Why Andis Fademaster & US Fade Blades Cuts Skin and Pull Hair

Difference between Surgical Blade and Bevelled Blade

With the popularity of the Andis Fade Masters, I’ve found a worrying trend for complaints from barbers who have had problems with it pulling on their client’s hair or even cutting the skin! This is because, unlike most of the Wahl and Andis clippers that you probably have in your collection, the Fade Master uses a surgical blade rather than a bevelled blade, and you need to be able to use this tool in a different way.

To help you get to grips with your surgical blades, Harry Pirate from the Pirate Barber Shop in Bromley has kindly given me a quick rundown of the difference between the two, as well as how you should be using the Andis Fade Masters and other similar clippers safely – without cutting your clients’ skin. He adds that these tips are also useful for the Wahl Senior; although that uses a combination blade rather than a surgical blade, it is very similar so these tips should come in handy for both tools.

The key difference that you need to be aware of is that the surgical blade is a lot sharper and a lot flatter, without the rounded safety edge that you’ll find on bevelled clippers. Harry tells me: “I use the surgical blade purely for afro hair, very tight to the skin cuts and very close skin fades. You must keep it dead close to the skin, no flicking. Honestly if you try and use it like you use a bevelled blade your client is going to get cut – they’re going to look like Freddy Krueger has had a right go at them when they walk out your shop and they won’t come back.”

At the Pirate Barber Shop, they’ve had clients coming in who have been cut up by other barbers and need their haircuts fixing! Obviously, no barber wants to give their clients this kind of poor service and, as Harry says, there’s really no excuse for it: you need to learn about the tools that you’re using and make sure you have all the necessary information before you start your cut. If you have a Fade Master on hand then take a look at the blade now and you’ll be able to tell how much sharper it is; no wonder, then, that barbers are finding that they can seriously hurt people. Harry recommend that barbers who aren’t experienced with these blades only use them for skin fades – and even then, you need to be careful!

Essentially, if you think of any surgically bladed tool you have as being akin to trimmers and use them in the same way – flat against the skin – then you should be able to give a better service, stop pulling on clients’ hair and, most importantly, avoid cutting the skin. Harry also points out that you don’t need to zero gap these blades: otherwise, as he puts it, you’ll be “literally just scalping people”.

That’s really all there is too it, so thankyou to Harry for providing this simple but incredibly informative guide to the difference between bevelled and surgical blades, and to all the barbers reading this please get to know your clippers so you can keep your clients safe and satisfied. Head over to my YouTube, Instagram and Facebook pages to find more great, educational barbering videos and articles so that you can make sure you’re a barber who really understands their tools.

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Barberevo’s Magazine: Barber Of The Month: Champ Talks About His Year

If there’s one barbershop that I consider my home away from home then it has to be Champ’s Barbers in the West End, and meeting up with owner Ian ‘Champ’ Hoyos to get a sense of what he’s been doing over the last 12 months is a highlight of my year. This year has been great for Ian, and he’s had the chance to go everywhere from New York to Columbia – with barbering destinations including Prague, Sweden, Scotland, Paris and Tenerife.

The UK Barber Battle

Rewind back to June and a lot of barbers across the country were getting psyched up for the UK Barber Battle, an event which Ian modelled on similar contests which take place far more frequently over in the States: “From working in America … I kinda saw how they’ve got one every month, it’s a big part of the culture out there, barber battles in each city.” Working with Vince, an American barber from Grey Matter, they were able to secure the O2 Arena – the perfect venue – and drum up a lot of support.

As Champ said, it can be a nerve-racking experience for barbers, since “you know that you’re going to be looked at and judged by a lot of barbers”. With Champ’s gift of the gab, though, no surprise that they were able to drum up a lot of interest and support. They also got backing from huge brands such as Belmont, Andis, Monster Headphones and American Crew, and called in the support of big name judges including Kevin Luchmun and Charlie from Toni & Guy.

Spontaneous Barbering Brawls

While the UK Barber Battle was a huge and exciting event, I also love the spirit behind some of Ian’s more spontaneous events – such as a mini battle that he put on at the Alan and Luke’s Barber Lab, something which he decided to do “there and then”, getting barbers to throw money in his hat to take part.

As well as the money, there’s some real prestige to be gained from competing against other barbers and winning. “It’s bragging rights. I went there, I took my tools and I took their money.”

Cutting in Columbia

This year, Champ was also invited to give a class and judge a huge barber battle over in Columbia – his home country. With 700 people spectating the event and around 15-20 barbers competing in each category this is pretty impressive in its own right, but I think it becomes even more amazing when you know how Champ came to be invited in the first place.

It all comes from a visit he made to Columbia the previous year when, as he puts it, he wanted to “give something back”. This mean taking to the streets and cutting hair for homeless people, people in prison, schoolchildren living in slums and anybody else he came across who could do with a cut!

“Poverty out there is a big thing. One of the places where I went to cut homeless people, there’s a bridge in the middle of the city and underneath, along the banks of the river there’s over 1,500 homeless people. It’s about going there, talking to people trying to put a smile on people’s faces. People though I was nuts. The police would walk up to me and ask what was going on, but once everyone saw that I was only giving back they supported me.”

He decided to head back, this time taking more barbers to different locations to make sure that more people could benefit. Lots of help was forthcoming, and on one trip to a school with 8 other barbers he also had a film crew with him. This led to Columbian daytime TV picking up the story and getting him live on air, so it’s certainly fair to say that Ian ‘Champ’ Hoyos is respected across the globe!

The Silver Screen

Another big moment in 2016 came when Ian was approached by Warner Brothers to be part of a private screening for Barbershop Three – featuring a pop up event where they cut hair for the media and press representatives. This is a great example of how barbering is getting more and more attention, and picking up a certain air of glamour! For Champ, it was particularly rewarding to see the film announced as “Presented to You by Warner Brothers and Champ’s Barbers” – although in his usual modest manner he tells me “I was just chuffed”.

This isn’t the only glamorous job that Ian’s been able to pick up either; he’s also been known to cut hair for Justin Timberlake and been approached by West End Theatres. Getting this sort of attention isn’t just a case of being an excellent barber, but also making sure that people know about your work. Ian shares some excellent advice about marketing and promoting your work:

“If you don’t promote yourself, no-one will. If you don’t get up off your chair and put your business cards in people’s hands, and let them know what you can do for them then you’ll never now. You’ve got to build that excitement … talk to people, explain what you can do for them, reel people in.”

It certainly seems to work for Ian and the rest of the barbers that he works with – walk past Champ’s Barbers and you’re almost guaranteed to see a client in every chair.

Watch the full video to hear even more of Ian’s barbering advice, and to hear about the brands that he’s championing as an ambassador. All that’s left for me to say is congratulations to Ian on another great year, and best of luck to all my readers for 2017! I’m really excited about the coming year, and have a lot of content planned for you so don’t forget to find me on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, and to follow Ian’s wise words of advice: Be polite, network, work hard and stay focussed.

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