If you’re a barber, it’s certain that you’ve encountered many different hair types on your career. It’s important, that as the stylist, you have enough knowledge on how to handle varying types of hair. This way, you’ll avoid damaging your customer’s hair and ending up with a bad review of your service. Some locks are healthier than others while some are not. Determining clients’ hair types and how to manage it is the key if you want to provide a reliable haircutting and styling service.
Human hair has microscopic layers where nutrients are locked in and where the damage also takes place. It has coatings of the protein called keratin with dozens of parts unimaginable to fit in such a minuscule strand.
You don’t have to be a hair expert and know all of it. What you have to know is how each hair type behaves during styling and how you can make your job easy when handling it.
On this post, I’ll discuss each of the most common hair types and what you should do (and avoid) during a barber service. Take note that we will focus here on men’s hair since we’re dealing with barber techniques and tips.
The Dry and Frizzy Hair
Dry hair can be easily damaged and pulled out if you’re not careful. You can easily spot dry hair if there are split ends and a dull appearance. It can be caused by overusing styling products, a medical condition, or unhealthy habits. In worst cases, it may come with dandruff due to the dryness of the scalp as well.
Avoid using strong styling products as much as possible. The gel that dries like a rock isn’t a good option since it has the tendency to dry up the scalp and hair even more. Shampooing and applying a moisturizer is a great first step but avoid blow drying it closely. This part of knowing hair types and how to manage it is crucial.
If the customer has long, dry hair, you may consider applying a leave-on formula first before starting to untangle the dry locks. Suggest to the customer that since the hair is dry, it will be best to sport a shorter haircut.
The Oily Hair
At some point, styling oily hair is much better than dealing with dry ones. The overproduction of sebum in the scalp causes this condition. This substance is responsible for shielding the hair follicles from direct harm including pollution and infections. However, hormonal changes or medical conditions may turn the hair to look like it hasn’t been washed for days. It can also be the culprit for dandruff.
When shampooing the oily hair of a customer, you may want to consider a gentle option like a baby shampoo or a dry shampoo. Cutting it short would be a practical option to minimize the unmanageability of the oily hair. You can also suggest to your customer to have their hair permed since this hairstyle doesn’t get too oily as the strands aren’t weighed down to the scalp.
However, not all face shape will look well on a permed hairstyle. That’s one thing you should know about hair types and how to manage it.
The Normal Hair
Not all customers would have a dry or oily hair. Some of them would also have a well-kept crown that has moderate shine and oil production. This is the most manageable hair type and you basically don’t have to think about a lot of restrictions. Still, be as gentle as you can with the products to avoid causing damage to the healthy hair. If the customer is asking for a curl, be easy with the temperature.
Shampooing will not be an issue but it’s best that you let the hair dry naturally or use a blow dryer with a cool air. This way, you can maintain the health of your customer’s tresses.
Any hairstyle and haircut can be done on a healthy hair but you should factor in the length and thickness before anything else. The face shape of the customer is another thing.
Curly hair is a challenging crown to style. You have to be careful not to alter how the curls normally behave. One of the common mistakes of barbers when styling curly hair is applying products containing silicone. This substance also covers the strands and doesn’t actually provide any nourishment to the curls. The result is short-term and it can also hinder the locking in of moisture to the core of the hair. Knowing hair types and how to manage it should also factor in the products you’re using.
Take note that highly textured hair, especially the curly ones, is most likely dry and frizzy. It’s important that you take another mile of using a conditioner to your customer’s hair before the actual styling. This will tame the fly-aways and make it more manageable.
Blow-dry the curly hair with a diffuser attachment so the force of the air isn’t directed to a single spot. It will prevent altering the natural curls of the hair.
Straight hair is probably the most common hair type in terms of appearance. Although it seems pretty easy to style, one mistake you should avoid is turning the hair into a flat and weighed down crown. No matter how healthy the straight hair is, making it look limp isn’t much of an expectation. Make sure to layer that hair and take extra care to avoid thinning it out too much.
If the customer wants to make their hair more manageable, you can suggest a shorter cut on the top. However, this will limit the styling they can do with it. If the straight hair you’re styling is thin, avoid using heavy cream that will weigh it down dramatically. Stick to creams that will give it a floating look.
The rule of thumb here is to avoid using any oil-based products once you know the hair types and how to manage it.
Wavy hair is actually a type of curly hair. But instead of having a tight curl look, it’s a bit loose and ends in an ‘S’-like style. You can treat wavy hair the same way with how you work on curls. Always use a diffuser attachment on your blow dryer to keep the natural texture intact. Also, you can use pomades or creams on wavy hair to maintain a certain level of volume.
Avoid brushing a curly and wavy hair. It will cause more frizz and entanglements which spell trouble on your styling. Be careful on combing it too to avoid unraveling the natural, loose ringlets. It’s best to scrunch it with your fingers as much as possible.
Men with wavy hair may usually opt for a longer haircut. Undercuts and side parts are excellent suggestions to your customers since you can make the most out of the volume on top.
A thick crown gives you more freedom for styling and cutting. Textured cuts look good on very thick locks and you can easily achieve a pompadour, quiff, or an intentional messy look. It’s important that you shampoo the thick hair of your customer using the right product. Choose one that has lots of nutrients in it to suit hair types and how to manage it.
When it comes to styling, waxes and putties will be a little lame in terms of hold. Thick hair needs more strength to retain the look of volume but without the unusual stickiness. Creams are the best choice here except if there’s a request for the classic pompadour that shimmers elegantly.
Take note that styling thick hair may also take a long time especially if the requested style is quite intricate. You should let the customer know about this to avoid any breath of impatience.
Fine hair or those with substantial volume but thin strands can be challenging to cut and style. It gets even more intricate if the fine hair is wavy or curly, dried or oily. Most of the time, fine hair will look good on classic slicked back styles but it may take a few skills to get it right. You can also do a longer cut but you have to watch out for pesky frizz that could be hard to tame. It will be excellent to suggest to your customer a curly look.
Just like how you know hair types and how to manage it, go easy on the chemical products. Choose less abrasive ones and make sure that you keep an eye on the temperature of your blow dryer. Avoid weighing down a fine hair or the scalp may reveal some nasty secrets.
The most challenging of them all is a thin hair in terms of strand and volume. One thing you have to be careful about thin hair is making it even thinner. Use the gentlest products you can find and navigate on the scalp with ease. When styling, you may want to use creams and waxes that will keep the hair floating. This way, you can hide the thinness while giving it a suave look.
If you have a customer that has bald spots, you can suggest that you cut it closer instead of doing a desperate comb-over. A buzzed cut if done well can make the hair look natural and the person younger.
As a bonus, you can apply a hair growing tonic, but always let the customer know first so you won’t wreak havoc on their scalp in case they are using another treatment.
There are guys who prefer long and rugged hairstyles. Make sure to use a wide-tooth comb when grooming a customer with long hair. Your enemy here is frizz so make sure to tame it first before proceeding with the cutting and styling if you want a more precise result. Remove the damaged part but not to the point that you’re going to compromise the length and volume.
Advise your customer to avoid using tight ponytails as it can pull the hair to the point of breakage. You can dry the long hair using a blow dryer but like what I said earlier, go easy on the temperature and use it in a safe distance from the scalp. It’s always part of knowing hair types and how to manage it.
It’s best to use matte styling products on long hair since the shine of pomades would give it a very unnatural shimmer. The gel is definitely out of the window. You wouldn’t want to give your customers a hard-rock hair, right?
So far, short hairstyles are the easiest to do among men. Cutting it short means removing the damage and having a small volume to work on. It could be limiting but if done right, you can make it look suave. You just have to be careful not to overdo the short haircut. Avoid blow drying short hair too much or you’re going to push it on the brink of dryness.
You can use almost any styling product on short hair as long as it suits the look. Avoid fighting off with the natural texture of the hair. It may look good at first but your customer will find it a pain to maintain if you go against their hair’s natural behavior.
Also, it’s important that you put the right balance on the crown since short hairstyles can be a bit dangerous to fail at. Always keep in mind these hair types and how to manage it.
Medium hairstyles are very creative to style since it gives you volume but not to the point of unmanageability. This is where you create pompadours, richer quiffs, and other stylish looks. But in case the hair is a bit wavy or full curly, you may want to start by applying some cream or wax to tame the frizz.
The crucial part here is picking the right cut that suits the face. Remember that moderate length hair will run across the crown and the sides. Failing to look at the bigger picture spells disaster.
Knowing these hair types and how to manage it is important if you want to level up the ante of your barbering service. Even if you’re not a professional barber, you can use this information to style your own tresses and avoiding it from experiencing further damage.