The Consultation: Questions You Should Ask Your Barber

There are some experiences in life for men that can be purely nerve wrecking. From visiting the doctor, to tying the knot with your loved one, or worse, sharing that first encounter with a new barber. Apprehension and uncertainty can go hand in hand with that barber visit. A first tinder date and barber visit share some similarities. New residents into a city are like fresh fish waiting to get caught and reeled in by the neighborhood shop. Sometimes it’s the price or the shop presentation that may spark some interest, enticing a guy to enter. Nonetheless, once that new barber has you in that vice grip of barber cords, your in his / her hands. But to help you avoid looking absolutely clueless, here's a quick check list of critical questions and thoughts you should consider before a towel, a clipper, or cap comes anywhere near you.

Clean Presentation

Sanitation is more than half of the work when looking for a quality haircut. A barber who doesn’t keep their station garbage-free demonstrates complete negligence. That should be an immediate red flag. A professioal barber should be very familiar with the various ways to clean their tools. This is a sign of carelessness that may be reflected in your haircut. Nothing's worse then a fresh haircut only to come home seeing razor and various hygienic reactions because he / she failed to properly clean their products.

Note: Be sure to observe if the barber washes and sanitizes their hands before beginning the cut and sanitizes the proper tools.

Credit: La Barberia Barber College

Training Facility and Licensing

The hairstyling industry has a tendency to keep some of its spotlight talent under the radar simply because some are not properly licensed by the state. It may be great that you’re in someone’s chair who can provide the dopest fade but it is lousy and lazy if they didn’t fulfill the proper requirements to be certified by a state to cut hair. Ask a simple question like, “So where did you study;” or “How did you get into the trade?” If the barber can’t answer, you may want to reconsider that next cut. I've personally seen barbershops, from high to low end, shut down because of improper licensing.

Payment Process

It’s 2017 so carrying pieces of plastic as payment for services is becoming more prevalent. It doesn’t hurt to ask if the shop or service accepts cards, or newer payment methods such as apps like Venmo, Paypal, Apple Pay, etc. These can provide for a super easy transaction process without having to run out for change or having to pay that dreaded ATM fee. Local barbers should be open to multiple methods of payment.

No Venmo bruh?

Portfolio Request

Gone are the days of the classic barber charts plastered on the walls. Barbers should be up to date with technology courtesy of Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook & any other visual portfolio. Browsing through a quick catalog of work creates another level of comfort as you take a seat in a new barber’s chair. So don’t be shy about asking to see their work before those clippers are turned on.

Scheduling

I’m sure a walk-in sounds pleasing and accommodating but the ability to schedule an appointment really makes a shop stand out. It speaks to a level of professionalism that ensures both the barber and client take the service seriously. A barber or stylist who is aware of the time will most likely be respectful of you and your time while they have you in the chair. This behavior includes not taking multiple breaks in between cuts, not picking up lunch while you wait, or – a personal favorite – not using the phone. So as a first timer, be sure to ask the shop if they are an appointment-based business. If you do it for a doctor visit, car repair service, or massage, why not hold your barber/stylist to the same level of accountability?


Watch Short Film "London Locks"

You ever wonder why people grow & maintain these things called dreadlocks? Is their a reason there's such a vast amount of people around the world who choose this path? And no, its because the musical ghost of Bob Marley led them to do it.

Since the beginning of time until now, dreadlocks have gone thru a string of evolutionary changes and currently represents a strong cultural identity to black people across the world. Film director Aaron Christian gives us a glimpse of the stories told by common dreadlock-stylers in London, UK. From breaking deep rooted stereotypes to infiltrating the fashion industry, these dreadlock-ers share how locking their hair has helped shaped their perspective into who they are & what people perceive them to be. We applaud you Aaron!

“It was the style and confidence that initially drew me in" - Aaron Christian, Film Director

London Locks from Aaron Christian on Vimeo.


First Look: Supreme + Andis Cordless Clipper

Barbering just kicked up a notch. If you know anything about Supreme it remains a timeless brand of street-luxury. It may not necessarily be a religion but it might as well be with its worldwide congregation of devout followers / buyers stretching ages 15-35 (estimated worth $40 mil). Supreme continues to push the envelope of development with collaborations over the years that still have customers salivating. This morning, my friend texted me this photo of the newest one with hair product powerhouse: Andis. Since I've been a barber, I've never seen or heard any type of collabs coming from Andis so this is huge. The original Envy Adjustable is a staple in the hair community and foundational tool for basic fading, designs etc. If hair business needed a new face lift, I think Supreme single handedly did that with this. At the moment, few details have been revealed on the company site. Stay tuned.

Will we see more brand collaborations like this in the hair industry? Is streetwear making its way to grooming? Hit us with your final thoughts.

Product description:

  • Cordless, adjustable lever (for fading)
  • Classic red / white color wave
  • Up to two hours of battery life.

 


Summer Madness: How Heat Directly Affects Our Hair

We know the summer time means burying the jackets and slapping on some SPF. Summer brings various levels of freedom but also seasonal challenges and bodily responsibilities. Being a hair stylist is not only about providing quality cuts but also about knowing how to increase the lifetime of my clients’ haircuts. I tell my clients, this means having to do the work when it comes to hair protection in the heat.

It’s simple and easy to justify that the warm season makes everything a bit more care-free but we don’t want to underestimate the power of the heat and the impact it has on our hair. The sun’s heat reigns supreme as one of Earth’s most dominant forces, so I advise having a defense plan for your hair when going up against mother nature.

The sun does 3 critical things when your hair is exposed to its power:

  1. It dehydrates and strips hair of moisture (leading to split ends and breakage).
  2. It hardens hair.
  3. It damages the scalp.

 

Unprotected overexposure to the sun can cause big problems for your scalp and hair, similar to that of hair conditions like dandruff and eczema; all ultimately leading to dry, brittle, damaged hair. The power of the sun’s rays has the ability to break down the inner molecular structure of your hair, thus making it difficult to grow naturally, causing hair to grow into a barb wire-like pattern. This means your hair and beards will have first class invitations to frizz and complete styling malfunction. It’s important to know your hair’s heat tolerance. Some hair types – coarser, thicker, wavy, or loose curly strands – can handle heat styling better than others, long term.

Thankfully, there’s a handful of products on the market which serve as heat protectants, including sprays, lotions, creams, and conditioners. Scotch Porter’s Conditioner is chemically designed to retain moisture and hydrate your scalp after it’s been shampooed or exposed to heat. You can mend hair damage by applying a conditioner which will restore moisture and serve as a first class flight to hydration. It’s your call, but I suggest, the next time you feel that ultra light beam on your scalp, follow up with the right products.

This article can also be viewed on Scotch Porter Journal


Funky Grooming Habits to Retire This Spring (Part 1)

We're moments away from kissing the winter cold goodbye. It's about that time to dump those wool sweater / jackets into storage and retrieve those windbreakers. But its in the midst of the seasonal wardrobe change, your grooming routine needs the same, if not MORE, love and attention. Remember when you promised yourself you'd do a better job this year? Well, here's your shot!

But before we welcome all the and exciting products to stock up on, I had to make sure your aware of the foolish habits that have to be recycled this spring. Out with the old.....and just STAY OUT!

Trim down the body hair

It was probably cute in the beginning. You had your date really getting amused twisting your body hair but now its about that time. The more body hair you keep on during this season is a welcome ticket to sweat and body odor especially if you're juggling an alleged athletic schedule. So be sure to trim in all places (including in your basement). Trust me, she'll thank you later. The Wahl Hero trimmer is one I keep in my personal arsenal and absolutely love! It's powerful and takes clean all types of air evenly for a valued price.

Be sure to tidy up that facial hair especially my bearded men. Don't wait until you've got Gandalf's Lord of the Rings beard for a touch up and simply show it some clipper attention every two weeks.

Wahl Hero Trimmer

 

Fingernail takedown

There's tons of slack that can be given to the elongated fingernails during the winter. We can't hid in the dark forever. Tis the season to pull out that nail clipper making sure to cut down at least once a week. If you won't, that day in the sun will reveal it all....all that dirt packed up in your nails. Don't be that person getting caught trying to remove the dirt from one nail using the other!

C'mon bruh...

Change your toothbrush

Although we can celebrate your toothbrush has been steady since 2015-16, we can also celebrate the amount of germs that have contaminated on the bristles. American Dental Association explains exactly why and also other helpful tips to extend the life of your toothbrush.

In some circumstances, you should replace your toothbrush even if the bristles are not visibly frayed. When you’ve been sick with a cold or flu, or have had a mouth or throat infection, sore throat, or a mouth sore, you should replace your toothbrush even if it’s new. Doing so will help prevent re-exposing yourself or others in your household to germs that could cause an illness.

Replace socks

I'd be lying if I said hole habit in the sock is tolerable and I haven't done it....because it's totally not. We set ourselves up for shame once your significant other takes sight of that. It showcases poor effort & showmanship in oneself. It also allows for possible fungal odors as sweat buildup increasing during the warm spring weather. Your winter socks have been thru an mild, odor war. It's time to give them a facelift with some new 100% cotton love of fresh socks. Don't be weary of popping your sock game with some color too. A little goes a long way!

 


Letter From the Editor

We've all heard it: If your dream doesn't scare you then you're not dreaming hard enough.

Reset and restart. That's something I wanted to do the most in 2016. It wasn't until an encounter in the barber chair while battling a slight dose of depression that it hit me: I wanted to make people especially men feel good exactly the same way a barber-stylists does. It was there that the Groom Guy journey began...

My love for the hair business grew stronger as I dived deeper into the history of the craft. It was like the more I went into the history of hair and men's style the more clarity I received for a bright future.  I knew I wanted to honestly contribute something rich to society and if I were able to properly do that through self esteem building, then haircutting was truly my way. If a person was able to reestablish their confidence, overcome of some of their worst fears, earn a promotion attributed by a styling decision, those were the precious moments that I wanted to be apart of.

Building this agency helped me understand the power of institutions like the barbershop: where any person can evolve into the person they envision.