Unlike women who often arrive at the salon with inspirational hair photos ready, and research about their preferred look, most men have the opposite approach. Whether they’re allowing their barber to take the lead, telling their stylist to “cut it short” or want to recreate the style they’ve grown accustomed to, some men haven’t had the chance to truly see their hair’s full potential—until now.
“Being in lockdown gave men the opportunity to grow out their hair and see what they look like with longer styles,” says Demo Pedulla, a North American ambassador for Reuzel and owner of Bloke & Burd in Dorval, Que. “The next time they’re in your chair, take the opportunity to encourage them not to ruin what they’ve created. Try something like ‘Your hair is at this length, so let’s work with this and see your natural texture.’”
Words of Encouragement
While listening to your clients’ requests is an important part of being a good barber or hairstylist, you also shouldn’t be afraid to suggest new things.
“I’m all about encouraging my clients,” says Matula Liounis, an all-star educator for American Crew and stylist at Chez Cheveux in London, Ont. “Ultimately I’m going to do what they want, but a lot of my clients take my advice. My main goal is to make men look good, feel good and stand out. A lot of guys have no idea that they have this beautiful natural texture underneath the short haircut they always wear, and it’s my job to help them embrace and enhance it.”
As a barber, Pedulla says he feels that it’s part of his job to help his clients to step out of their comfort zone. “When a client sits in my chair and I just ask him what he wants to do and what he likes, it doesn’t really make me the professional; it just makes me someone who follows instructions really well,” he says. “When my client tells me something about his hair that gives him difficulty, I try to focus on that and give him options for solving the issue.”
PRO TIP: PEDULLA SAYS WHEN DRYING YOUR MALE CLIENTS’ HAIR, USING A BLOW DRYER THAT GIVES A MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF SPEED WITH MEDIUM HEAT IS IDEAL. ANYTHING TOO HOT ON MEN’S HAIR (WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO STYLE IT NATURALLY) CAN OVERDRY IT.
According to Pedulla, when a shorter haircut grows out, it can end up looking awkward on a lot of men. “It can be really top-heavy and have a lot of weight in the wrong places,” he says. “You need to start explaining to your clients that different elements like textured layers, slicing and point-cutting will give them the weight where they need it and volume where they want it, while removing some of the bulk. You can show them that with a bit of fine- tuning, they can have a great [longer] hairstyle that gives them everything they want while leveraging their natural texture.”
“I always say that when working with the natural movement of someone’s hair, it’s actually easier for them to style when it has a bit more length than when it’s cut short,” Pedulla adds. “In a way, working from home has been great for exploring different hair options and experimenting with a more relaxed look.”
“TOOLS ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. IT’S LIKE A CHEF WITH GREAT KNIVES—WHETHER YOU’RE USING SCISSORS OR FEATHERING BLADES, QUALITY IS IMPORTANT. WHEN IT COMES TO ADDING TEXTURE, YOU WANT A BLADE THAT’S GOING TO SLICE WITHOUT PULLING OR BREAKING THE HAIR.” — DEMO PEDULLA, REUZEL AMBASSADOR AND OWNER OF BLOKE AND BURD, DORVAL, QUE.
Waves and Curls
While some clients with shorter or finer hair are looking to add more volume or texture to their locks, some will already have naturally textured hair, such as thick waves.
“A lot of male clients with texture-rich wavy hair tell me they like their waves, but they don’t know what to do with them,” says Liounis. “I always educate them and give them the proper haircut that will enhance their natural style. For these looks, a feather razor is my tool of choice. I always target the way I want the hair to fall, and recommend products to these clients so they can maintain their new look.”
While curls aren’t as easily managed as their wavy counterparts, Pedulla says there are numerous tips for controlling them. “Some clients tell me their hair is too curly and their curls get out of control when their hair grows out,” he says. “My first offer is to relax the hair—not to remove the curls but just to loosen them [with a smoothing service] so they can get more controlled.”
PRO TIP: LIOUNIS SUGGESTS TEXTURIZING HAIR MORE IF IT LOOKS OR FEELS TOO BULKY IN CERTAIN AREAS. SHE SAYS THAT SINCE MEN TYPICALLY HAVE LESS OF THEIR FACE/HEAD COVERED BY HAIR, DETAILING—ESPECIALLY AROUND THE NECKLINE AND EARS—IS VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT STANDS OUT MORE.
When working with Type 4 or coily, textured hair, Liounis likes to use clippers and a wide-tooth comb that can easily get through it.
“Afro hair is all about shape; it’s very visual,” she says. “When working with very coarse or Black hair, it’s important to use products with a lot of moisture that will enhance the client’s natural texture and control frizz. I always pay close attention to the curl pattern both at and away from the scalp, as clients with this hair type need a lot of moisture and care.”
Keep in Mind
Although encouraging your male clients to enhance their natural texture and grow out their hair may result in fewer visits to the salon, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“I like to offer ‘tune ups’ to my male clients, where they come back to the salon two weeks after their haircut so we can revisit the textured area I cut
into. It just takes five minutes and it helps maintain their texture. And if you help them maintain it, they’ll keep the look for longer and keep coming back to you. I personally don’t charge for this because my price is already a bit higher than the average barber, so the service is essentially built in but the clients always tip anyway. Another way to increase the client ticket, even if they’re coming to the salon less often, is to recommend more products. When they have longer hair, they need more products. By the end of the year, it should all balance out.” — Matula Liounis, American Crew all-star educator and stylist, Chez Cheveux, London, Ont.
“When it comes to the consultation, ask questions like, ‘How do you like to wear your hair? What are some things you like/dislike about your hair?’ Get
a good understanding of your client, find out what their problem areas are and how you can fix them. When you start giving guys a plan, you give them a little more headway of where you’re going and you’re creating a client for life. They will stick with you until you get where you need to go (and beyond).” — Demo Pedulla, Reuzel ambassador and owner of Bloke and Burd, Dorval, Que.
American Crew TechSeries Boost Spray
This styling prep spray enhances waves and natural texture by adding volume to your male clients’ looks.
Reuzel Grooming Tonic
A liquid formula that helps coat the hair and acts like a primer, with a natural memory hold that takes to whatever shape you want it to.