The objective of this tutorial is to show you how to power your clippers seamlessly in your country. But let’s get started with a quick science lesson to give you the basics of voltage, currents and frequency. With an understanding of these three things, you’ll have the ability to read any label on any clipper and then take the correct action to get that clipper working without any issues.
Voltage: When we want to power clippers in countries across Europe and South America, the voltage supplied will be anywhere between 220V and 240V. All of these voltages are compatible, which means that you can safely and effectively power a 220 or 230v clipper from a 240v socket or visa versa.
Current: In almost all cases, the current that is passed into the clippers is what’s known as an alternating current (AC). This means that the current is passed back and forth from positive to negative and so on. In simpler terms, you can think of it as rapidly turning on and off, multiple times per second.
Frequency: The final element to be aware of is frequency. Frequency is the number of cycles between on and off per second, referred to as hertz. In the UK, the frequency is 50Hz, which means that there are 50 cycles per second. Of course, because the electricity is moving so quickly, it creates the illusion that there is a constant supply of energy. In America, the typical voltage is 120v and the frequency is 60Hz.
Now let’s talk about some of the different tools that are available for helping you with powering your clipper. The first is a step downtransformer – this takes the voltage from 240 volts down to 110 volts. It delivers a continuous frequency of 50Hertz. The second thing is an adapter which, in simplistic terms, is a plug changer. You use the adapter to ensure that the plug on your clipper fits into the power outlet. There is no voltage change or frequency change taking place.
The final device is the frequency 60Hz converter. This device takes the voltage down from 220-240v to 110-120v and lifts the frequency from 50Hz to 60Hz. That allows your clippers to run seamlessly. With these three devices, you can power more or less any hair clipper from anywhere in the world. To show you how, I’m going to talk you through a range of different popular tools.
Andis Pro Alloy
Let’s start simply with the Andis Pro Alloy, a UK hair clipper. First and foremost, you’ll want to turn it over and check the specifications: this requires 230 volts and 50Hz. As I mentioned before, all voltage outputs between 220 and 240 will be fine. This means that you can simply plug the clipper in and go.
Wahl Super Taper
Slightly more complicated is powering the European version of the Wahl Super Taper. Once again, check the specifications – again, this shows that you’ll need 230 volts and 50Hz. The only complication here is the fact that it has a European plug, which won’t go into a UK power outlet. This means that we’ll need the adapter – and you should be able to buy an adapter for whatever type of socket used in your own country when necessary.
Andis Fade Master
With the Andis Fade Master things are slightly different: checking the specifications I can see that this clipper needs 120 volts of power with a 60Hz cycle. This means that we need to take the voltage down to stop the clipper from blowing up whilst also, ideally, bringing the frequency up.
One option would be to use the standard transformer. This will bring the voltage down, whilst still giving a 50Hz frequency. But if you do that, you’re going to hear a terrible noise coming from your clipper – check out the video to see exactly what I mean. That’s because the Fade Master has a magnetic motor, making it entirely dependent on receiving the right frequency. The alternative is to use the Frequency 60Hz converter. This will take the voltage down to 120, whilst also lifting the frequency, causing the Fade Master to run nice and smoothly, just as if you were running it from America: check out the video to see the difference for yourself!
Cordless Trimmers and Clippers
When you’re powering cordless clippers, things are slightly different. The first thing to be aware of is the fact that cordless clippers are not frequency dependent. However, you still need to be careful to ensure that you are powering them correctly.
With a Wahl Cordless Clipper, you have a strict power requirement of 120 volts. This means that you need to use a standard transformer to bring the voltage down – you can buy one which also acts as a UK to US adapter. This will charge the clipper without risk of it blowing up.
With an Andis Cordless Trimmer such as the Slimline Pro Li, the label tells you that it can run on a power supply with 100-240 volts on 50 or 60Hz. This is great because it means that you can run it successfully on any power supply across the world so long as you have the correct plug adapter. It’s also perfectly fine to still use the transformer if this is the only adapter that you have. Again, that will allow you to charge you Slimline Pro Li safely and effectively.
I hope you found this demonstration helpful! If you do have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or get in touch. The most important thing is that, now you can read the clipper’s label clearly yourself, you’ll be able to understand what any clipper’s power requirements are.
You can also take a look at this older video if you’d like to understand more about why some US clippers make that terrible racket when not powered correctly – and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for even more great tips.
Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with celebrity barber Donnie Hawley of the famous Hawleywood Barbershops in the O.C as well as lord of the Layrite, to get the scoop on his career. Donnie tells me that going to the barbershop has been a big part of his life, even at his youngest. “Growing up in an Italian household, it was the thing that I looked forward to doing with my grandpa. The camaraderie in the shop, even at a young age, I thought was very special.” When he was growing up, he went to live with his Dad at the age of twelve. His stepmother’s family had a barbershop. “I have a movie coming out this summer called There Ain’t No Shear Luck, and you’ll see of my aunts in it saying, “I’m Donnie’s aunt,” and then she would say, “Uncle”, because I always would tell people I hung around my uncles. There was always a barber chair on the patio so I started cutting my friends’ hair.”
Donnie started barber college at a school named Rosstons Barber College after a string of jobs that he wasn’t happy with and that put some real physical strain on his body. He unfortunately had to drop out of Rosstons and work for his uncle’s construction business. Fortunately, he was still cutting hair, and while doing so heard about a barber named Jake who had Elvis tattooed on his whole back – Donnie naturally decided he wanted to meet the fellow rockabilly. The two met up and Donnie wound up eventually both rooming with and working with Jake who owned his own barbering shop at the time. At the time, barbering was a dying art, and Donnie decided he had to do his part to save barbering. He, amongst numerous others, had no idea it, nor he, would become what they are today. Seventeen years ago, he opened Hawleywood’s Barbershop in a little two-chaired shop, with a third chair shoved in. It was 1999, and Donnie tells me there wasn’t much in the way of a hiring pool for barbers – no kind of social media or way to get noticed existed at the time, so Donnie got himself out there by setting up at shows in the rockabilly and punk rock scene. Soon, he was getting paged to places such as tattoo shops, car clubs and other areas in the scene, and was exposed to a lot of big names while he cut hair, such as Eric Maaske, Rancid, Tiger Army, and Social Distortion; he was quickly on the way to making a name for himself, and he brought barber Eric Webb out of retirement to help him keep up.
Donnie made his shop, as he says, “one that Al Capone would feel comfortable in” with dark brown, cream colors and other décor that hits the era precisely, such as a shoeshine stand.
His product line, called Layrite, began as an experiment with Donnie making his own pomades out of the rockabilly greaser scene. “I have super curly hair,” he explains. “I couldn’t find anything that I could get a big pomp with that would wash out. I was with an old friend and changing out her rear main seal on an old Packard, and there was sticky oil that had been there for forty or fifty years – the texture just felt like it would work in my hair, so I grabbed a Mason jar and scooped up as I could. I added in some Vaseline and Old Spice, amongst other things, and rocked up to the show with it and it worked. The only problem was the smell, but that was my first go at messing pomade.”
The name Layrite comes from an interaction Donnie had with a customer that had similar hair to his own. “I would have to use some hair spray, a round brush, roll the curl out and put my product in his hair. And he told me, “Man, you’re the only person in my whole life that’s been able to get my hair to lay right.” This was just a little shop and we had people start driving hours because I sold the product of out of the shop. No one was even on the internet at the time. I started putting it in my own cans and taking it to shows with my band friends so they could throw it out to the crowd. I would be asked by musicians to style their hair before they went on stage, and I brought my product everywhere. I started making T-shirts as well, and gave both away.”
Layrite has undoubtedly performed well, and many are still attempting to copycat its success even to this day. Donnie and Layrite have traveled around the world, and the popularity of both creator and product has helped influence a tremendous amount of barbers in the industry. “I’ve been able to travel with Layrite, and my style of barbering, to Canada for four years in a row. I influenced a bunch of guys that are now barbers, and done tours in Holland, Japan a bunch of times and Germany. I built Hawleywood’s Barbershop in Australia with some youngsters that I influenced – we did that, a bit of Fashion Week in Brazil and even hanging out with Iggy Pop. It’s just been unbelievable.” Donnie recounts how he has had many people write him, hug him, and just generally thank him for inspiring them to get into the barbering industry. Donnie stands to possibly be inducted into the Barbering Hall of Fame, and it is not hard to see why.
As is standard in the states, Donnie follows the west coast style of barbering in that his own style is more traditional. “I don’t use the word fade. I always say taper, and low and tight, high and tight, flattop, flattop with fenders, and pompadours. Everything is done with three outlines and a straight razor. We brought that back, and I had to teach my friends that I thought were good enough to do all those things. Now, they are making a living and really making money at what is a hobby for all of us. Real barbering is very important to me.”
Donnie tells me that he was lucky enough to go out to Japan with Sid from Sid’s Tattoo Parlor in Santa Ana. Sid tattooed while Donnie cut hair. “We had a little festival there, a little car show,” he explains. “I plugged in my clippers and the voltage was totally different than what we use here. There was a half-circle of all these photographers waiting for me to step up – I’m all confident. I plug in my clippers and they start smoking and making the loudest noise you’d ever heard. I had to have one of the guys there run to a drugstore just to get me a set of clippers. It was tense, to say the least.” Incidents like these are the very reason I invented the Frequency60hz and try to get it out there, so barbers can use their equipment in any country they please.
“Wahl in Japan made a clipper that is cordless and lasts nine hours,” he continues. “I couldn’t believe it! I met with them there and they’re going to etch my name on the cordless Wahls. Now, I could cut hair on top of Mount Fuji if I wanted to. There’s another clipper out there that I like to use, the Andis Ceramic. Its real quiet and I use a five lock or a surgical attachment on there to do my outlines. You don’t need cords anymore, and it is awesome!”
Donnie used to work from 9:00 in the morning to 5:00pm, a solid eight hours. That recently has taken a bit of a backseat while he has been filming a documentary about his life, the aforementioned There Ain’t No Shear Luck. “The title comes from my journey and the difficulty I experienced. I did all of this before social media, and I got made fun of. I’m self-taught and I’ve had barbers that were friends that I’ve taught, I’ve traveled a good part of the world, I was in a hundred magazines, and I’ve influenced a lot of people – all of this before social media. I got lucky and got into a bunch of these magazines that popped up like Ol’ Skool Rodz, Custom Culture and Viva Las Vegas. Going from being the only barbershop booth at a show and the only pomade booth for years to a bunch of booths and tons of people out there doing it, it’s just important that I stand up for real barbering. There’s a lot of people out there masquerading as barbers. They’ll get sleeves, tattoos, and they’ll call themselves barbers when they aren’t. This whole documentary is about my life and my journey, and it’s been a long haul. It should be out by the summer of 2016.”
He also shares a bit on accomplishing his traditional barber showcase. “I would go to a lot of shows, and even a lot of the barber shows that started popping up were real urban, lots of hip-hop pounding in my ear. It was fine, it just wasn’t my style. I wanted to do a traditional showcase, where Dean Martin is playing in the background and everyone is in suits and looking classy. The competition categories were different: the flattop category, the pompadour category, high and tight. We bit off more than we can chew doing it, I think, at The Grove in Anaheim, but we loved it. It was a big accomplishment to be able to throw a traditional barber showcase and I brought in a lot of my favorite barbers and literally put them on pedestals. When you walked in, you would see four barbers on all four corners of the auditorium, and then Vicky Tafoya and the Big Beat, classy bands playing. It was truly amazing to do.”
Asked about education via himself and other sources, Donnie elaborates, “There’s an apprenticeship that fortunately exists in California. You can either for to barber college for ten months straight, forty hours a week or you can apprentice under a master barber for two years, and there you’re developing skills and earning money while you learn. That’s a good route to go for a young guy who is starting out and wanting to be a barber. If you want to be a traditional barber, do not go to cosmetology school. It takes a lot of haircuts, and you’ll make all your mistakes in barber college. There’s no mistakes when you get out on the floor in my shop, and I’m sure it is becoming more competitive now. It’s good to see everyone putting their hands down and letting some of the trade secrets out. When you take the time it takes as a youngster to learn those skills, everyone is self-taught. In my shops, I show them what I do, and they take that and apply their own touch. I don’t let my guys even cut hair for three months if they’re apprenticing, and so they watch my processes for that time. In short, either get into a good barber college if you’re young, and can afford to not be paid, or find a place that will really teach you the skills you need.”
Donnie ends on an inspiring note when it comes to barbering, and advice to aspiring barbers. “You’re changing lives. There’s a saying, a certain mythology to the barbershop experience: once the relationship is forged between a barber and a patron, it will outlast friendships and some of the strongest marriages. Barbering is a trade that takes a lot of skill and time to learn, so if you’re young and starting out, do whatever you can to learn – find a good master, or a good college, and don’t be afraid of the hair. It’s getting a little saturated, so you need to find the right person and the right school. That changed my life, and in doing so, changed a lot of people’s lives.” Truly inspiring words from an inspiring barber, and an inspiring man.
This is Larry the Barberman of barbers.tv coming at you with my five favorite hacks for getting the maximum performance out of your hair clippers with minimal tools and minimal time. As barbers, we all have those lazy days where dragging out the massive tool kits and disassembling our hair clippers just seems like a drag. Thumbs up from everyone who can agree with that statement!
My first lazy hack, my favorite one: do you find there are times where you need to get the blade clean on your hair clippers and trimmers, but you can’t be bothered to get out a screwdriver to remove the blades from the trimmer or clipper. If that is the case, this simple hack is for you. All you need is some sanitation spray, some clipper oil, a pipe cleaner and a hairbrush of your choice.
Once you have all of those items, all you need to do is first brush down your hair clipper or trimmer on the front or sides to remove all of the loose hair. After that, get the pipe cleaner and fold it in half to double the cleaning area. On the side of your clipper, or trimmer, you will notice that there is a gap between the cutting blade and the common blade. Insert the pipe cleaner here and drop it slightly so that it can also clean the bottom. Move that in and out of the blades to get them properly clean. After you’ve done that, remove the pipe cleaner, and reach for the sanitation spray. First, turn on the clipper or trimmer, and spray the top as well as down the sides. What that does is sanitize the inside of the blade, and it also removes and loose hair that the pipe cleaner might have missed. Once you’ve done that, use your bed of tissues to wipe down the excess lubrication and sanitation spray. Turn on the hair clipper or trimmer once more and place some of the blade oul to the right, center and to the left so that the oil doesn’t run down into the actual unit. When you are done, just wipe off any excess oil and you’re done! That’s why it is my favorite – simple and clean.
On to my second favorite lazy hack. Have you ever been to the USA, purchased some US hair clippers or trimmers, and then plugged them into a standard transformer (as shown in the video) only to experience a horrific noise. These transformers are 240 volts to 110 volts with a 40 hertz cycle, thus they are losing out on their full performance. All you need to do is plug it into a Frequcny60hz converter, which basically converts the UK and European voltage of 230 to 240 volts down to 120 volts, with a 60 hertz cycle; essentially making it as if you had plugged it directly into a US power outlet. Seamless performance and a perfect purring noise without the hassle of transformers – what could be better?
Do you sometimes find that your hair clipper or trimmer has issues with the power cutting out intermittently, and just a simple bit of pressure from your thumb on the power switch makes it come alive again? Fortunately, this hack is very simple. All you need is some tissue, which you can see in the video I have used to create a soft bed underneath the affected clipper. You will also need some contact cleaner, a screwdriver, and a standard Phillips screwdriver. With those in hand, let’s get started.
First and foremost, in the case of the Wahl Senior I am using, we need to remove three screws. I recommend having a corrugated rubber mat so you do not lose your screws. With the front casing removed, we now have access to the switch. What we then do is just pop the switch out. Please ensure that the power is off. Now, these switches can often get clogged from dirt in between the switch. What you want to do now is use the contact cleaner and blast out all the hair and dirt that may have gotten lodged in between the conductor, which stops the clipper or trimmer from working effectively. What I do is pull the switch to either the left or right first and put the straw from the contact cleaner in the opposite side of the switch before giving it a good few blasts. You’re going to no doubt see hair and dirt coming out. Flip the switch to the other side and repeat this process. Just a tissue to wipe up the excess and we can move on to the next step.
Once that is done, simply pop the switch back into position. You want to make sure that it sits in the housing correctly, and is nice and snug. Once it is in, put the belly back on your clipper and, once the housing is back on, we can plug in the clipper and turn it on. I recommend letting a good five minutes elapse , but you will see that that clipper or trimmer is now running nice and smooth, no matter how much you wiggle the switch.
This one is for folks who persistently find that the lever arm is loose on their: Wahl Super Taper, Wahl Senior, Wahl Icon or any other Wahl that has the same shape as the aforementioned. All you need to do to remedy this problem is gather: a Philips screwdriver, some cotton swabs, contact cleaner, and (optionally) a hair blower.
First, we need to loosen the screw and set it aside. What I want to do now with the hair blower is basically blast out the hole, as shown in the video, to free any loose debris that may be lodged inside of the frame.
Second, we will want to use the contact cleaner, which is an alcohol based cleaner, to blade the inside of the hole to get any remaining dirt or debris. Just insert the straw and blast away. Now, we know that the contact is clean. Half the reason that this inconsistent power issue happens is due to loose fillings occasionally getting lodged in the area during the manufacturing process. The objective of this hack is basically to put a strong lock on the device so that it doesn’t happen again.
Now, we use the cotton swab to, again, clean out all of the area so we are sure there is no grease or anything still clinging on. Next, we’ll want to reach for the thread locker. Thread locker is basically a glue for screws and threads to lock. Well reach for the screw and the lever, and do a simple application of the thread locker by putting one line of it across the thread. With that done, we’ll put the thread locker screw back in.
Coming to the actual lever, you will notice that there is a notch. This notch needs to be lined up with the female notch, which is in the lever itself. First, we need to find it, as you can see in the video. Once you’ve found it, you basically start gently screwing it in with fairly firm pressure and slow movements. Afterwards, have a quick check that the lever is working: you’ll know that the female thread has met the male thread when all is good, so just give it one last tighten and then let it stand to dry. I recommend five to six minutes, and then you are good!
My finale lazy hack is just a little trick to tighten the tension in your hair clipper or trimmer to increase the performance. If you have clients complain that their hair is being pulled, especially when you are using the Wahl Senior, Super Taper, or Icon, even though you know the blades are sharp, than this hack is for you. Nine times out of ten, it is caused by the tension being off. When I say tension, I mean how tightly the top blade is pressed to the bottom: too tight and the blades will not move. Too loose and the performance will be impaired. Fortunately, this is an easy hack.
All you need for this hack is a Phillips screwdriver. Again, I would recommend doing all of this on a corrugated rubber mat for the sake of your screws. Once the casing is off, I’m just going to give the inside a basic clean – it’s always a good idea when you have your clipper or trimmer open. As you can see in the video, I just bring the sponge back. Now, to increase the tension of this clipper without undoing the rest of it, the hack is very simple.
This particular clipper is the Wahl Senior. You can see in the video which part is the belly and which part is the back. What you want to do is lie the clipper on its back. You can see in the video that there is a metal stump. What you want to do is use your thumb to pull it back slightly, until you feel a tiny bend and the metal arm attached to it. It’s as simple as that. That will give you a tension kick. Once you’ve felt it bend slightly, replace your blade as well as your common blade.
What’ve we done is pulled the stump up so that the cutting blade is more tightly squeezed to the cutting blade. This is a common problem that, fortunately, has an easy fix. In one of my other videos, I’ll go through the full procedure for increasing the tension, as it is a lot more involved than what I’ve shown you here.
This is the fifth and final hack from Larry the Barberman for lazy barbers out there. Utilize them and your barbering game is sure to improve!
If you enjoyed this tutorial, please be sure to subscribe to see more interviews, tutorials and content! For more information, you can email me at: email@example.com. I’d also like to invite you to follow me on Instagram @larrythebarberman for other free barbering content. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Oster 76 is the most powerful kind of hair clippers. It uses a rotary motor. Used for bulk haircuts.
Used by the American army to get through high volumes of haircuts.
Pro barber Fabian of Champs barbers calls it “one of the best hair clippers out there.”
Who is this article for?
This article is for anyone interested in maintaining the:
Oster 76 Classic
Oster 97 (UK Equivalent)
Oster Model 10
Why is this article needed?
I travel across the UK talking to my clients, I ask “How are you maintaining your Oster?” Every single one replies “I’m just oiling the blades.”
This machine is hard wearing.
It needs a little bit more than just oiling the blades.
The instruction manual is useless
Oyster does supply an instruction manual. However, the instruction manual is:
Contains a lack of visual aids.
What do I need?
You will NOT need any advanced equipment or screwdrivers.
You will need:
Clipper oil (I recommend Oster clipping oil)
The Oster 76 Setup
At the bottom you have two mesh inlets. Designed to suck cold air in.
Air flows through the Oster 76 to the drive mechanism.
The hot air escapes through the left and right side vents.
The Oster has a sprung ball barring inlet – used to apply oil to the sealed drive mechanism housing.
This clipper has detachable blades.
You must have a Frequency60hz International Voltage and Frequency Converter, for your clipper to work correctly in the UK.
If your machine does not have oil inside the drive mechanism. It will heat up. This will result in overheating.
Step By Step Tutorial for General Maintenance
Start the general maintenance from the bottom to the top of your clipper. Just like a skin fade.
Ensure the mesh is lint free.
Remove the bottom panel. Inspect the mesh. Blow off any lint or dirt. Or use a toothbrush. Check both sides. Ensure you push the teeth all the way in. Clip it down.
Move up the clipper to the sealed housing.
Take your clipper oil. Squirt some oil into the drive mechanism. To squirt oil simply unspring the small ball barring. This is important as it prevents overheating. Spring the sprung ball barring back when finished.
Get a tissue and wipe down any excessive oil.
You need to ensure the blade is well oiled in order to get the best performance.
Detach the blade. Clean the blade with a toothbrush. Clean out any gunk.
Oil the tracks of the blade. This will give you an even slide. This results in less friction. Which means less heat.
Ensure you put the blade on with the motor running! If you don’t, the plastic lever will end up rounding off.
Turn the machine on. Place the blade on the metal snap in lever. Clip it forward.
Oiling the blade
Place a little clipping oil on the front rail. Give it time to seep down the back rail. Repeat for the other side. Turn the Oster on – This allows the oil to seep in.
Apply a little bit of oil to the: front, middle and centre of the blade. Leave the machine on for five seconds.
Wipe away excess oil with a tissue.
When should I do General Maintenance?
The blades should be done every two cuts.
Sealed drive mechanism
Sealed drive mechanism needs oil every month.
The vents should be cleaned every month.
Did you find this article helpful? Have you got any tips for maintaining the Oster 76?
If you want to find out more about the Frequency60hz Converter then please drop me a line at email@example.com. You can also connect with me on social media for more incredible, free barbering content – head to Instagram, Facebook or YouTube!
David Thomas, also known by his aliases Mr. HiLo and David Stylist, is the barber best known for creating the HiLo Fade which gained global recognition. He designed it to help his friend and fellow professional barber Julius Caesar show off his iconic head tattoo, but when the internet saw its potential it became the style that helped cement his name as a barbering great. David was one of the barbers performing as part of the Barberlife Expo at this year’s Brighton Tattoo Convention, and that’s where I caught up with him for a quick chat.
David became interested in barbering when he was 20 years old receiving barbering training – and it was this formal education that really inspired him to continue cutting hair as a professional. He told me that the HiLo Fade was born from playing around in the barbershop, trying to find the perfect style for displaying Julius Caesar’s inking. Although that trademark style is probably his number one claim to fame, he has also built his reputation by transferring the skills he learnt cutting coarse hair onto all hair types.
Like a lot of the best barbers, David’s satisfaction comes from seeing his customers leave the chair with a smile. As well as making this happen in America he’s been on two trips to Europe, bringing his styles to clients across the world. I asked him if he had any trouble operating American clippers on his first trip to the UK:
“My Wahls would turn on, but they would shake and rattle, and make this weird noise – couldn’t use those … it wasn’t good!”
He also told me that US clippers give a faster, smoother cut than their UK equivalents, or at least they do when they’re working properly! On his second tour he was expecting to have problems again, but I provided a Frequency60Hz converter to solve the problem of power and speed. This certainly did the job, and made everything work as though it was plugged into an outlet back in America. The Frequency60Hz has great benefits for American barbers who want to take their work abroad, and its slick design makes it perfect for using just about anywhere!
My name is Larry Campbell, but you’ll probably know me as Larry the Barber Man – the go to guy for International Converters and great American hair clippers. I’d love to tell you a little bit more about myself, and how I came to get involved in the world of barbering!
The thing that first hooked my interest was discovering the superior quality of U.S. hair clippers. Many years ago I was a frequent traveller, visiting America every six weeks, and this gave me my first chance to experience U.S. clippers – so I started off as a customer, purchasing them to use myself, on my own hair. After initially getting the taste for them I found myself back in America last year, working on a job as a wedding photographer. Again, I had the chance to buy American clippers and, again, I found myself loving the quality of the hair cut I was getting – I keep my head bald, and with the U.K. clippers seemed to find myself constantly cutting my head open!
Of course, back in England there was no way for me to use the clippers effectively, since the power supply offers 50hz, not the 60hz that these clippers need to run properly. I decided to make use of the skills that I had from qualifying with a National Certificate in Electronics and then working as a service engineer for Richer Sounds – I would design a product to solve my problem. Thus the Frequency60hz International Voltage and Frequency Converter was born. This allows barbers anywhere in the world to use US hair Clippers without any of the loud noises or poor performance that you’d normally see. I initially meant it for travellers, but barbers really seem to love it, so here I am!
Once I found myself part of the barbering world I started using the Instagram name U.S. Pro Barber Supplies, until the master barber Kieron Price pulled me to the side and told me that the simply wasn’t going to work for me – it wasn’t memorable enough, and instead he’d been calling me ‘Larry Converter’! I decided to take Kieron’s advice, and discussed it with a close friend, the best-selling business author Shaa Wasmund, recently honoured with an MBE. She gave me a classic title that people could remember: The Barber Man. I simply added Larry!
For me, talking about all aspects of barbering is an important part of my work – that includes pro barbers, clippers and current trends. I’ve come to feel like I am really part of the barbering community, and I am absolutely loving every minute. I believe that if you love doing something then you should make it an ongoing journey, always adding value to that interest. I do this by using my strengths to educate the barbering community – it’s great to see the benefits that I can bring to barbers of all levels by opening their eyes to the endless possibilities now available to them. This can only be achieved by talking about everything associated with the Frequency60hz Converter, and of course that has to include the clippers!
Instagram has become one of my main platforms for spreading the word about my product and networking with other barbers – the community there is huge. It has been instrumental for letting people know about the freedom that can be achieved by using the Frequency60hz converter to power U.S. hair clippers anywhere outside of America. I get countless messages from barbers, and it is truly gratifying to hear how having had the freedom to use U.S. hair clippers in their own part of the world has literally changed the barbering game for them. Knowing that I’m helping barbers in this way will always bring me great satisfaction! If you want to keep up with my work then I strongly encourage you to check out my Instagram page, as that’s where you’ll find the most up to the minute info: https://instagram.com/larrythebarberman.
February 2015 saw the 8th annual Brighton Tattoo Convention, and this year the Barberlife Expo team were there, giving some of the world’s most prestigious barbers a platform on which to demonstrate their talent. The Barberlife Expo is a fantastic yearly event run by Paul Hewitt – the man behind the brand AONO (Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned), and supported by Brad Cowan of the HBAD shop in Bristol. I was lucky enough to be able to join them, letting people know about the Frequency60Hz converter, and sharing the product with the barbers who were there. I also took the opportunity to have a chat with the terrific L.A. barber Julius Caesar.
He told me that he never really made the initial decision to become a barber, instead it was something that he was pushed into when his Mum bought him clippers and told him start cutting hair for all the men in the family. With his own hair to experiment on and his little brother as a guinea pig he was able to teach himself the skills which set him down the path he’s been on ever since – professional barbering.
Julius Caesar is very modest about his skills, and told me that he doesn’t believe clients come to him because he’s the best, but because he sells a lifestyle brand, not just a haircut. Having seen him in action I can say he’s certainly one of the best barbers around right now, but his customer orientated approach is also very important! He credits both his experience of working in retail while at barbering college and his arts background with giving him a meticulous approach – no client leaves the chair until their hair cut is perfect! His new lifestyle orientated barbershop Grey Matter will have these values at its forefront – check out the site here.
He also told me that he loves barbering because it’s such a positive career, in which he is “uplifting people” – maybe even helping people look smart enough to secure a job or meet their future partner! Julius has had many great successes, including opening up his own shop at the age of only 26, and becoming an educator in order to pass his knowledge on to others across the world. However in his eyes his number one achievement to date has been making his Mum proud of him.
When travelling to Tokyo, Julius was faced with the common problem of finding that his American clippers didn’t work properly with the different power supply. This didn’t just cause problems whilst he was in Japan, but also when he got back home – using the clippers with substandard converters meant that they were now broken for good. In contrast, his experience in the UK was “a breeze”: thanks to the Frequency60Hz converter his clippers were able to operate “as they would back in L.A.” Using American clippers while travelling is an important way for him to maintain his standards wherever he travels – and the same is true for many other American barbers.
Karen Quigley started training to cut hair when she was just 16, and although women’s hairdressing really didn’t suit her, men’s barbering was something she really enjoyed. Now she is able to work for herself, running Byron’s Barbershop – a role that she absolutely loves.
As a female barber in the 70s, Karen found that she had several advantages; when the fashion brought in longer styles and highlights, she had the skills from hairdressing. Right now, those hairdressing skills are coming in really handy for cutting the popular pompadour style, which has become the style that Karen is all about! She loves the fact that she can blow dry the pompadour to the height that she wants to get it to without having to rely on hair products.
Karen loves taking inspiration from other barbers on Instagram, following both up and coming youngsters and the vintage barbers. Her current favourite is definitely Carl Classic, from Smiths Barbers, although she also loves following Total Barber and the London Academy of Barbers to see the new professionals and new styles. After 40 years in the business, Karen has seen a lot of changes in the barbering world – going through “some of the worst hairstyles imaginable!” Now she thinks that it’s probably the best time for barbering in the UK, with great styles and – most importantly – a whole lot of passion. I found it especially inspiring to hear how Karen has loved every moment of her job, never once getting tired of it throughout her entire set of 40 years. She told me: “even if I won the lottery I’d still be here!”
She’s also seen the way that barbers are cutting hair change, and confesses that she still can’t get to grips with the idea of starting at the bottom of a fade. For Karen it makes more sense to do it the way she was taught –start with the longer hair and work down – although she certainly doesn’t object to younger barbers finding new ways to cut hair! She gets her inspiration from having lovely clientele, and from always learning from the new barbers that join her shop. I also asked her if she has a “Ninja Trick” to pass on to the new generation, and she gave me some fantastic words of wisdom: “Not a ninja trick as such, I would just say have respect for your clients, look after your clients… keep your shop friendly and be polite. Customer service will keep you up there.”
Recently Byron’s Barbershop has switched to American clippers, and the change has been enormous. The US clippers offer a completely different barbering experience, and Karen believes that they can give a lot more confidence, especially when it comes to fading. She would never go back to her old clippers now, and adds that the Frequency60hz converter is essential for taking the noise level down and ensuring that everything is safe. Her message to other barbers is that if you choose American clippers with a Frequency60hz converter, “you won’t look back”.
As a final question I wanted to hear about Karen’s funniest stories from 40 years of barbering. She told me that often the funniest moment comes from people trying to describe what they want – from the French colleague who used to ask clients “how do have it off” to the men who come in and ask for a “medium” haircut, there are a lot of opportunities for things to get lost in translation!
In February this year I was at the Brighton Tattoo Convention as part of the Barberlife Expo -run by AONO and supported by HBAD – spreading the word about the fantastic Frequency60Hz Converter. As part of the Barberlife Expo some of America’s top barbers were cutting hair, so I took the opportunity to chat with them about their profession… one such barber was Khalil Malamug.
Khalil, a barber based in New Jersey, told me that his career in barbering started with falling in love with the environment of the barbershop as a kid. That great vibe sparked off an interest which stayed with him! He wouldn’t describe himself as having one particular style, but has grown and changed as the fashions and preferred styles have shifted – now he calls himself an overall barber, who specialises in just about every kind of cut.
His satisfaction comes from waking up every morning and knowing that he has the profession he chose, and the freedom to whatever he wants within the barbering world. Khalil also stressed how important it is for him to see the smile on a customer’s face at the end of a cut: “being able to make them smile and make them feel good, and give them the self-confidence to bring their feeling.”
Khalil told me that he was all too aware of the problems that can come from trying to power American clippers without using the Frequency60Hz converter to get the correct performance. He said that the difference in power can have an effect on speed and the ability to properly execute certain styles – but with the Frequency60Hz converter “it really feels like I’m at home … I have my home in my hands.” For an American barber used to using certain clippers and performing certain cuts the importance of being able to bring these tools abroad can’t be underestimated, and that’s why Khalil also had this message for other US barbers considering purchasing the Frequency60Hz converter: “there is no consideration, you’ve got to buy it. You want to be able to perform everywhere you go … you definitely want to buy something that will support your craft.”
Any barber who has tried to run a popular American Hair Clipper such as the Wahl Senior out of the standard UK mains system with a traditional transformer will be all too familiar with the loud banging sound that is generated. It’s a terrible noise of up to 96 decibels, and it can irritate barbers and customers alike, making it sound like equipment is on the verge of breaking down – but why does it happen? Here’s the simple explanation:
Everything that moves can be described as having its own ‘mechanical movement’ – for a human walking it is the pattern of ‘left, right, left, right’ made by our legs; for a kangaroo moving forwards it’s the succession of hops that help it travel. A hair clipper also has its own mechanical movement: inside the case there are two arms – a moving arm and a fixed arm – with the moving arm pinching towards the fixed one, stopping just before it reaches it, and then returning to its original position to start the motion again. As the arm completes this movement, it causes the clipper’s bottom blade to move from left to right, allowing you to cut through the hair. A clipper from America requires 60 hertz to complete this movement, however British power supplies give a frequency of just 50 hertz. As a result, the moving arm does not pull back quickly enough, and instead bangs loudly against the fixed arm – just like a driver failing to hit the brakes in time and bumping into the car in front. You might not expect such a simple change to have such a big effect, but if you’ve ever tried it then you’ll know for yourself just how loud it can be!
Powering the clipper at 60 hertz rather than 50 gives you faster movement and a quicker reaction – allowing the arm to operate as it was designed to. A traditional transformer only changes the voltage and does nothing about the frequency, but when you want your clippers to stop making a loud noise outside of the USA it’s the frequency that is absolutely crucial. A transformer like the Frequency60hz Converter gives this all important 60 hertz speed. As a result you get very smooth performance, with no excessive noise and higher overall performance. If you need more information then don’t forget that you can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find out more at the website www.frequency60hz.com – otherwise, happy cutting!
To follow @larrythebarberman on Instragram click here