Don’t Worry, Clip Happy
You might be an awesome stylist, but we have to break it to you—without topnotch cutting tools, your talent is limited. So how can you tell if your clippers are amateur? We asked the experts who helped us cut through the clutter of misinformation, so you can fill your station with the best of the best.
Scissors might be the number one tool a stylist can’t live without, but frantically clipping at its heels is the clipper. Increasingly, stylists are turning to this electrical tool as they begin to experiment with new techniques.
But before we get on to the looks you can create using clippers, Laura VanderMoere, Wahl’s Director of Education, insists it’s imperative stylists understand how to handle clippers properly. She explains: “I see so many white-knuckled stylists who put a death grip on the clipper, and rightfully so, as they are heavier, larger and basically foreign to our hand. This, however, only restricts the mobility of the tool and frustrates and tires out the stylist. The best analogy I’ve come up with is to hold the clipper as if you were holding a bottle of water; in your fingertips with just enough grip so it doesn’t fall out, but not so tight you can’t tip your wrist up, down, to the left, or right.”
In terms of styling techniques, Laura suggests using clippers instead of shears for blunt cutting, as they allow for a wider cutting range and for point-cutting to create texture. She adds: “Try fanning hair for a deeper point, using the clipper more upright and tapping into the hair.”
So, now you know what you want to achieve, but with so many clippers on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? “A stylist needs to consider two things,” says Laura. “What is my canvas and hair texture? This will determine the power of the motor needed. And secondly, how will I use the tool to achieve my desired result, for example, clipper-over-comb, on-scalp tapering or fading. This will determine the type of blade needed.”
A handy tip to remember is that a standard (ridge back) blade has more bevel and is designed to pick up the hair, while a smooth (surgical steel) blade is flatter and sharper, making it ideal for fading. If properly cared for, your chosen clipper should last a lifetime. However, companies like Wahl do offer a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty. The company also offers a comprehensive education program, with courses ranging from beginner basics to the latest techniques.
For your consideration: Wahl Cordless Sterling 4 Clipper
Lithium-ion cord/cordless clipper
Personalize your clipper with 4 color insert chips
90+ minute run time
Lightweight, with sleek ergonomic design
Equipped with taper lever for easy fading and blending
1005 standard blade fits all Wahl guards
“Wahl is the most influential and proven name in the hair industry, constantly on the forefront of the most powerful and innovative tools. My favorite tools from the Wahl line include the Reflections Senior, Icons and Hero Trimmers.”
– Eric Panichi
J-Allen Barber Studio
Albany, New York