Where do I find a Haircutting Mentor?

Before writing more about equipment and supplies of being a hair cutter, I thought that before moving forward, I should express the importance of always being a student in the hair industry.

The hair industry is wide yet narrow. You can choose what part of the industry you would like to pursue or to learn more about.

Since having a 3-year gap from 2016 to 2019, I was cutting my father’s hair only because I pursued jobs outside of hair.

Now that I am back in the game, I still had some skills, but had to learn the most up-to-date hair cutting equipment and knowledge.

The purpose of this blog is to emphasize how important it is to be the student even after you have finished beauty school and newly licensed as well as being a seasoned hair professional.

Even the best cosmetologist and barbers are constantly learning to improve their hair cutting performance.

Virtual Mentors

Virtual mentors are so much more accessible these days with social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

If you want to stay updated on the latest trends and techniques, YouTube is the best place to keep up with your hair cutting education because there are so many videos out there to learn from.

Since I predominately focus on men’s’ haircuts, I watch barbers cutting hair since they post videos on men’s’ haircuts.

On YouTube, I subscribe to professionals like

360Jeezy (Vacaville, CA),

Sofie Pok (Los Angeles, CA),

BruceTheBarber,

Beardbrand,

TheSalonGuy,

and Freeda Gotfades.

It is important that you watch other professionals and their work because you may get better just by watching what they do.

Instagram is another platform to follow your virtual mentors because it allows you to see what they do regularly and what education resources they may use.

They may go to conventions or conferences that is related to hair that you may not know of.

Whatever social media platform you use, always ask questions and be positive.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when learning a new technique or method of hair cutting.

Great things take time and be gentle with yourself

Live Mentors

If you are thinking of working in a salon or barbershop, be sure to ask in the interview if the salon or barbershop offers education.

If they don’t, I would get experience at a corporate or franchise salon because they usually offer free education.

Other stylist and salon managers should be knowledgeable and should be willing to help.

In my own experience, I felt that working in a corporate franshise franchise salon really helped hone my hair cutting skills as well as the timing of my haircuts.

Check out Regis Corporation to see which salon is nearest you.

https://www.regiscorp.com/salon-brands.html

If you are still in beauty school always, ask for help and try not to be afraid.

I know what it was like just starting out. It was difficult and anxiety inducing.

I was shy and was afraid to ask for help.

Don’t be like me. ūüėČ

Another way to expose yourself to improving your hair cutting skills is to actually go to a real class. You can either register for a class that you pay for or ask your manager that you want more training with their educator.

Attending hair conferences include the Hair & Beauty Expo located in Los Angeles, CosmoProf North America, IBS Las Vegas, International Salon & Spa Expo and many others.

Search hair conferences and see which ones are closest to you.

If you have the means, you can ask your hair mentor to give you private lesson either individually or in a group setting. You can always message these mentors on their YouTube channel or Instagram. See what they say, they might say Yes!

Ask Questions

The ones that improve their craft always ask questions. If you have a hair mentor, always ask questions virtual or live.

Ask help from a colleague that you went to beauty school with.

Even if you are in the middle of a haircut, ask your manager or coworker for help. Don’t be ashamed or prideful.

Just because you may not have perfected a certain skill like blending that one guideline, doesn’t mean you should not have your client leave without their hair not finished.

I recently had a customer who doesn’t get his haircut often and said to me, ” I only give stylist one chance, if they mess up I don’t go back to them.”

He only wanted a # 0 on sides and back and a #1 on top. But I had trouble blending because his hair grows in so many directions and my blending was sub par.

Although he was being semi-sarcastic, yet serious, I still had to stop my haircut and ask my coworker for help because I am still not 100% confident in blending curly hair.

I honestly didn’t care what he thought of me at that point because I wasn’t going to let him leave without his hair properly faded.

Think about the client first to make sure they leave with a good haircut.

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Whether you just graduated or have been working for a long time, practice your craft all the time.

Ask friends or family members to give them free haircuts.

Practice all types of haircuts on both men and women

Practice on your nieces or nephews, cousins and uncles.

Trade services with someone. If someone is another licensed professional like a massage therapist or waxing professional, you can trade services with them.

But be careful when trading services. Only trade services if you already know the person.

If for some reason, you don’t have access to a live person to practice on, you can always practice on a manequin head.

Take photos or record a video of your work so that you can see your progress.

Post your work on social media and face your fears. Take constructive criticism and move on. Don’t dwell.

Remember, you are not alone.

Always be a Student

After being licensed for 12 years, I have only about 8 years of professional experience.

Trends and techniques always change.

Each head is a different head. And everyone’s hair is different.

Even if you may be a seasoned stylist or hair cutter, you have to know what kind of hair you are dealing with.

Always ask questions and look for a virtual hair mentor or live mentor or both.

If there’s a will, you will find a way. And take classes, free and paid. Hair cutting classes are out there.

Classes are great because you learn and meet people and you may find a mentor or new friend.

 

I hope this helped out.

 

Remember, you are not alone.

You are always welcome to contact me.

 

– Felixia

Plastic Clipper Guards VS. Metal Clipper Blades

The clipper  guards for your chosen clippers is ESSENTIAL for clipper cutting.  I wanted to share my experience using both the both plastic and metal clipper guards and the basic knowledge of clipper guard sizes.  It can get confusing when you are starting out in your haircutting career or transitioning from plastic to metal guards.

Clippers and their guards

Before thinking about what guards you want to use, it all depends on what clippers you decide to work with.  If you have been a working licensed professional for awhile now, you may use several different clippers with their own respective guards.

If you are in school and want to get into clipper cutting, the most regarded clipper to start with are the Wahl brand clippers.¬† Wahl’s are great for the student and for the seasoned professional as they have a wide range of clippers.

Be sure to use the clipper guards that is designed for your clippers.

Plastic guards

I currently work with Wahl clippers and work with two sets of clipper guards.  I work with the basic plastic guards in addition to the black premium guards.  The images are shown below.

Walh clipper guard 8 pack

 

Walh Premium Guards

The guard sizes are straight forward.  On each guard, there will be a permanent label that states how much hair will be left on the head.  For example a number 8 guard will be labeled as 1 inch (or 25 mm).  A number 1 will be labeled as 1/8th of an inch (or 3 mm).  These measurements are the same for any clipper that you use.  Just remember to use the guards that is associated with your clipper brand because not all clipper guards are universal.

If you are using Wahl clippers, be sure to invest in 1/2 plastic guard and the 1 1/2 plastic premium guards because these will help you in detailing after you do the overall fade of your clients’ hair.

 

Metal blade guards (or detachable blades)

If you have an Andis or Oster that uses a detachable metal blade, it can only go so far in sizes because of the thickness of the blade.  Although I loved using my metal blades, they are very expensive.  In my experience, one detachable blade can range from $20.00 to $45.00 for one blade.  The largest metal blade that I own is labeled as 3 3/4.  Which in reality compared to other guards is a 3.5 size guard.

Also with metal blades, you have to care for them more often because they are metal and tend to rust if not properly cleaned with blade wash at least once or more per week.

When I first started working, I only used the Oster detachable blades. While learning on the job, the detachable blades are somewhat shorter in size compared to a plastic guard.  You need to be mindful when cutting hair on your client.  If a client wants a number 3, you need to use the 3 1/2 metal blade.

I love the metal blades because it gives such a clean cut compared to plastic guards.  I feel like the metal blades are much more thorough with less strokes.  But with a clipper that does not have a lever may be more challenging to blend the hair from a #000 to a # 1/2 guard.  I am not saying you cannot blend with detachable blades, it is definitely a different type of clipper and your fading techniques will be different.

The metal blades do have a #000 and a #00000 as well as 0A, 1, 1A.  I personally always had trouble using the metal blades to fade really close blends, like a 1 on top and 0 on the sides and back of the head.  But work with what your comfortable with if you already know how to fade with these blades.

When I was working with metal blades, I was so nervous cutting 0 fades because I felt like I wasn’t trained properly on how to do those close fades.¬† But if you think you have your fading techniques down with detachable blades, more power to you.¬† Please share your experience with me and the community because sharing is caring.

Which guards do I use?

You may be asking yourself, “Ok, what now, Felixia?”

My goal for this post was to inform the newbies and those that have been in and out of the hair industry about general clipper guard knowledge.

If you work at a salon that is catered to mostly clipper cuts, invest in yourself and try out different clippers or if you like your clippers, try different guards.¬† If you are using a Wahl clipper try the black premium guards versus the regular plastic ones.¬† Don’t forget to invest in a 1/2 guard and 1 1/2 guard.¬†¬† The 1/2 guard helps to blend between the # 1 and with the clipper lever all the way open and half way open.¬† I will go into detail about using these guards to fade/ blend the hair in a much later post.

If you have never used metal blades before and want to try a new clipper, invest in Oster 76 or another Oster brand.  It is always good to learn how to use different types of tools and to see how they work.  I currently have 4 clippers, one of which is an Oster with detachable blades.

The take-away

I have expressed my own experience using the metal blades, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t love them.¬† If you are doing a basic businessman haircut which doesn’t require you to do a 0 fade, by all means, keep using your metal blades because it provides a clean cut.

If you do fades all day, I would invest in a clipper that have a lever and use the premium black guards by Wahl, including the 1/2 and 1 1/2 guards.y

Plastic and Metal blades can be used by the same professional.¬† As a hair-cutting professional, you can use both types of guards depending on what haircut you will be performing.¬† There are so many types of haircuts and each professional hair-cutting should be prepared.¬† It also depends on your preference and experience.¬† How well you work with each tool will determine your confidence to venture out.¬† If you don’t want to work with detachable blades, you don’t have to.¬† But if you have experience with detachable blades and want to use a Wahl clipper, go for it.¬† It will only enhance your product knowledge and you will figure out what works best with your hair-cutting performance.

 

I hope this clarifies confusion about clipper guards.

Remember, you are not alone.

You are always welcome to contact me.

Also, below is a video about the differences between plastic guards and detachable blades.

I hope you find it helpful.

 

– Felixia

 

 

 

The Best Clippers for Cutting Hair – The Must Haves!

I have been a licensed Cosmetologist since 2007 and within those early years of my Cosmetology experience I have had experience cutting hair with the Oster brand of clippers. The clipper that I preferred was the detachable metal blades. In recent times fast forwarding to 2019, I have had experiences with Wahls, and Andis. In this blog, I will also include the brand of Babyliss clippers because I think its important to note the lever usage on the clippers. The lever on clippers is very important especially for someone new to haircuts that includes blending or fading. Or someone that has been in and out of the hair cutting profession like I have.

My objective is to discuss the 4 major brands that are a must know in the industry and by far the most popular ones. Also, this blog is to inform my fellow Cosmetologists the best clippers for cutting hair.

1. Wahl

            Wahl Magic Clip (cord) 

 

             Walh Senior

 

 

2. Andis

 Andis Masters

3. Babyliss

  Babyliss Pro

 

4. Osters

Osters Classic 76

 

You must also know there are sub-brands to these major brands. I will not cover every sub-brand there are is in the hair clipper market. This will be an overview of the clippers that I have experienced with. For those of you who are starting out in your hair cutting career, this may serve as brief introduction to the major brands of clippers.

The Wahl brand of clippers

Currently, I am using the Wahl Senior clippers and Wahl Magic Clip clippers. The Senior clippers are a bit heavier than the Magic Clip clipper most probably due to the outer casing of the clipper itself or the motor. The Magic Clips weigh 1.3 pounds and the Seniors weigh at 1.5 pounds. The Senior clippers have a place for your thumb to rest on while doing your clipper cut. The Senior clippers have a black and sliver look to it which I like. The Magic Clip clipper is lighter and has a bit longer teeth blade than the Senior clipper. But both clippers are great. The one thing I have noticed about the Senior clipper is that after using the clipper for 20 to 30 minutes, it can get warm to hot, so it benefits a Cosmetologist of Barber to have at least two clippers you can use for haircuts so you can alternate and let one cool down.

The Andis brand of clippers

What drew me to getting an Andis Master clipper was the sleep all silver look and the branded notches for the lever so you can determine to go zero or half and whatever else in between. I think for a licensed hair professional that will be focusing on hair cutting all day especially on men hair, a clipper with notches may be a great idea if fading and blending hair is the focus on your work. There are many other sub-brands of Andis that do have branded or labeled notches for the lever.

What I want you to know about the Andis Master clipper is that although it has a great look and branded notch levels for the lever, it is by far my heaviest clipper. Yes, its heavier than the Wahl Seniors which are 1.5 pounds and the Andis Master is 1.7 pounds.

I also owned the Andis SpeedMaster clipper, the first edition that came with a PivotPro trimmer. This pair is good if you are in beauty school, but I would upgrade to another professional sub-brand of Andis that will give you a sharper and clean cut for your blending/fades.

The Babyliss brand of clippers

I like the BaBylissPRO Barberology clippers. These clippers are great if you need a bigger handle for your clippers. They also have the indented notches on the lever. Every time you change the lever position, there are is a little notch that hooks her lever into position without getting out-of-place unlike other clippers. The style on these BaBylissPro Barbarology clippers are clean and sleek. I personally do not own a pair yet, but I have a co-worker who owns the rose gold cordless pair and says that she enjoys having the clipper.

The one thing that my co-worker said about these clippers is that when you spray the blade cleaner, over time, the color on the blades will discolor near the head of the blades.

But overall this clipper is great if you are transitioning from non-lever clipper to a lever clipper. And if you like a bigger grip on a clipper, the Babyliss is your go-to.

The Osters brand of clippers

I have the Oster Professional clipper which have detachable blades. I love this clipper because of the detachable blades because to me, the blades provides such a clean cut compared to using guards. But now that I have had some experience with other brands with a lever attached, the blend is better with a lever attached to a clipper.

I find it difficult to blend the zero fades to the number 1 guard with a detachable blade clipper. Also, Oster’s tend to be a more noisy clipper than the Walh’s or Andis. This clipper is great if you only basic men hair cuts that don’t go down to zero fades.

Although I am not currently using this clipper to cut hair at my place of work, I still love this clipper.

Conclusion

When I came back to the hair industry after three years, I never really knew how to use the lever on a clipper because I was used to the detachable blade clipper.  By using metal blades, I had to just change the metal blade every time during a fade. Having a lever on a clipper will truly make your fading abilities more controlled and concise. And if you do fades all day, having multiple clippers is essential so that you do not wear out any one clipper and to prevent from over heating.

Now, the title of this post is “The Best Clippers to Cut Hair,” the word ‘best’ is subjective. You have to find out what your preferences are by trying things out. I will say that these brands are the most popular in my opinion in regard to cutting hair professionally. There are other brands out there are and you are more than welcome to explore and share your experiences.

As I said earlier, brands like Wahl, Andis, Oster, and Babyliss are the ones that I am familiar with.  There are many other brands out there that you may find that are better or worse than these mentioned above.  You have to find out what your needs are in a clipper and start there.

 

There will be a video review about some of the clippers I wrote about to get a better idea of which clippers to choose from.

All Best,

Felixia

 

 

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About Felixia

MY HAIR STORY

 

Hello,
My name is Felixia Barias and I have been a licensed Cosmetologist since 2007. I have had about 8 years of haircutting experience since I received my license in 2007. Before attending beauty college, I had no idea what my future of working was going to look like and was fortunate enough to attend a trade school and academic ones.

I attended Sacramento State University and University of La Verne. My academic experience had led me to several human service jobs but realized later on that I wanted to continue to cut behind the chair.

I learned that being a Cosmetologist has given me an element of artistic expression that I have been missing during my other work experiences. I treat cutting hair like molding a clay because its like creating a sculpture for me. Now in my thirties, I have come to the conclusion that the hair industry is where I want to be.

TO SERVE OTHERS

I want to help people because I want to give value to others. I believe that giving value back to the community will enhance our well-being as individuals. I want to help individuals value their craft and their personal development as they continue their careers as Cosmetologists. Also, I want to help people because it makes me feel good.

Many times when students graduate from their beauty colleges, they are pretty much on their own when it comes to looking for work and buying their own equipment and supplies. Now that individuals have graduated from school, there is so much more to learn about hair outside of their respective beauty colleges.

In today’s world, there are many platforms that many people use to learn about their craft, but many times its just information overload without catering to the individual.

My Intention

The purpose of this website is to make choosing professional clippers easier for Cosmetologists The goal of the website is to create a space where I can share my experiences as a Cosmetologist and my experiences using and shopping for clippers. This site will also be a platform where other Cosmetologists can give feedback on their preferred clippers to work and improve their craft.

If you have questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

Kind regards,

Felixia Barias
cosmoclippers.com