A Bit of Background on Barbershops

Have you ever wondered a bit about the history of barbering and what it was like back in the day? Got a little information here to give you a bit of an idea on barbershops and barbers in the last century and a half.

The 1880s to the 1940s were the golden age for barbershops. During this time, men socialized in all-male hangouts, and barbershops rivaled saloons in popularity. Visiting the barbershop was a weekly, and sometimes daily habit. Men would stop in not only for a haircut and a shave, but also to fraternize with friends and talk for hours on end.

During this golden age, barbershops were classy places with often stunning surroundings. Marble counters were lined with colorful glass-blown tonic bottles. The barber chairs were elaborately carved from oak and walnut, and fitted with fine leather upholstery. Everything from the shaving mugs to the advertising signs were rendered with an artistic flourish. The best shops even had crystal chandeliers hanging from fresco painted ceilings.

Despite this level of luxury, barbershops were homey and inviting. A memorable and heavenly man aroma filled the air. The smell of cherry, wintergreen, apple, and butternut flavored pipe and tobacco smoke mixed with the scent of hair tonics, pomades, oils, and neck powders. These aromas became ingrained in the wood and every cranny of the shop. The moment a man stepped inside, he was enveloped in the warm and welcoming familiarity. He was immediately able to relax, and as soon as the hot lather hit his face, his cares would simply melt away.

Sadly, all golden ages end. The first blow to barbershops came in 1904 when Gillette began mass marketing the safety razor. Their advertisements touted the razor as more economical and convenient than visiting the barbershop. The use of safety razors caught on, and during World War I, the US government issued them along with straight razors to the troops. Having compared the two razors side by side, upon returning home from the front many soldiers discarded both the straight razor and their frequent trips to the barbershop. Going to the barber for a shave became a special occasion instead of a regular habit.

In the decades after WWI, several other factors combined to weaken the place of the barbershop in society. Companies like Sears began selling at-home haircutting kits, and mom began cutting the boy’s hair. Then the great depression came around, and people cut back on discretionary spending like barber shaves. The loss of male lives in the two World Wars and Korean wars also shrunk barbers’ pool of clients. Then in the 1960s Beatle-mania and the hippie culture seized the country, and hairstyles began to change. Men started to grow their hair longer and shaggier, and their visits to the barber became infrequent or non-existent.

Even when short hair came back into style during the 1980s, men did not return en masse to the barbershop. Instead, a new type of hairdresser siphoned off the barbers’ former customers: the unisex salon. Places like “SuperCuts” which were neither beauty salons nor barbershops, catered to both men and women. Many states’ licensing boards accelerated this trend by ceasing to issue barber licenses altogether and instead issuing a unisex “cosmetologist” license to all those seeking to enter the hair cutting profession.

Nowadays, barbershops are becoming a homely place once again, and there are reasons to visit the barbershop once more.

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Finding the Perfect Cut

You’re approaching your graduation from high school, or you are newly graduated, even. You’ve decided you want to be a barber, and done all the research on the career field. Now comes deciding what to do for school. Choosing a barber school involves making an educational decision that will prepare the student for a successful career. The best school will provide a good foundation for the future by bringing a passion for barbering to life and fueling it with the proper education. Barbers mainly cut men’s hair, but some have a client base that includes women and children. Barbers can either work in a barber shop or in their own salon, and the average barber earns between $15,000 and $30,000 US Dollars (USD) per year.

The two main focuses of barber school are to provide the job skills necessary to succeed in the barbering industry and to prepare the students for tests and licenses. A barber school will typically focus on one of these two goals. To provide necessary job skills, a barbering program can either enhance basic skills already known by students or begin from scratch. In schools that are designed to prepare students for tests and licenses, the curriculum is catered toward the regulations for passing the state board examination, which will allow the student to obtain a license.

Before a student chooses a barber school, he or she should consider individual goals and basic knowledge of the field. A barber student should weigh how much theory he or she knows with how much practice will be needed. When looking at barber schools, each school’s curriculum and practical training methods should be explored. The laws of the state where the barber intends to work should be understood because most states require a cosmetology license to become a barber, but some grant a specific barbering license.

Additional factors to consider when choosing a barber school include whether or not the school is accredited by professional barber organizations, how closely the school fits the student’s background, how much of the student’s current knowledge in the field will be put to use, whether or not credits will transfer if the student has already had some related education, how rigid or flexible the curriculum is and how much fieldwork will be part of the program. Other factors involved in the decision include location, cost and times that classes are offered. All of these things must be juggled with the student’s current lifestyle and commitments. Most barber school programs range from nine to 24 months and cost between $6,500 and $10,000 USD per year.

Barber schools teach students how to cut and style hair, treat hair with chemicals, shave and trim facial hair, apply hair and scalp treatments, recognize skin diseases, use barbering instruments, follow sanitary procedures and learn the sciences of chemistry, anatomy and physiology. After the education is completed, a barber student is required to take a written and sometimes oral examination. Most states require barbers to take continuing education hours for additional training each year.

Check out more of our articles related to Barber School!

Cons to Becoming a Barber

So you’ve decided you want to become a barber, huh? In the previous article, we went over some of the pros of becoming a barber and getting in to hair cutting. Now, with every pro, there comes a con. While the pros make the job sound super awesome, there are some cons to take in to consideration. This will help you see the whole picture and decide if barbering is really the end goal for you.

First off, we have to talk about the liability. When becoming a barber, you are liable for every thing going on with your client’s hair. That includes cut, scraps, bruises, and even patches. You’re responsible for your own work, and anything you do to your client’s hair is on you, regardless of what may happen. Take extra care when working with clients, and this should not be a major issue.

Next, we’re going to talk about the stability of the job. In the previous article, we talked about “being your own boss” and basically not having to worry about being unemployed. Now, while that was very true, there is no such thing as a 100% guarantee. With being a barber, there stiff competition for high-end jobs. This means there are a lot of barbers in the industry and it’s hard to keep a well-balanced clientele because you may never know who could take your next client.

Workdays can also be a con. Once again, in the previous article we talked about how a barber can make his or her own hours. Although a barber may choose how long he or she may work, his or her busiest days are going to be the weekends and holidays, which are days usually people really don’t want to work. Most people tend to get their haircut around these times so barbers have to work on holidays and weekends which cuts into their free time. If you want a job where you don’t have to work holidays or weekends, well, this career can also be for you, just don’t expect to make much money if you don’t work during peak periods.

Physical health is also very important if you are considering becoming a barber, trust me. Barbers spend almost 100% of their time on their feet, which can be damaging to their back and legs. This can actually affect them in the long run and cause their careers to be shortened, which is obviously devastating if you can no longer do what you love! Even if they feel as if they can’t cut another head, they still have to keep the job going. So you will want to make sure you are cut out for a physically straining job such as being a barber. There are also ways to help alleviate any damage that could be caused from the constant standing. Good shoes, and a proper floor mat that acts as a cushion.

So there you go, these are some cons of becoming a barber. Do you feel up to the challenge to face these? Then you may be cut out for barbering, pun may or may not have been intended.

Check out Arkansas College of Barbering and Hair Design for more information!

Pros to Becoming a Barber

So you’re deciding on a job you want to make a career out of, and you feel you know a thing or two about hair. What now? You decide you want to become a barber, but do you know all the pros and cons just so you are 100% sure? I’m going to discuss here the different pros and cons of becoming a barber.

First and foremost, one of the biggest pros to being a barber is being self-employed. Being a barber means you’re your own boss, so most likely you’ll never be out of a job. You can own your own shop, or you can rent out a chair at a local barbershop. Granted, working in someone else’s shop may not be ideal for you if you crave complete freedom, but it helps build experience! Also, shops are always looking for new talent.

A barber’s income is actually a decent income. Depending on how good the barber can cut, they can make great money. The better the barber’s skills, the more he or she can charge for their service. Not only do skills define their income, but also location. Smart barbers setup shop in locations were they know they can make the most money with the type of haircuts they know how to do, and the type of hair they know how to cut. In 2011, the annual income of a barber was $28,050. The top ten percent of the barber make an annual income of $46,000. The bottom ten percent had an annual income of around $17,000. The sky is the limit, and your income will also be reflected by the effort you put in to your career, which leads in to my next point.

Becoming a barber comes with a lot of freedom, especially when it comes to working hours. A barber may choose his own time to go and leave the shop whenever he or she wants to. On the other hand, if you have a lot of clients, I’m sure they wouldn’t leave and miss out on all that money. Also, you get vacation days whenever you want. Basically, as stated before, you are your own boss! The only thing you have to do is pay your booth rent, and if you own your own shop, all you have to do is pay rent for the business! A lot of jobs limit employees to how many hours they can work, and how much money they can make. Being a barber, you can work however long as you want to make as much money as you want; it’s completely on you and your work ethic.

In the barbering industry, they don’t require you to wear any special suit or shirt, only a barber jacket. This jacket can be designed any way you want. You have the freedom to wear anything you want, as long as it is presentable and professional.

Becoming a barber allows you to assist someone in feeling good about themselves, which builds their self-esteem. You may never know, that haircut might help someone in the long run, like a job or even an important date.

These are some of the pros of being a barber, in the next article, we’ll discuss some of the cons of being a barber.

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Scalp Care for Shaved Heads

Maintaining a great looking bald head and caring for a shaved head takes a bit of work. Preventing razor burn and ingrown hairs and keeping the sun from wreaking havoc on your scalp are essential. Follow these essential tips for keeping that dome looking smooth!

First tip, you aren’t going to want to throw out that shampoo! Huh?  Shampoo a bald head?  Yes! A good shampoo is just as good for a shaved head as it is for a full head of hair.  Shampooing, even a bald head, can remove trapped dirt and oils and promote a healthier scalp.  The massaging action of performing the shampoo increases circulation and blood flow to the scalp, so a good shampoo is still important.  Shampoo your bald head before shaving to make the shaving experience easier.

Next tip I’m going to give you is on shaving it. The first step in maintaining your bald head is to use proper shaving technique. Follow my professional advice for shaving your head.  You’ll want to shave your head, if possible, at the end of a shower when the hair is softened and easier to shave.  Always use a high quality shaving cream. Having a shower mirror is handy so you can see what you are doing.  Shave with the grain first, normally down on the sides and back and from back to front on top.  If the shave looks and feels good after the first pass stop!  Shaving against the gran can often cause ingrown hairs and razor burn.

As I mentioned above, massaging the scalp can promote circulation and healthy blood flow.  Plus, a scalp massage, especially on a bald head, can feel amazing as my friends with shaved heads can attest to! If you have a willing partner, trade out massages or you can perform a scalp massage on yourself.  Some professional massage therapists will also offer this service as well.

You’re going to want to moisturize! Daily shaving and exposure to the sun can leave your scalp dry and flaky. Remember to use a good moisturizer on your scalp every morning.  Moisturizing is the one step most men forget after shaving, but it is an important step in keeping your skin looking young and healthy.

Time for some protection for that hairless dome! The scalp is even more susceptible to damage from the sun than other parts of the body. Always use a good sunscreen on your scalp before prolonged sun exposure. Many companies make high quality moisturizers with built-in sunscreen, so check the skin care aisle of your drug store.  If you do spend a great deal of time in the sun, I recommend purchasing a great hat and putting it to good use.

These are but a few tips for keeping your bald head in great shape. For more scalp care advice, read one of the previous blogs on maintaining your hair and keeping the scalp healthy as well! Head shaving is such a common practice these days, there are even grooming products for shaved heads readily available, so if you’re going to do it, do it right!

Dreading Dreads? No Problem!

Did you decide to take on the task of dreading your hair? Great! Having dreads is a fairly low maintenance style and doesn’t require a ton of care to maintain. However, this does not mean that dreads are completely carefree! There are still things you will need to do to maintain them and keep your hair looking healthy. Here are a few tips for maintaining your locs and keeping them healthy and looking great!

You’re still going to want to protect your hair at night. When you no longer have free flowing tresses, cotton from your bedding is no longer a worry when it comes to breaking off your hair. Even though breakage at least from this, is no longer a concern you do have something else to worry about from this. That is going to be the dreaded buildup! Lint is attracted to your hair like a magnet, which is why you still want to wear a scarf to protect your hair or you will want to use satin or silk bedding.

Overtime getting lint out of your hair will become a chore if you continuously sleep without your hair being protected. You may be able to pick some out, but in some cases it is lodged pretty deep into your locs, being almost impossible for you to get out. Some people opt for dying their hair at this point to cover up the white linty spots, but who wants to walk around with lint in their hair?

Let your roots breathe sometimes! Do you really love neat looking dreadlocks? Well, you can still maintain a neat look, but every once in a while you should give your roots a break. When you constantly twist your roots as tight as you can you are putting extreme tension on your locs, and that is no good. Eventually after continuously putting this amount of tension on your locs some of them may snap off right in your hands. Your edges are especially sensitive and prone to this so just be careful, you don’t want your hairline to lean back.

Locs like to get some moisture, you know. You still should give your hair the moisture it craves, but be careful in the products that you choose to avoid buildup. When the seasons change, things can get particularly dry so keeping your hair moist is not a bad idea. Heavy waxes and creams are hard to get out of locs, so opting for light natural oils and jellies is probably the best way to go.

Lastly, dreadlocks thrive in a clean environment. If you are hearing otherwise, you shouldn’t take advice from anyone who is saying this. When you are first starting locs, water actually helps to loc your hair up faster. It aids in kinking up your hair for hold, and most importantly it keeps it CLEAN. Once you are fully locked continue to wash your hair on a regular basis. Cleansing is a part of any healthy hair care routine.

Here’s Some Random Hair Facts

If you think you know everything there is to know about your hair, think again. You may know how to style it or whether you want to go for that awesome new haircut at your next barber or salon appointment, but there’s a lot of weird stuff going on up there that we rarely give a second thought. Check out these 20 weird hair facts that may just blow your mind, or at least make you rethink the extent of your hair knowledge.

  1. Hair is made up mostly of keratin, the same protein animals’ horns, hooves, claws, feathers, and beaks are made of.
  2. When wet, a healthy strand of hair can stretch an additional 30% of its original length. Hence why when you get a haircut, your hair can appear shorter than you intended, since it is now dry.
  3. Hair grows slightly faster in warm weather, because heat stimulates circulation and encourages hair growth. So, get that trim more often during the summer months!
  4. All hair is dead, except for the hair that’s still inside the epidermis of your scalp.
  5. Hair contains information about everything that has ever been in your bloodstream, including drugs, and is one of the most commonly used types of forensic evidence.
  6. The only thing about you that can’t be identified by your hair is your gender. That’s right, men’s hair and women’s hair are identical in structure.
  7. Black is the most common hair color. Red is the rarest and only exists in about 1 percent of the world’s population, with blonde hair found in 2 percent.
  8. As soon as a hair is plucked from its follicle, a new one begins to grow.
  9. Hair is 50 percent carbon, 21 percent oxygen, 17 percent nitrogen, 6 percent hydrogen, and 5 percent sulphur.
  10. Hair can grow anywhere on the human body with the exception of the palms of hands, soles of feet, eyelids, lips, and mucous membranes. That means don’t freak out about the hair growing on your nose.
  11. Goosebumps from cold or fear are the result of hair follicles contracting, causing the hair and surrounding skin to bunch up.
  12. The average number of hair strands varies by natural color, with blondes having the most and redheads having the fewest.
  13. The scientific term for split ends is “trichoptilosis.”
  14. Aside from bone marrow, hair is the fastest growing tissue in the body.
  15. Balding only begins to become visible once you’ve lost over 50 percent of the hairs from your scalp.
  16. At any given time, 90 percent of the hairs in your scalp are growing, while the other 10 percent are resting.
  17. A single hair has a lifespan of about five years.
  18. Hair acts as a layer of thermally insulating protection for our heads, which lack the insulation that fat provides for the rest of our bodies.
  19. Eighty percent of Americans wash their hair twice a day.
  20. Each strand of hair can support up to 100 grams in weight. Multiply that by the average 100,000 to 150,000 strands on each head, and your entire head of hair could support the weight equivalent to two elephants.

Hope these random facts have enlightened you about the hair on your head, and now you may just understand a little more about it!

To Look Young Again

You’re not as young as you used to be, and your outward appearance is definitely changing. There are ways, however, to keep you looking and feeling youthful!

For starters, keep your style neat. That mop-top from your younger days may not work anymore. If you’re going bald, you have options. You can spend the cash in hopes of restoring your hair, trim it super short, or shave your head clean. A ponytail, especially if you’re balding, will make you look older, not hipper. If you want to cover your grays, choose a color close to your natural shade that way it doesn’t look like you got some crazy dye-job.

Nothing says “old man” like crazy eyebrows, ear hair, and a bushy back. Have your barber tame your brows, ears, and nose hair. You can also do it yourself with at-home trimmers. Keep your back and chest fur from peeking out of the top of your shirt by shaving, waxing, using a hair removal cream, or through laser treatments.

Most of the time, a closely shaved man looks younger than a guy with a beard and mustache. That said, there are no rules, just keep it well groomed. If you decide it’s time to cover your gray, use a dye that’s meant for men’s facial hair. A solid beard tone will look fake, keep the fade going so it doesn’t look like you just spray-painted your face.

To keep your skin from adding years to your looks, wear sunscreen, moisturizer, and lip balm daily. Retinoid can help you slough off old skin cells. You can find them in many over-the-counter products or get a stronger version by prescription from a dermatologist. They also stop collagen, the stuff that keeps your skin stretchy, from breaking down. This gives you a more vibrant, youthful look.

If you want to look good on the outside, you got to take care of the inside. You can’t act like you did in your 20s. You know the rules: Get plenty of rest, eat right, drink water, don’t smoke, leave the booze at the bar, and try to get some exercise most days. It can be a bit of an adjustment, but once you get on a solid routine it will be easy to keep this up.

A bright smile can make you look, and feel, like a million bucks. Guys who brush and floss regularly can up the wattage with whitening toothpaste. At-home bleaching strips or trays also work. You can also go to the dentist for a treatment. For a big change, if your choppers are stained, damaged, or crooked, ask about veneers. These porcelain shells cover the front side of your teeth.

Stock your closet with a few quality pieces like a good suit, a leather jacket, and dark-wash classic-fit jeans. Add some trendy items each season, but don’t hang onto them after everyone else has moved on. If you can afford it, have your clothes tailored for perfect fit, tailored clothing can really make a person look younger. Accessories are OK, but don’t overdo it with the bling.

 

Beard Life – Part 1

While growing a beard is extremely easy, many  give up their efforts in frustration by falling into the trap of common mistakes and abandoning their newly-started beards too quickly. Growing a beard requires a commitment. The experience can even be a test of character as well as a surprising process of self-discovery. Do you have what it takes? In this two-part article on beard growing, we will discuss the process in detail!

Why grow a beard? Logically, the question ought to be: Why NOT grow a beard? But shaving is the norm and letting the beard grow is the exception. So, it may require a bit of courage to take the decision to grow a beard. Once that decision is taken, it is easily reversed upon second thought. And another would-be beard disappears. When you see a man with a full-grown beard, you know he made the decision to be bearded and he had the determination to stick with it.

Whether or not you should grow a beard depends in large part on genetics. Beard growth is genetically determined and there is not much anyone can do other than to accept what they’ve been given. If you have developed enough facial hair to allow you to grow a beard, then you owe it to yourself to grow it out at least once during your lifetime — even if only as an experiment. You may be so pleased with the results, even unexpectedly so, that you decide to keep the beard permanently. With myself, I grew a beard out several years ago, and haven’t gone back to baby-face since!

Now, the decision to grow, and subsequently keep, your beard is yours. The only opinion that really matters is yours. So, go for it! If you like it, keep it. If not, then shave it off. At the very least you will have given it a try and you’ll know what it was like to grow your beard. Make a commitment to grow your beard and stick with it. This is most important!

 

Consider starting your beard while on vacation. You’ll be more relaxed about it while away from your job. Don’t be overly concerned about other people’s potential reactions to your new beard. If you have a good beard, most people will probably react favorably, possibly much more favorably than you would have ever anticipated. So relax and enjoy the experience!

When starting to let your beard grow, just stop shaving, completely. Do not shave at all for at least the first four weeks of growth. One of the most common errors is to attempt to start shaping or sculpting the beard too early in the process. WHY let your beard grow for four weeks before you start to shape it — even if you are just growing a goatee? If you don’t wait, you might cut off more than you really wanted. Also, you might not have thought about going for the striking effect of an oversized goatee. You can always trim it down to a smaller size later.

After four weeks, you can start sculpting your beard. Usually, you’ll want to define a “neck line” along the bottom of your beard around the neck. This is probably best done by a professional barber or stylist. The hard part may be finding one who has a lot of experience in beard styling.

Generally the “cheek line”, the upper limit of the beard on the cheeks, is best left natural. Some men butcher otherwise excellent beards by shaving the cheeks into strange shapes. Unless your beard appears to be starting just below your eyes, you probably are better off not shaving or sculpting the beard on your cheeks!

Stay tuned for part 2!

 

 

 

Beard Life – Part 2

So did you become one of those people who accidentally messes up your lines? Has your beard gotten really itchy? Are you at your wits end with your beard???

If you do accidentally mess up your lines, don’t worry! There are a few ways to deal with this, the most obvious being start over. Who really wants to start over on their beard though?! So, if you do mess up, we now play the waiting game. You have what the pros call the all-in method, and the iterative method. Basically, both methods require you to let the beard hair grow back which will in turn allow you to re-trim to your desired style. You will want to give the new growth some time to grow out so you can visualize where you want the new cheek or neck line. With the all-in method, you’ll want to allow the new growth to go for at least a couple weeks. You may look a bit scraggly, but it’s all worth it! With the iterative method, you can let it go for a couple days, and then slowly shape as time goes on. It takes a bit longer to get the beard shaped how you want, but you look less rough during the process.

Don’t let itching deter you! If you experience itching, keep your skin clean by daily shampooing (with a gentle shampoo) and optionally using a conditioner. Your skin will eventually adjust to the new situation. Itching should be only a temporary phase. If you happen to need more relief, try applying some baby oil or moisturizing lotion to the areas that are itching. That should help to soothe your skin while you go through the transition. There are also beard oils and balms you can buy that help alleviate the itching by keeping the skin under your beard moisturized. Your beard will also look real slick and smooth, so that’s a bonus!

Don’t give up! Set a target date. For example, give yourself a minimum of six weeks’ growth before deciding to abandon your beard-growing effort. Commit to not shaving before that six weeks is up. When you’ve reached the six weeks date, then you can decide whether you want to continue with the beard or get rid of it.

Invest in a beard trimmer and learn how to use it. Usually you should shampoo your beard with the same shampoo you already use for your head. Some may prefer to wash their beards with soap instead. You could try out soap and shampoo to see which you like best. Pat your beard gently dry with a towel. Blow drying is not usually necessary and is probably not recommended anyway.

If you choose to get rid of your new beard, the easiest way to dispose of it is to use a beard trimmer or other hair clippers. Use the trimmer or clippers to trim away as much hair as possible. Follow that with a regular shave. Be extra careful cause your skin may or may not have become more sensitive due to the beard growing process. Make sure to follow safe shaving procedures and enjoy being back to your baby face!