Barber Hacks: The Barbers Worst Mistake

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I bought a pair of Wahl Magic Clips today. It’s not the biggest news ever. I have a Wahl Senior that I don’t use much, but I identify as an Andis guy. So why is this big news?

 I already own a million sets of clippers, 2 pairs of Andis Masters, 2 Oster Classic 76s, 1 Oster 10, 1 Wahl Balding Clipper, 2 Oster Fast Feeds, 1 Andis Envy LI, I’m literally drowning in clippers. Buying clippers is a bad habit that I should probably rid myself of.


I recently started trying to learn a new technique, something I haven’t gotten to just right yet, because I didn’t know about it. The technique is called Guard Skipping. This technique probably isn’t a lot of news to a lot of people, it has been around for a LONG time, and is a barber classic. But to me, learning about this technique is like opening up a door and inside of that door is angel choirs and bright lights.

I’ve been one of those barbers with the fade blade on their clippers making hard lines and slowly erasing those hard lines, and I’m pretty good at it when I put my mind to it. I have my system down, and when I use that system my blends look nice.


I’ve seen guard skipping look really nice, and I’ve seen it done with incredible accuracy, and it creates a wicked bald fade really quickly. I’ve been experimenting with the technique for a couple of weeks, to varying results.


It has been hard sucking at something, especially when I have a system that fades NICE.


I am always pushing myself to improve, to beat my bad habits, and put out haircuts that people are proud to wear on their heads. I have a lot of bad habits, and I have a lazy personality that sits under my skin, a part of me that just wants to sit on the couch and eat ho-hos and be a bad barber. I have to fight against this every day. I have to fight to be a good barber because a part of me just wants to be a lazy barber.

The more tools that I have in my arsenal allow me more problem solving abilities.

And, TBH, my mind is like a den a rabid squirrels, if there is something out there involving barbering that I don’t know, it kills me to not know it.


I think, for the moment, that this outlook makes me worse at my day to day job. I have to problem solve more random results as I learn on the job.

I do practice on paying clients. Because I know I can fix most anything, and that I’m not making any major mistakes.

But problem solving, and not having 100 percent control is hard. It is a hard place to be. I’ve been in this game for TOO damn long to feel like this on a day to day, but I make myself do it.


Thanks for asking again. In the last two months I have completely changed the way that I cut hair from the ground up. I have changed the way I fade, I’ve changed how I handle my scissor work. I’ve changed the way I do scissor-over-comb. I’ve changed how I approach a haircut. My mind is constantly in flux. I’m slightly afraid all the time. It gets to me. I have to work twice as hard for the same results.


This is about being a craftsman. This is about being a MASTER. I’ve been cutting hair for sixteen years. 16 years, and at times I feel like I’ve been cutting hair for about a week.

I see results from others using techniques that I don’t know, so I go and sit in that uncomfortable place and I learn how to do it, in hope that it will make me into a better barber.


I don’t know. Maybe it’ll make me worse. I’m afraid of failure just like anyone is. I could just sit in that comfortable place and never grow. That comfortable place is pretty damn nice. Until it isn’t.


I listened to Matty Conrad give a little speech on Instagram Live the other day. I’ll try and sum it up. It had to do with the craft of barbering. At one point in barbering, we’ll say the 70s, 80s, or 90s, long hair became a thing, and during that phase barbers looked at the fad of long hair and said, “Nah, I don’t have to learn that, that’s garbage”, when in truth, barbers collectively didn’t have the skills to cut that type of hair and didn’t bother to learn.

At this point, half of the men walked out of barber shops and into unisex salons and stayed there up until recently, when razor fades and straight razor shaves became something that people wanted again.

Do you want to know how barbers survived during that period? By dropping their prices. This is the reason why barbers are why 10 years ago barbers were charging 10 dollars for haircuts and salons were charging 30 and up for similar services.


My goal for my career is to never have someone walk out of the shop unhappy. This won’t happen, I know that much. Someone is sure to not like my personality, or I’ll have a crappy barber day.


The more I know, the more I can bring to my job, the more I can teach others, the more I can create hair that I want to create. I believe the more that I can bring to this profession, the prouder that I can be in my decision to make it my career.

 I believe that we, as barbers, provide a service that provides value to society, and that we should be compensated for our skills. I believe that, as barbers we are finally fighting for a renewed pride in our industry, and that we are as skilled as ever.


Guard skipping requires a lot of flicking out. Flicking out with accuracy isn’t the easiest thing with a heavy clipper like an Andis Master, MY #1 choice of clipper up until this point. I’ve had some success with my Wahl Senior, as the lever has a smaller action and it is easier to skip the ½ guard and the 1 ½ guard, but the clipper is still too heavy. So...a magic clip it is.

The real point is that I’m trying something new, and whether I fail or not, it is allowing me to grow as a barber, and allowing me to make the choice of whether I want to continue learning the technique or not. And I will continue, even though I’m sure there are going to be haircuts that leave me discouraged.


I want us, as barbers, to continue to learn about our professions, to continue to to be passionate a look forward towards what makes us uncomfortable, and allow ourselves to learn from the past, and to make ourselves comfortable with all the technical aspects of hair, long or short, coarse or fine, straight or curly.

Take this as a challenge to go out and grow yourself, to get out of your comfort zone and to be a better barber.



Here is a tutorial for you guys.

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