first place. A texturizing shear is also a great tool to use to diffuse the last couple millimeters of a curl—it will blend and break up the curl pattern. Texturizing-shear-over-comb or slide channel cutting create movement and blend the hair.
7. Focus on the Client Experience
Little things matter when it comes to making the client comfortable. “When I’m point-cutting to remove weight in the front,” Mark said, “I point the client’s head down so the hair doesn’t fall in his face. I can’t stress enough how important it is to focus on the client’s comfort and the experience. It’s all about the little things, like cleaning the neck, brushing off the hair, etc.”
8. It’s Hip to Be Square
Always point your fingers straight to the ceiling as you cut in order to keep men’s shapes as square as possible, stressed Matty. “And remember, the outline shouldn’t be the last 10 percent of the cut. It’s 50 percent of what people see, so take your time and make it right.”
Straight fingers = square, masculine shapes.
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