Hair today, Gone tomorrow…

Every other weekend I like to frequent the barbers for either a shape up or a trim and after a recent mini rant on twitter regarding the logic behind weaves and the “style” women chose to have… I thought it’d be good to go a little deeper.

Just so you know, having had long hair for the better part of seven years and gone through various hairstyles (both amazing and some truly ill-advised), I am not writing this from a perspective of “what does he know?” I happen to be able to speak knowing what both worlds are like and the mentality required to sustain both.

So… Let’s begin…

The relationship between a man and his barber is very close. To trust another man/woman (in some cases) with the crown of your head (your haircut) is most serious. After all, the first thing you see when you meet most people is their face, followed by their hair. It defines you – it must do because consciously or otherwise, we would not feel so confident in new trims and shape-ups and well, ladies would not take such pride in a new hair style.

That, however; is where the similarities seem to end. I posed the question earlier this week… ‘Has anyone ever thought of being a “weave consultant”?!’ As ludicrous as this may sound, it came to my attention (while beholding what I believed to be an ill-advised hair style) that the bond between a man and his barber is very much different to the bond between a woman and her hairdresser. I’ve been fortunate enough to have both (in all capacities -will explain someday) so I hope I can present my views on the subject in an objective manner.

Let’s get into the meat of the matter: motive and motivation. For men and women alike, the motive for a fresh trim/hairstyle is one and the same: To look good. The motivation for a style differs however. Once upon a time, you could walk into a barber shop and point to a number on a poster for the latest “kriss kross”/Kid & Play/S-Curl trim and your barber would happily oblige. Nowadays, any chemical treatment is left to salons or barbers that share premises with a hairdresser.

Contrary to societal logic, the barber is now more of a hair consultant than the hairdresser. Every man knows a barber that can cut his hair cheaper or more expensive but every man will willingly travel the necessary distance to see his barber. But WHY?! After all, barbers have fairly competitive prices and the prices are uniform (e.g., my barber will charge £5 for a shape up & £8 for a trim). The reasoning is simple… The barber is also a hair consultant; the hairdresser is still an enabler – nothing more (in most cases) than an instrument to exact your wishes.

A barber knows his client’s head… He recognises that there are TWO crowns on everybody’s head, that what his client wants is not necessarily what looks good on him. How could you respect any man’s recommendation of his barber if he gives him a low fade when the back of his head looks like “Alien”?! Most guys I know can walk into their barber and say, “I’m not really sure what I want but make it good” and the ones that can’t say that are the ones that you’ll find always wearing hats because if they took it off… Boi….

Women, on the other hand, have a difference in mentality which is reflected in the service they receive from their hairdressers. They want to look “fashionable” which they WRONGLY assumed to be synonymous with “looking good”. They go in with hairstyles they have seen look good on different celebrities and expect their hairdresser to execute that style on their head. How can you respect any woman’s recommendation of her hairdresser when the outline of the weave is so circular you could calculate Pi by drawing a radius from between her eyebrows to her hairline?! The hairdressers, being the business(wo)men they are, take full advantage of this and it is reflected by their tiered pricing system.

The biggest difference between corn rows, braids/extensions & weave is the degree of manipulation afforded by weave. Because rows & braids have to respect hairlines and (to an extent) head shape; the appeal to create truly “unique” hairstyles with weave offer some great advantages and some perilous disadvantages.

Pricing is tiered according to degree of difficulty and time consumed. It is also further compounded by the fact women can request/demand a particular style that they’ve seen elsewhere (falsely assuming it will look good on them – notice how I keep hammering this point) and any good business(wo)man will rarely turn down an opportunity to make a maximum profit. If you want a style that does not suit you (and the hair professional SHOULD know this otherwise why are they a professional?); then you should be discouraged from said style. If it costs more (time, effort & materials) to execute it, then why not charge the customer and make a healthy profit?

It is for this reason that you’ll often find that men make very good hairdressers. They can offer the insight into hairstyles (combined with a knowledge of the customers aesthetic features) to provide a sound and PROFESSIONAL opinion on what to get.

If, as a lady, you can walk to your hairdresser and tell him/her to do whatever they feel is best on your head then kudos to you… You have chosen well, if you cannot; ask yourself why…

Likewise for men… If you can NOT ask your barber to trim you in a way s/he thinks would best suit you; then you need to question whether you can trust you barber to trim you at all.

I purposely chose to ignore ladies who have had their hairlines, hair consistency, etc altered due to medical circumstances or those beyond their control. There are solutions available but that’s best left for another blog…

Just remember…

Your hair is the crown of your head… People will (rightly or wrongly) include it in how they form an impression of you so bear that in mind…

There is more to price than how much it costs…