How to prolong the life of your lithium clipper batteries
Sometimes it seems like while the price of clippers keeps rising, the battery life only gets shorter and shorter. This can be a frustrating challenge for any barber – but it’s also a challenge that can be easily overcome once you know a couple of simple tips that will give you maximum performance from your new clippers.
Don’t forget, these facts apply to lithium batteries – so if you’re not sure how your clipper is powered then double check to make sure that they apply to you.
Fact 1 – Give your clipper five times the battery life
Never allow the battery to run down all the way to zero (or virtually zero.) Instead, you should aim to plug your clipper into the charger as soon as it reaches 70% battery. This will give the clipper five times the battery length when compared to charging carelessly or randomly.
Fact 2 – Get more run time from your fully-charged clipper
Keep your clippers cool: exposure to excessive heat is known to reduce the run time of the lithium battery. This is because the chemical reaction of a battery running low will occur far more quickly if the tool is also exposed to heat. So, ideally, please store your clippers away from direct sunlight or radiators in a nice cool spot.
If you found this helpful, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, as that’s where you’ll find more how to tips to help you get the most from your clippers. You’ll also find me as @LarrytheBarberMan on Instagram and Facebook – follow me and get in touch to let me know what tips you’d like to see next!
Earning a spot on Wahl’s Education and Artistic Team is a great achievement for any barber, so when Benny Machado saw the opportunity to win his spot by taking part in their online barber battle, he knew he had to give it a shot:
“I had been cutting hair for seventeen years and I saw this as a perfect opportunity to not only use my experience but to try and get into educating. It’s something I’ve always looked forward to in my career.”
The outcome? Benny emerged victorious from the contest – third time lucky, as he’d managed to scoop second place in two previous battles before this one. So how did it all work?
Well, Benny actually spotted the competition on Instagram, where Wahl were calling for barbers to show off their skills by submitting three videos: one fade, one pompadour and one creative cut. Benny explains how he managed to create the shots – from choosing the model to getting the design just right:
“Fades and pompadours are very common but there weren’t too many willing models for the creative cut I wanted to achieve. I noticed a lady while I was eating at a restaurant and managed to convince her to model for me. I really wanted to do something different. I looked to Google for inspiration and noticed some flowers, hibiscus, in fact. I incorporated that design onto her hair and my first attempt worked out!
“We recorded the videos with such anticipation but the filming, editing and having to travel for work in the shop in between was really tough but it paid off. I was exhausted but it paid off. Choose your canvas, create the right design on the right model. Preparation is key and let your personality shine through. The clippers do the work, the metal is always stronger than hair. Let the tools do their job.”
The one part of the process that Benny couldn’t prepare for was actually finding out that he had won! The Wahl Education and Artistic Team sent Rick Morin (Flawless Barbershop) along to Benny’s shop – Executive Barber – under the pretence of wanting an out-of-hours haircut. When he arrived, though, he had a full camera team by his side. “I had no idea, I really just thought I was working late to cut a client for $100!”
So how has life changed for Benny since winning this prestigious award? Life has certainly got busier, and now he’s rushed off his feet responding to all of the emails and social media messages from people who want to benefit from a little of his expertise. Alongside this, there’s the new educational side to his career, and he has plans to keep growing into his new role. After all, as he tells us, it’s challenging yourself that keeps your work fresh:
“I chose to take part in order to challenge myself. I was completely out of my comfort zone and that is what makes you grow. That pushes you to be better. It was very challenging. I was nervous making my stage debut but if we don’t face our fears, we can’t grow. Ultimately that’s what I’m doing here, pushing myself. It’s scary but exciting and without that feeling people get complacent.”
The other big change is the introduction of exclusively Wahl tools into his shop. ““I had other brands in the shop before I won the contest but now we are solely Wahl. I don’t think I’ll ever buy another set of clippers. I look for power, reliability and speed for the haircut I want to execute.” And is there one clipper that stands out above the rest? “If I want to snip a lot of hair in one shot, I go for Wahl’s Legend clipper. I mostly use that alongside the Wahl Detailer trimmer. With these two tools I can create anything.”
But Benny’s success hasn’t been all about boosting his own profile – he also wants to see other barbers challenge themselves and raise their game. One way of doing so is to join Wahl’s new Wahl Professional Ambassador Program. It gives you early access to new products, news and special deals, as well as useful industry insights. We also recommend looking for @mr_executive_barber on Instagram and Facebook if you want to follow Benny’s work and see what one Virginia barber can create with a pair of Wahl clippers.
“My dad bought me my very first pair of clippers when I was a teenager. They were Wahl and it led me to where I am now. Dad always wanted me to be a barber. Now, as a Wahl educator, I want to grow and become the best I can be.”
Today I’m bringing you an interview with one of the superstars of British barbering, and a man who needs no introduction: Adee Phelan. From starring on TV Show The Salon, to cutting David Beckham’s most infamous haircut, Adee has certainly left his mark on the industry.
I visited his SKNHEAD shoot in March to hear his story. So, Adee, what are we doing today?
“It’s my new luxury men’s range, called SKNHEAD. The concept came about 17 years ago, and I’ve waited and waited – I know it seems a long time – but if you’re bringing out a new range it needs to have products with unique selling points. Products that haven’t been done before.
“One of the products is actually called the game changer, and it’s a product that can be used as a moisturiser on your face and body, or as a hair styling product. The concept came about many, many years ago – when I had hair, believe it or not. I went to the Men’s British Hairdresser of the year awards, and I used to use this stuff called Coconut Butter: I’d put it all over my body and then run it through my hair. So, I wondered if it was possible to create a product that was light enough as a moisturiser but heavy enough to be a hair product.”
Achieving this has taken years of preparation and perfection: I’m sure that it’s something a lot of you will be keen to try out. The full range will include sea salt sprays, serums, clays, pomades… everything that you might expect from a unique luxury range.
On the day that I catch up with Adee he’s excited to be shooting the content that will surround the launch of his new brand. This includes behind the scenes footage and a huge range of different hairdressing looks on a diverse group of models.
“The thing about the modern barbering world is that you need to be able to do more than a fade. To make yourself an accomplished hairdresser or barber, you really need to know the fundamentals of hair cutting. Some of these young cats I see now dropping in these fades are amazing – but there’s always still a lot of foundation that needs to be done.
“I’ve tried to bring out a range of fundamentally barbering products that can also drop into the hairdressing world”.
So, for younger barbers who don’t know your story, you started back in 1999 – what stirred you, what motivated you to get into hairdressing?
“Long story short, I moved from Manchester to Southend-on-Sea and ended up not doing so well: I was basically sleeping rough for about 4 months. Then I got introduced to a really cool hairdresser called Lee Stafford, and I ended up designing his salon, The House That Hair Built.
“I went with Lee to the Men’s British Hairdresser’s of the Year awards in 1999 where he won British Hairdresser of the Year. On the way back in the car he said I’m going to get you a pair of scissors, teach you to cut hair and in a couple of years’ time you’ll be on the stage. Two years to the day, I was picking up that same award.”
Adee describes it as a sort of “rough boot camp”, where there was no room for mistakes – if he messed up a haircut then his mentors made sure he knew about it. But this – alongside the professional courses he took any time he had the cash – gave him the solid skills he needed to start experimenting further.
“There are a thousand ways of designing a house, but there’s only one way of building it: good foundations. I learnt the art of good foundations. And then I won Men’s British Hairdresser of the Year and my life changed. 9-months later I had the opportunity to work with David Beckham.”
While Adee’s career has clearly been built on his own hard work and talent, I think it’s fair to say that creating that haircut for David Beckham – the World Cup mohawk which everybody reading this should be familiar with – helped him push his career to the next level.
“It was everywhere. That haircut just became the most iconic haircut of the past 20 years. And then I had the opportunity to win all these awards and from there on it was just like I had the wind in my sails.”
And that wind took Adee to the heights of a hairdressing/barbering career: he’s had the opportunity to work on TV shows, to cut hair for many different celebrity clients, and to really build a personal brand within the industry. But aside from all this hairdressing glory, I’m also interested in his role as an educator.
Prior to you doing the TV shows and the celebrity style consulting, you were actually a prolific educator. It was said that, at one show, you mad 36 appearances: tell us about that.
“I got right into the helm of education. I think I did about 1500 seminars in six years. I was at Salon International working for five different brands: I hold the record, I did 39 shows in 3 days, haircuts to music. And I took that concept to America and it was brilliant: I wanted to bring something fresh to it; when you get to that level of talent you can’t be telling people how to suck eggs.
“BaByliss supported me the whole way, and then other brands took on this new approach of haircutting. Lots of technique, lots of foundation but doing it in this very freehand, visual, quick way.”
The big brands were happy to get behind Adee’s new way of doing things – BaByliss even went ahead and gave him a range of electrical goods. Barbers reading this are sure to be envious, and in many ways he has achieved the barbering dream. But there have also been some drawbacks:
“Business started to take over. I was watching these cool cats half my age on stage and thinking I need to get back to the drawing board: these guys are making me look silly here. So for the past few years I’ve just been working on new cuts, new techniques and I’m about to get back on the road and go back to where it all started.”
So, Larry the Barberman goes out to all of the barbering community. Will SKNHEAD products be a range that those barbers can actually retail?
“Yes. It will go online and go into shops like Selfridges, but then the quality needs to be at a very high level, so it can go into barbershops. That’s the idea.”
This product has already launched and is available for you to buy: head to this link https://www.sknhead.com/.
Because you started nearly 20 years ago, I also want to hear about how you think barbering has changed from where it was then to where it is now.
“If we’d had the technology that we have now: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. I used to have to do interviews and then wait 6 weeks for it to come out. Some of the models I’m using today are Instagram models, cool cats – they PR themselves, they manage themselves. It’s kind of insane: you do a haircut, it’s global within minutes. So that’s the difference.
“The downside to this technology is that everyone wants to be famous without putting the work in. They want instant success. I just think that they have all the weapons now to be very successful. You can pay a famous person to do a post for you and you’re kind of out there. But at the same time, it can destroy your career: you have to police your brand.”
You spoke about an artistic team. Maybe you can tell me about some of the artistic team that you have here today?
“Barber wise I’ve got Tariq Howes and Aaron Dorn. I’ve cot Jez Wilcox who is creative director. We’ve got three video photographers, two photographers, two make-up artists… so it’s a big shoot, trying to get a lot of stuff in.
“Besides that, I’ve been working on two or three new clipper techniques. New section patterns, new haircuts that are going to be taken out on the road. I want to go back to the days of being able to execute a beautiful, beautiful haircut in six or seven minutes.”
And what could be improved in modern barbering?
“I think what a lot of barbers need to learn is the scissor work. You need to be able to work from the baseline to the top of the head. I think barbering will always be in fashion, but the longer thing is going to come back. Barbers these days have mastered the art of fading, now they need to master the art of haircutting. What happens in 12 months when the fade goes slightly out of fashion and longer hair starts coming back in?
“There’s great dudes out there though. Josh Lamonica: lovely guy, technically gifted, wonderful speaker -can do a great fade but can also do a great haircut. And you’ve got Danny Robinson, a new kid on the block, I mentioned Tariq Howes earlier. Kye Wilson, Dale Watkins, my teacher from back in the day. There are so many talented guys out there. It’s all about inspiring the younger generation though isn’t it.
Finally, then, what are your words of advice for that next generation?
“Technique, technique, technique. Education, education, education. Watch, watch, learn, learn. Mouth shut, eyes open. Be obsessed, be obsessed, be obsessed. Training videos, salon international. Be obsessed. Because to be at the top you have to be obsessed with technique and being at the top of your game. And then it’s a little bit of luck.”
I’m quite excited to hear that Adee is going to be spending some more time getting stuck into cutting hair, and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with. Don’t forget to check out https://www.sknhead.com/ to hear more about the products that are available; while you’re there, head to Instagram and YouTube to follow Larry the Barberman and see more great interviews.
Learn what to do as I return to the studio with a new tutorial video!
WHY YOUR CLIPPERS ARE HOT, NOT RUNNING RIGHT AND HAVE DISCOLORED BLADES
My popular Larry the Barberman ‘Tutorial Videos’ are back! As you know, I have been traveling the globe for months, bringing you interviews with world-famous, very successful barbers – getting their back stories, their takes on the state of our industry, and their hints on building barbering success. It was immensely educational, and I am loving all the feedback I get from you on these amazingly talented people and their stories. If you haven’t seen them all, head over to my YouTube @Larrythebarbeman and find the ones you’ve missed!
Nevertheless, I’m happy to be back in the studio, making my hands-on tutorials about the tools of the trade, their care, and proper use.
So, let’s get started!
Today, I am addressing questions I get from clients who say their clippers or trimmers are not working correctly. The clippers seem hot and the blades dull or discolored. Upon investigation, I‘ve found the culprit: many barbers are not familiar with the proper way to OIL THEIR CLIPPERS!
On my new video @larrythebarberman, I use an Andis T Outliner to demonstrate proper oiling procedures and talk about why they are so important.
Coolant and Disinfectants Are NOT Oil
First, people mistake COOLANTS and DISINFECTANTS for clipper oils. Let’s be clear right now: These products are NOT oil and do not take the place of oil. They may contain a drop or two of oil, but they are mostly water, meaning they have a lower viscosity than clipper oil and will not lubricate the blades sufficiently.
I see far too many barbers who, when I ask them to show me the oil they are using, produce the little tube that comes out of the box with brand new clippers! That tells me immediately they are neglecting basic maintenance. That little tube shouldn’t last more than a few dozen cuts AT MOST since you should be adding two or three drops of oil to your clipper blades after each use.
With improperly lubricated blades rubbing against each other at a rate of 6,000 oscillations a minute, friction will produce tremendous heat, turning the metal black or blue and wearing out the blades much sooner than you expect. Imagine running your car on just a few spoonsful of oil; the engine would break down in no time! Many barbers are doing the equivalent with their very valuable clippers and trimmers.
Ironically, clipper oil is much cheaper than coolant or disinfectant, so in addition to misusing those products and possibly shortening the life of your clipper, you may be spending more than you need to!
You must oil clippers regularly, but it only takes a minute or two
After each haircut or every two haircuts at most, take one minute and properly oil your clipper. Here’s how:
1) Disinfect your clipper with disinfectant. I suggest you USE TISSUE PAPER instead of a towel to wipe the disinfectant from the blades since you can quickly toss a tissue to the bin, whereas a towel will gather hair, gunk and disinfectant and will need a thorough cleaning before you can use it again.
2) Clean out the blades. Any brush will do, but I always USE A TOOTHBRUSH. After all, blades have teeth, too! A toothbrush is just the right size and stiffness to get the job done. I suggest using a PIPE CLEANER get between the blades, pushing out dirt and gunk.
3) Apply three drops of oil. With the clipper clean and running, apply one drop of oil at each end and one drop in the middle. Tilt the clipper to and fro to allow the oil to distribute evenly.
DO NOT use a solid, single line of oil across the blades. That is much too much! Over-oiling will cause hair, oils, gunk, and goo to stick to the blades, making your clipper or trimmer hard to work with and unsanitary.
NOTE: Some people put a drop down the track, and that’s fine, though I don’t think it’s necessary.
4) Let the clipper run while you wipe it down with tissue. Toss the tissue away and – congratulations! You have a properly-oiled tool ready to give you thousands of great cuts!
You can see me demonstrate these techniques on my YouTube @larrythebarberman.
It feels great to be back in the studio making videos again! I am focused on bringing you a fresh topic, helping you (and your equipment) stay sharp and on top of your game.
Please enjoy, and ‘til next time, happy barbering!
As a Wahl ambassador, Kristi gets to rep for some of the best clippers in the barbering business. I caught up with her at a recent show to find out about her story, and also to learn more about why she loves Wahl products and works as part of the Wahl brand.
Tell me about when and where you started.
“I started 26 years ago in Florida. I actually started with my cosmetology licence. And as soon as I got out of cosmetology school, I moved to a military post. So, I started cutting hair on the military post.
“I had never picked up clippers at all in cosmetology school, but I had a really incredible teacher. After a few months of wanting to learn I started dragging clients into the chair. And at first it wasn’t the best, I was a hot mess. But from then on, I really incorporated barbering into my styling.”
Hearing you speak yesterday, I got the feeling that working in the military really changed you as a hair stylist. Tell me what that experience did for you.
“It was definitely life changing. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today and I definitely wouldn’t be with Wahl clippers. Back then it was $4 a haircut, that’s it. And you only made 40 % on commission. You had to cut a lot of hair very quickly to make any kind of money. So that helped me with my speed and my precision. That’s what made me into the barber and the stylist I am today.”
What kind of things have you had to overcome?
“You know it’s amazing, because I still get thrown into the deep end all the time. Even at my shop – I’ve been in business for a long time – and it’s still a consistent struggle. But I always tell people, if you know your craft, you know your tools and you have the education then you can do anything you want.
“You’re going to have days and struggles where yeah, you mess the hair up. But that is how you learn and how you grow.”
It seems like you’ve simplified the hairdressing process to see everything as texture. Talk me through this simplification.
“Really for me, consultation is huge – especially If it’s a new customer. Because that’s like a blueprint. The questions give me a blueprint, so I don’t have to work harder later in the haircut. Texture also helps decide what clipper I’m going to use. So then later on I don’t have to go back and fix anything.
“So, for instance, when I’m working on our ethnic clients I’m going to use the Five Star clippers. The Five Star range was created by Wahl for multicultural haircutting. It has the strongest motor, the sharpest blades and the most precision. They work phenomenal on anyone with curly, thick or coarse hair.
“That’s why in my classes I’m so passionate about teaching clipper blades, clipper education. Know what you’re purchasing, know your tools. Because what happens is that people, especially stylists, will start to do haircuts with the wrong tools and then they breakdown and never do another cut because they’re frustrated and defeated.”
Let’s say someone was unfortunate and not able to come to a Wahl seminar. Where could they find this information online?
“We have an incredible website. It’s wahlpro.com, and we have so much information on that website. We have a tool selector, which takes you through a process of questions about the type of hair you’re going to cut. Then it goes ahead and pulls up the tool that we recommend for your situation.
“We have our schedule – what hair shows we’ll be at, what classes we’re offering, what cities we’re going to be in. We also have links for short videos with different techniques on them – how to use your clipper, how to adjust your blade, how to oil your clipper… so we have an incredible amount of information on our website, which can pick you up and put you to the places where you need to go.”
So, the moral is to invest some time in education, and maybe invest some money in the professional tools.
“I ask people in all of my classes, what is the most you’ve ever spent on shears? And I think the most somebody has told me is $1500. And I always say to them, you have no problem spending that much on shears, but then you come to the Wahl booth and you want to buy the $29 clipper and have it do the same thing as the $1500 shears. I say to them, it’s an investment. And whatever you can do with shears, you can do faster and better with clippers.”
Let’s imagine an ambitious barber with plenty of years of experience, he’s built up his skills, he’s invested in the Wahl clippers and he now wants to pass on his knowledge and become a Wahl artistic team member. What would be your advice?
“I was very fortunate when I started that they found me. They found me because I was at all of the shows. Now we have what’s called our ambassador program. If you’re a licenced professional, then go to wahlambassador.com and you can sign up for the program. Go through that and you’ll get emails about all the latest and greatest products that we’re bringing out. It will also take you to a link for if you’re interested in becoming a part of the team.
“We look for people who absolutely are passionate about Wahl clippers. You know, I’ve always been passionate about Wahl clippers. They’re the biggest clipper company in the world, family-owned and they’ll be 100 years old soon. You have to be passionate.”
Tell me your favourite two clippers and trimmers, and why.
“Right now, I’m infatuated with all of our cordless clippers. My favourite is the Cordless Magic Clip. I love it because it’s fast, it has a blade that allows you to smooth the hair out, it has a good run time on it, and it’s on lithium Ion batteries so it doesn’t run out of charge. The other won that I’m very excited about is the Cordless Senior. I love the ease. I’m the sort of person that its talking and walking around with my clipper in my hand, so it’s nice not to have the limit of the cord.
“For trimmers, I love our new Retro T Cut. If you remember, we used to have a trimmer called the 8900. And now we’re paying homage to the 8900. My other favourite trimmer is our 5 Star Detailer. But it’s a very close call between that and the Hero.”
Yesterday on stage, I saw you performing a few ninja tricks. I’d love these to be shared around the world. Let’s talk about ninja trick number one: the eyebrows.
“Eyebrows is almost like the finish to the haircut. Eyebrows get passed over so much. You have a nice polished look, and then you have these eyebrows. So what I do is I have the cordless magic clip, blade in the open position so it doesn’t take all the hair off and then just go over it in the direction that the hair grows.”
The other technique that I found interesting was the trick with the hairspray, where you put the hairspray on prior to lining up. Explain that technique and how you stumbled upon it.
It was actually another artistic team member who did it while we were up on stage, and I said ‘what did you just do?’ They sell products especially for that but it’s exactly the same thing. I like an aerosol better because it dries quicker, and once it dries I’ll just take out that trimmer and go over the edge. The hair is laying down nice and flat, and it allows you to see where you’re edging – and it’s going to be a little safer, you’re not going to push that edge back.”
One final question. I heard Matty Conrad and you talking about the technique of holding the client’s head and taking control. Explain your kind of control technique.
“My poor clients, I have all the control. That’s important because that’s your work going out the door, that’s your name. That’s really where you get your clientele from. That’s my logo on their head. I tell people, please greet everybody when they come into your salon. When they’re in my chair my hand is on top of their head: partly so they don’t move, but also to stabilize me. Take control.”
I hope that more barbers take heed of Kristi ’s words and do exactly that: take control of your craft. Whether that means investing in more education, better tools or longer hours practicing is up to you. You can also follow Larry the Barberman on Instagram and Youtube to see regular interviews with some of the biggest names in barbering.
Take one look at Pope the Barber and you’ll be able to see that she’s a person who lives true to herself: from the striking haircut to the intricate network of tattoos, Pope makes an immediate impact. Interviewing her for this show, I found her to be down to earth and full of wisdom – making her the perfect person for up and coming barbers to learn from.
Of course, the alias Pope and the fact that she’s named her barbershop the Vatican are also pretty good sign that this is a barber who’s happy to think outside the box. I tell Pope that walking into the shop for the first time is a little awestriking… Instagram just doesn’t do it justice:
“It is an awesome space, but that’s what I that’s what I want to do. I don’t want to make it you know look cooler on Instagram. I want it to lure people in and I want people to believe it.
I’ve had this space for two years and we’ve been up and running for about a year and a half, but I have a vision of what I want to do. I love this place, you know, it’s been dear, but it’s time for an expansion.”
Here are the highlights from our interview – watch the full video to hear Pope’s thoughts on everything from education to finding her barbering niche.
So how does a trailblazer like Pope get started in the barbering industry?
“I was gonna go play basketball, but I got into a car accident. You know how that goes. But I mean, it was it was all meant to happen really. From that accident I actually couldn’t walk for about a year, and I was going to school for aeronautical engineering. I loved doing hair, obviously I had a passion for it, but I thought it was more of a hobby.
“You know, I never thought that barbering was really a thing for me, and I started out as a hair stylist. Yeah, I went to cosmetology school in crutches and I mean it was the scariest thing. I said to my parents, I’m not a mathematician you know I would love to cut hair.”
You’ve got a knack for every part of barbering, including build a business. Tell me about how Pope the Barber came about a brand.
“Like I said everything happens for a reason, you know: right place, right time. I’ve always just been a people person, you know, and networking’s just kind of my jam. I mean, I’ve been a barber straight out of high school – that’s all I really know – but I always wanted to do something on the side, and it wasn’t because I was bored of hair. It was just there was no job title that really fit what I wanted. You know, I wanted to travel. I wanted to do everything.
“And that’s what a brand is: you can you can have everything you like, do whatever the hell you want and that’s your brand. How it really started is that I was barbering but I was also hosting clubs and doing tattoo modelling and all that. I wanted people to know me for barbering, you know, so I actually took a job opportunity and Montreal and I went out there and just focused on my brand I heard it was negative 40 over there and I was like perfect don’t need to go outside. Seriously. It was like that. I just knew what I wanted.”
What is your barbering speciality?
“I love it all, you know, I’d like to say I’m one thing, but I just love cutting hair. And I can’t say I’m the best: I’m not the best. I have a lot of things that I enjoy doing and I love learning new things.
I do love doing a gentleman’s cut with a nice clean taper. I love that, that’s kind of my favourite. Then I love doing flat tops, anything crazy. I love doing design. But my favourite for sure is a nice clean taper with something funky in the back.
Your body is covered in tattoos – where did it all start? And did you have any deliberation getting the tattoo running down your cheek?
“I always knew I wanted tattoos, and my first tattoo was on my side. It says ‘All that I am I owe to my mother’. And she was mad, but you know secretly she was proud. A lot of my tattoos are to ward off demons or they’re a kind of spiritual protection.
“[I hesitated] for a moment. But I knew what I wanted. I was just praying to God that it would look good. It’s funny, like every visible piece that you can’t hide my tattoo artists and I would like take a moment of silence and dedicate my life to the arts. But this was like the ultimate: my face, you can’t hide that – it’s a bold piece.”
A final personal question – Joanie is in a lot of your pictures on Instagram. How does she feature in your brand?
“She plays a huge part. She gave up a lot to be here and she really wanted to see my dreams come true. I wanted to build an empire for us, that’s my end goal.
“She pushes me, you know. I’m completely right brain and she’s completely left brain. So I’m all the way out here and she brings me back to earth. She helps me really achieve my goals.”
Tell me a little bit about the products you have available…
“I have a few things out there, but this year is the year of launching. So I have clothes, all handmade clothes coming out. My biggest thing is I have a hair product coming out that I won’t tell you too much about, but that’s one of my biggest projects this year. All the good stuff is coming out within the next few months.”
You also offer education – what’s your area of speciality?
“Well, my style of education goes back to my roots. I started as a cosmetologist and stylist, and then I moved into barbering. So it’s basically bridging the gap between stylists and barbers, you know, more clipper techniques and for the barbers that I teach courses or techniques so basically just bridging that gap. You know: more clipper techniques, and for the barbers that I teach more scissor techniques.
“I definitely know all the troubles that they have. I also know all the tools that they are and aren’t familiar with. But I teach to light a fire under people. Honestly, I love teaching. I like the technical work, but in the end I want people to leave feeling inspired.”
so some people practicing law of attraction by meditation. Some people do affirmations, some people write out their goals. Some people are just daydreaming.
This interview is going out across the world – where can people expect to see you, what kind of shows have you got in the pipeline?
“I have Connecticut Barber Expo, I’m doing something cool in June in Miami – that’s top secret. I’m going to be in Canada working with Monster. I might be in Europe this summer. I’m traveling once or twice a month and it’s all going to be in the States, you know, so I’m going to be in Utah, New York, Texas, Chicago, everywhere here.”
And finally – what are your parting words to any barber who wants to excel in the world of barbering?
“Hone your skills, you know, and really work on your products. Because in the end, you are a product: for barbers, your product is your skill. So, you’ve got to take classes, never stop educating yourself and never stop being open. Don’t stop learning because that’s what kills a barber or stylist.
“Networking is super important – social media is out there. It’s all out there, that’s how I got to travel and all that, from Instagram and Facebook. Just put yourself out there, reach out to people.
“And dream big. Everything is possible: dream big. I’m doing workshops, as well, on how to build a barber shop.”
So there you have it: Pope the Barber, in her own words. Don’t forget to watch the full video to hear even more great advice – including how barbers can use mindfulness and meditation to realise their ambitions. You should also head down to Instagram, where you can follow Pope here and myself here. You’ll also find @LarrytheBarberMan on Facebook and YouTube, where I’ll keep you up to date on my latest interviews.
Stop barbershop infections – top tips from trichologist Tracey Walker
No barber wants to see a client receive bad service, and that includes health and hygiene as well as quality cuts. Of course, in the busy environment of a working shop it can be easy to let standards slip. That’s why I invited former hairdresser and trichologist Tracey Walker to share some information and advice that will help you keep your shop safe and clean.
But first thing’s first… what exactly does a trichologist do?
“Trichologists diagnoses and treat hair loss and scalp disorders. We are almost a specialised type of dermatologist, but we only deal with the scalp and hair. We’re not medically qualified, but we are medically trained in the areas where we need to be.”
So, this means that trichologists can help with scalp and hair issues or conditions. Tracey is also part of the Institute of Trichologists, set up by doctors, hairdressers and scientists to help build awareness and offer training. What better person to have in the interview chair?
Common conditions to look out for
Tracey kicked things off by telling me about the most common conditions that might affect clients after a visit to the barbershop:
Bacterial infections in general, and specifically impetigo. This is highly contagious, and often seen around the mouth or on the upper lip – so particularly relevant when a client comes in for a shave. Look for symptoms that are “almost like a crusting of the skin”.This happens when bacteria in the nose drips down onto the upper lip and becomes pathogenic. It may just look like regular dry skin, and could be passed on by a barber not washing their hands or sanitising tools.
Fungal infections. These are particularly common in children, and easy to spread from person to person, either on your tools or on your hands. One common fungal infection is ringworm, which my just look like a patch of dry scaly skin on the scalp and is easily misdiagnosed as flaky skin or dandruff. Tracey points out that it is “easily transferred from person to person on tools such as brushes.
Folliculitis. This is particularly common in young black men, as it is caused by the way in which afro hair regrows after a very short haircut. Unlike the other conditions, this isn’t contagious, however it certainly can affect people visiting the barbershop:“We do see it a lot when people have had very short haircuts, or had their heads shaved. What happens there is that when the hair is shaved, and it goes slightly lower than the scalp’s surface, then when it grows is starts to bend up and scratches or tickles the scalp. It’s very itchy, so the client can start scratching and cause secondary infection.”So how could you safeguard against this? “Avoid any scratching, or excess scratching to the scalp. So keep the scalp healthy, use the right shampoo for the scalp type. If the scalp is itchy then there are lotions that can calm it. And if someone comes in suffering from folliculitis and they have quite a short hair cut then encourage people to grow their hair a little longer”.
As always, then, prevention is the best cure! Tracey also points out that the scalp is just like the rest of your skin – so, for instance, if it’s dry then you’ll need to moisturise it.
I decided to follow up by getting Tracey’s take on some specific barbershop scenarios, and she certainly didn’t disappoint. So, without further ado, here is some in depth info to help you keep clients safe in specific situations.
Scenario one: A guy with long hair comes into your barbershop for a quick trim. You put the cloak on him and then spray his hair damp. Water starts to drip down the guy’s neck and collect at the collar.
“This may not cause an immediate problem if the person is healthy, but what we have to keep in mind is that somebody’s susceptibility to infection will increase if there are open wounds. So, for example, if somebody has eczema that affects the back of the neck, or psoriasis, then bacterial infection will get into those open wounds, and that’s what we call a secondary infection.”
This could also affect very old or very young clients, or people on medications such as immunosuppressants. Not cleaning the gown could also increase risk.
Tracey recommends: Use a necktie, or work with one use, disposable gowns.
Scenario two: A client comes in for a skin fade. You get them settled in the chair and then set to work… down with the brush, up with the clipper, down with the brush, up with the clipper and so on.
Tracey’s first thought is that brushing the hair vigorously is rarely a good thing – it causes so much damage, both to the hair itself and the scalp. “Once the skin is abrased, and the top layer of the skin is taken off, then bacteria and fungus can actually get into the skin, and get down to the deeper layer”. This can cause the types of infection that we discussed before, especially if things aren’t cleaned properly.
Tracey recommends: Proper sanitisation! “It’s alright to have a barbicide jar, but what I’ve seen is that after using a comb people will just put it straight in. That’s no good, you have to clean it first. Putting it in water is not going to remove that oil and dirt. You have to clean it first with a detergent, then rinse it, then put it in the barbicide jar with fresh barbicide”.
Scenario three: You’re giving a client a hot towel shave, using a towel that was cleaned in a domestic washing machine and a blade that was used on a previous client. You’re also using a barber brush that was rinsed with hot water.
Many of the issues we’ve discussed would apply here – such as bacterial or fungal infections being passed on via the equipment.
If the towel has been boil washed then that will offer good protection, but a standard wash cycle won’t sterilise equipment.
Water on its own isn’t sufficient. Equipment needs to be washed with detergent and, ideally, sterilised too. You can sterilise the brush by dipping just the bristles in barbicide. It’s also fine to use Milton sterilising fluid, which is commonly used for sterilising baby equipment, especially if you want something slightly gentler.
So many useful tips packed into this interview! Mostly, though, it all comes down to keeping things clean – and that means washing your hands properly as well as sterilising tools. Look out for part two of this interview, where I’ll share some more quickfire tips from Tracey, and hopefully give you all the information you need to put the tips you’ve read here into action.
Follow me as Larry the Barber Man on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to make sure you don’t miss what’s sure to be one of the most important interviews of the year.
It has been a crazy five years for Nergal, (Adam Darski) front man for extreme metal band Behemoth. In addition to releasing a tenth studio album, the much-acclaimed The Satanist, in 2014, the hard-rocking performance artist, singer, and guitarist completed successful bone marrow transplant treatments for leukemia, diagnosed in 2011.
The same year The Satanist was released, Adam somehow fell in love with the barbering lifestyle and decided to invest, opening a shop he named Barberian in his native Poland. Today, Barberian shops are thriving at three locations, two in Warsaw and one in Adam’s hometown of Gdansk. Adam tells me a fourth is on its way in Warsaw later this year.
When I was in Poland recently to interview Stefan Batory, the CEO of the crazy popular online booking app BOOKSY, Stefan recommended Adam as an enthusiastic client. I definitely wanted to know more about Adam’s journey, and he was graciously agreed to a meet-up, despite prepping for a Behemoth summer tour of the US with legendary metal band Slayer.
We chatted at one of the Warsaw Barberian shops, a comfortable, eclectic setting of stressed wood and aged brick accented with gently worn, overstuffed leather furniture. Barber and non-barber related antiques add to the atmosphere, and a (very metal) collection of animal skulls and demons masks cover one wall of bare brick, adding just the right touch of animus.
Trim, wearing a black vest, black slacks and black running shoes, bare-armed Adam was relaxed and quite at home in his comfortable shop.
Larry: Adam, as a black guy from London, I don’t get much exposure to Polish rock stars and celebrities, so tell me about your lifestyle outside of barbering before we talk shop.
Adam: Well, the thing is, you’re a black guy from London, and I’m a black metal guy from Warsaw, so we have something in common (laughter).
I am originally a musician, an artist, so labels like ‘rock star’ and ‘celebrity’ are not really in my dictionary. It is OK to give people a picture of where I am coming from. But I am a stage persona and a performer, an entertainer, and this (shop) is basically my child.
The ex-owner, she had this idea to start a barbershop in Warsaw. We started investigating and immediately I fell in love with the whole culture and the way they approach life. It felt very coherent with who I am. I had some money to invest and it was like, this is exactly where I want to channel my energy.
So I came up with the name “Barberian,” which I think is a nice word play.
Larry: The definition of ‘barbarian’ is outside of any one civilization, and outside of the shop, you portray as being in your own dark world, so I think it is “on brand.”
Adam: Yeah, I think there is a nice parallel between Barberian and what I do in my daily life, though this is my daily life as well. So for me, it is all about having different skins or different masks; each one represents different qualities of your personality. Barbers are professionals taking care of men’s health or men’s aesthetic, but it is very artistic, and my spirit is released here more artistically than in a business way.
I am proud of having serious input on the way it looks. The idea came from passion and heart. It is true and you can’t fake this. It is all real, very organic.
Larry: Have you ever visited Shoreditch in London?
Adam: Yes, I went there a couple of months ago and it was amazing! At this corner there was this complex; it was a coffee place and restaurant and in the corner there is a barber shop – don’t know if you know it.
LARRY: Yes, It’s called Sptalfields! It’s got old traditional – looks like a theatre. That’s called Barber Barber.
Adam: Yes, yes, yes! And I approached these guys and one of them went, ‘Are you Nergal? What are you doing here? I’m a big fan!’
Well, I was there because I was interested in the barber shop and the way he was located and the constellation of it. Amazing! So I love this neighborhood. I actually stay at the Ace Hotel every time I go. It is my favorite place there.
Larry: Shoreditch is one of the coolest places in London, and your place has a real Shoreditch feel about it.
Adam: I agree. That is a common vibe that we share.
Larry: Tell me what a client could expect at Barberian.
Adam: There is a relaxed vibe here. There is always rock music, no random radio stuff. The music, the brands of alcohol, it is all coherent, very specified. You enter Barberian and you will be treated as a king!
Bring ladies, your wife – we are not Nazis, not like the whole barber culture you have probably experienced where no woman is allowed – but if you bring your wife, let her sit there, let her have her coffee, or whatever she needs, and let her admire her husband.
Larry: This is getting sexier by the minute!
Adam: (laughs) I remember this couple came and she did all the talking. ‘He needs this, and he needs that,’ and one of us was like, ‘No, lady, calm down! The gentleman knows what he wants. Let him talk. Stay calm, relax, and admire your husband.’
I don’t want to sound chauvinistic, but this is a men’s place, you know? I don’t like to go to a hairdresser, because I get bored. There are spheres, and worlds separated. I think it’s healthy for men to be in a men’s environment, healthy for your brain.
Larry: I noticed you have your own brand of beer.
Adam: I have had Behemoth for 25 years now. We issued five types and it’s Belgian, all craft beers. I’m a fan of the only lager we have, called Phoenix. The beers are issued by a local brewery called Perun.
Any customer gets all this for free. They can chill, have a beer or whisky or really good coffee. I am a big coffee person and this is the best coffee in town! I know it sounds like an advert but I really mean that.
Larry: I’ve spoken to Adam Beek, an important barber at Barber Connect in the UK and he said two things are important in a barber shop; good haircuts and good coffee. If you are lacking either of those then you haven’t got a barbershop.
Adam: Beautiful! Exactly!
Larry: By all accounts Barberian is fully booked. Since you are a brand supporter, I am curious of the role your online system Booksy plays in shop management.
Adam: It makes our work very smooth and much easier, simple as that. We started with the phone calls and walk-in and it was growing, but with Booksy it is very smooth. I wouldn’t go back to the years when we didn’t have that system. I think it’s amazing.
Larry: What kind of problems did you have before online booking?
Adam: It was way more work for us, writing down everything, the receptionist always on the phone. But with Booksy it all happens in the ‘other world,’ basically!
Larry: You recommend it?
Adam (looks into camera): GO FOR IT! (laughs) Seriously, I know the competition, and most of the business is walk-in; they reject systems like Booksy. I respect the old school way, but we wouldn’t do it here, because we use all the tools that are there to make life easier.
Larry: Can you actually cut hair?
Adam: No! But I have a clipper so when I‘m on the road with the band and can’t find a local shop, I need to make sure my beard is trimmed, I like it to look very clean.
Barbering is my business, but also my hobby, my love and my life. I am a huge fan of these guys, but I don’t have ambitions to become a barber. I can do it with my own clipper on me, but that’s about it!
The coolest thing about barbershops is – I visited maybe hundreds of barbershops around the world and I remember each one.
Larry: Yes! There is individual character.
Adam: Exactly! There is individuality and passion and love because barbers are also lovers of barbering; they are there for a reason.
Larry: What advice do you have for other owners who want success?
Adam: Don’t go for success at any cost. If you do what you love and it is just straight from your heart, just perfect it. Eventually success will happen and you will not even notice! You will just be happy and have great clients who appreciate your work.
By the time they plunked down in Takara Belmont chairs for an interview with me, Simon Shaw and Julius “Caesar” Arriola were exhausted after three days as one of the main attractions at Salon International 2017 in London.
Why all the fuss over Wahl’s European Artistic Director and an American Wahl educator?
Because for the first time, Wahl was launching a major new product in the UK and chose Salon International to do it. And it wasn’t just any new product, but the long-awaited Cordless Senior Clipper. Simon and Julius had the privilege of being Wahl’s onsite reps “when the floodgates opened,” as Julius put it.
The pair had been swamped from the first moments. The new clipper took the event by storm as barbers “were running towards us when the doors opened up like it was the new iPhone,” Simon said.
That’s what happens when your reputation for excellence precedes you, right, Simon?
“We sold out in about nine trading hours, 500 units,” he said.”We have 3,500 coming in the next two or three weeks that are already allocated. We’re 1200 in the red on it.”
Even Julius, who’d been flown in from the US on behalf of Wahl especially for the launch and debuted the Cordless Senior on stage, told me, “People in the US might not believe me, but they are really strict about buying more than one – I can’t do it.”
I told him I’d had the same problem! The fact the Cordless Senior was available but in short supply sparked a surge in demand unlike anything I’ve seen. Talk about Wahl-mania!
The Low Down on the Cordless Senior
So – how does the new must-have Cordless Senior behave?
“In comparison to the Corded Senior itself, whether it is the 5-Star, the Sterling or the regular Wahl Pro, the Cordless is an impeccable machine,” Julius told me.
“(The Cordless Senior is) high-performance, high impact, it is going to mow through anything from white Caucasian hair to thick curly hair,” he added. “The performance you’ve been expecting is there, whether precision blending or clip–over-comb. I am cutting on stage with it, and it is literally effortless; the hair is coming right off.”
Worn out as he was, Julius’ high level of enthusiasm was still shining through. “In 15 years of professional barbering, I’ve always felt, ‘Man, I love Wahl Senior. I just wish it was cordless.’ And now it’s 2017, and here we are in London Town, launching.”
Cordless Senior vs. Magic Clip
Many people compare the Corded Senior to the highly popular Magic Clip, so I was especially curious about how the Cordless Senior stacks up.
“You can’t go anywhere without seeing a cordless Magic Clip. It changed the game,” Julius agrees. “But what you love about the Cordless Magic Clip, the dream has been fulfilled in the Cordless Senior.”
In testing the Cordless Senior, I couldn’t hold it with my thumb, unheard of for a cordless. What was Julius’ reaction?
“The weight of the machine is exactly what you’re looking for,” Julius enthuses. ”If you’ve got the Magic Clip or here in the UK the Super Taper, you may have thought it too light in your hand (because) you are used to the corded machine. “
“All that conversation is going to halt because the weight is there in the Cordless Senior; the aluminum body, obviously the classic five-star senior face, the surgical blade, you can’t go wrong. The battery time is enough for what you need to do, too.”
Though Julius was happy to compare the Magic Clip and the Cordless Senior, he thinks most barbers will still need both machines.
“Obviously the blades are different,” he said. “You’ve got your surgical blade on the Cordless Senior, which comes on your classic Five Star as-is. Whereas the Magic Clip has the devil in the details, and one of my most favorite things about it is the crunch blade the stagger tooth blade.”
“But anything you felt might be missing in the Magic Clip, you will find in the Cordless Senior.”
How to use surgical blades (and oil!)
I wanted Julius to talk a bit more about surgical blades and how they are used.
“It is on the scalp cutting,” he said. “The Cordless Senior is going to be the precision cutter for your bald fades and your skin fades. You have your 45° bevel blade; it curves in. Three screws compared to two screws (on the Magic Clip). A surgical blade for me, it means you cut more on the ergonomics of a 45 out rather than the classic C stroke, because the surgical blade is not beveled.”
I agree with Julius, telling people that a surgical blade should be used like a trimmer, and scooping with a trimmer cuts the client. And since it is so sharp, you can set the surgical blade on the scalp, mini-strokes and it will do the same work as the big strokes.
Julius thinks so too, and Simon adds that the high speed of the Cordless Senior speaks to the need to keep it oiled so that it stays cool and sharp.
“You will need to oil it,” he says firmly, “because of the revs.” 6400 revs per minute as compared to the 5400 (of the Magic Clip).
“You have to, because not only will it last longer, it will run cooler – feel cooler on the skin – and it will feel sharper, hair won’t bunch up and clog,” Simon said, noting that many damaged clippers he sees suffer from poor maintenance, i.e., too little oil creating too much friction and damaging the blades.
So a word to the wise: get some Wahl oil in addition to what comes in the box, and use two or three drops after every cut. I show you how in this Larry the Barberman How To Video (LINK HERE)
“You want Yeezys before Kanye has Yeezys”
Back to the Cordless Senior. Anxious barbers want to know: when can we expect enough to arrive in the UK for everyone who wants one?
After the allotment of 3500 (already committed) units by mid-November, “we’ve got more coming in December and January,” Simon said. He thinks it will be February or March before the manufacturing schedules in the US catch up with UK demand. So we have to sit tight!
Julius says, “It’s like I’m Kanye West and you’re asking me for a whole box of Yeezys; you want Yeezys before Kanye has Yeezys. You guys want a Cordless Senior; I’m trying to get the Cordless Senior myself! I am humbled to say I feel you guys, I would love to have them in my hands if I could.”
“All I’m saying is patience is a virtue. It’s well worth the wait, and once you have it in your hands, it won’t disappoint.”
LARRY….WANT TO MENTION YOU WILL BE STOCKING THE CORDLESS SENIOR?
Cheshire’s Lieanne Buckley (@lieanne_) doesn’t want to be pegged as just a female barber and never ever wants to be “someone that just does five, six days a week and goes home. I want to be more than that.”
A new face on the barbering scene, just three years ago Lieanne was an increasingly dissatisfied retail worker. At 27, this daughter of a hairdresser had taken some training in a perfunctory fashion, but felt uninspired. “I was disheartened, stuck in a rut and obviously getting older,” she told me at Barber Connect in Telford. “I was really envious of friends who had good careers, getting their own houses, and I’m like, “’I really don’t know what I want to be. I wish I knew.’”
A combination of desperation and inspiration pushed her into the direction of men’s barbering. Whilst working in a fitting room one day, it just hit her, she told me. “I want to cut men’s hair,” she says. “There was a girl at the shop who was a mobile hairdresser and I just went over to her and I said, “How I can get into barbering?”
At the beginning, “I used to go home and do my dad’s and brothers’ hair, so they got butchered,” she smiles.
Fast forward about three years and Lieanne is onstage at Barber Connect, earning an excellent reputation and building an online following.
A specialty is Afro-Caribbean hair, which makes her a rarity among Caucasian barbers, especially the relatively few females in the barbering world. Gaining acceptance was a challenge, she recalls.
“The shop I work in is very multicultural, we have a lot of Afro Caribbean hair, but I found being a white female, a lot of people would steer clear,” she said. Clients were understandably a bit surprised and somewhat reluctant to patronize someone who at first glance, seems likely inexperienced in cutting Afro-Caribbean hair.
“I didn’t see it as a big thing because I just do hair – Afro-Caribbean hair, Asian hair- in a multicultural shop, it’s just natural.”
Nevertheless, Lieanne says she shared some of her customer’s trepidation as she started her first Afro-Caribbean cut.
“I can remember going in with a trimmer, and I was really out my comfort zone. I was thinking to myself, ‘Can I do this or can’t I do this?’ The hair is so different from Caucasian hair, so I was like. ‘Right, just do it, try it. It’s got to work! It has to work!’”
“So I went in with a detailer back then – must have been because I use Andis now – and I remember thinking, ‘Right, what do I do next?!’
“But because I was around people that cut Afro-Caribbean, I sort of pick things up, so I was like, “Okay, so you need to go with the grain, not just against the grain.”
But the first-timer challenges continued.
“The customer just had a one on top and then a skin fade on the sides. I remember thinking, ‘How am I gonna get this hair that clogs together?’ I learned to comb against it and go with the grain. That was a big thing, trying to get the combing; going in, comb it down, going back in, and then getting the cutthroat on it.
She learned quickly, “You can’t always use a cutthroat on people with Afro-Caribbean hair because they’re prone to bumps, rashes (and keloids),” she says.
“I’d just say, ‘Are you okay with the razor?’ And if they are, they’re okay around the front but not around the neck area, also the same with a shaver. Never use a shaver with Afro-Caribbean hair. Ever. I don’t risk it. It’s just the way the hair grows out the follicle.”
Obviously spoken like someone who knows what she’s doing!
“As for people who think, ’You’re not cutting my hair because you’re a woman,’ I will say, ‘Just let me do! Let me do it and if you don’t like it, don’t pay for it.”
Very early, Lieanne brought her honesty, determination and talent to social media. Her YouTube success has many roots, including her emphasis on quality and her drive to self-brand.
“My goal (at the beginning) was always a quality haircut over quantity, I always had that in the back of my mind,’ she said.
“And I never want to be your standard barber that you go and see for ten minutes and that’s it, so I did a promo video to see if it takes me anywhere, opens any doors.”
After posting on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, Lieanne says her inbox was jammed with messages from people “saying they wished my video was longer,” she remembers. “They said they wanted to see how I work. So I was like, ‘OK, this can open doors!’”
She began posting Instagram cell phone photos taken in her kitchen. “This was just around the time Instagram was taking off” three years ago, she recalls. “I was uploading onto Instagram, and I was getting people saying, ‘Why don’t you come work for us?’ when I hadn’t even worked in a barber shop before. It’s actually really overwhelming.”
Today, her video style remains focused on brevity. “People get bored,” she says. “I do just short bursts of process on a taper or scissor-cut styling, what products I use.” She still shoots most of them on her Samsung 7.
I suggested making a video of Lieanne cutting Afro-Caribbean hair to prove the doubters wrong, a definite smash hit!
“I know!” she agrees. “I wanted to bring someone with Afro-Caribbean hair today (to Barber Connect) and I couldn’t get anyone.’
This made for an easy transition to her first major stage appearance. How did it go?
“Rather nerve-wracking,” she allows. “You’re trying to work and it’s really hot, and you can’t see what you’re doing. I was trying to prep my model and I was just stressing out! Then Alan (Beak) came over and he was like, ‘Lieanne, just say a few words, like where you’re from. You’ll get a head mic.’ But my heart was definitely going a little bit when you can hear the crowd behind the curtains.”
“Then the next minute it was over!” she said. “It went so quick and I was like, ‘Get me back on there! I want to go back on now!’ Once I was up there I felt really comfortable.”
Clearly Lianne is growing more confident all the time. Already a proven success as a “late bloomer,” a woman in a male-donate field, and an expert in Afro Caribbean hair when so many though it couldn’t be done, who does this inspiring figure look to for inspiration?
Her choices say a lot about Lieanne’s eye for quality.
“Nay; she’s @nayqueenoffades,” she says. “She’s from Amsterdam with Mokum Barbers. She is absolutely amazing. Her fades look as though they’re actually filtered. They’re just so blurry. How does she do that?”
Also from the start I would have to say Dani Lewis @toastiestyles, she’s a cool barber. She’s done some really nice work.
@StayGold31 from America,’ she adds “Sofie Pok is brilliant! She’s killing it. She’s next level. She’s different. American barbers are, because they use different clippers. So I’m always learning from her work and seeing what she’s doing on social media.”
“Sean from @seanbryancutandsew is a really cool guy. He’s so good not just cutting hair but the business side of it. He’s got something like four shops, he deejays, he looks after God knows how many members of staff. His branding and what-not is brilliant as well; his apparel.”
As part of her brand building, Lianne is also getting into the apparel line with distinctive T shirts. As for closing thoughts from this motivated and talented woman, she says something I hear more and more barbers say – there is too much negativity, especially in social media.
“I really don’t understand people bashing each other on social media. ‘That cut is not good,’ and ‘Look at that blend,’ and ‘I can do better than that.’ I just don’t understand some people’s mentality towards each other. We all need to look after one another and help each other.”
I’ve always believe tiny gestures and little steps can lead to big change. Lieanne agrees, saying she’s offered to help a young barber in Cheshire improve his Afro-Caribbean cuts, just as a service to a colleague. We definitely need more of that!
My thanks to Lieanne Buckley, another source of inspiration for me and I certainly hope you feel the same way. If you want to see my entire interview with Lieanne, please visit my YouTube @larrythebarberman.