June 19th, 2017
Barbering in the world of make-up is becoming a skill that any budding Make-up Artist must have. The demand to be both barber and beautifier is becoming even more prevalent in the TV, Film & Theatre world. So where do you begin your journey towards being a barber on set and what tools, tips and tricks do you need to become a cut above the rest?
Scissors, clippers and combs at the ready for your whistle stop tour of the ins and outs of the barber shop.
Before you get into fancy fades and beautiful buzz cuts, it is important to learn the basics of cutting men’s hair, from how to hold scissors – it’s not as easy those nimble fingered masters make it look – to how to figure which clipper guard does what: the world of barbering is a hair raising minefield.
Getting a strong knowledge of the basics of barbering will set you up to move on to more technical skills. Courses such as West Thames College Introduction to Barbering is a Level 1, 10 week course that equips you with a well-honed skill set. Its repetitive training method allows you to do the same technique again and again until you nail it, whilst still learning new things each week. Once you’ve bagged the basics, you can brush up your skills and, if you fancy learning to fade, The London School of Barbering is your place. Their 1 Week Clipper Fading Course lets you leave not only with the finest fading techniques, perfect for those period war films, but confident working on real people. On Day One, a client arrives in the barber’s chair…the barber being you. The experienced tutor’s hands-on approach will build your confidence when entering a crowd room, for example, to pick up those scissors and to create a wonderful mop chop.
Now you’ve got the skills you need the tools, but before you rush in like Edward Scissor hands you must cover your actor’s or client’s clothing. Check out the custom cutting gowns from ArtInstitchtute (from £20.24). Not only are they individual and stylish, they won’t go missing on the Make-up bus or crowd room.
When buying the best tools to help you create some crisp cuts, the barber’s best friend is Wahl. With over 90 years of cutting calibre, Wahl is a staple brand in any top chop barber’s kit and for good reason. The Wahl Cordless Magic Clip (£101.99) takes all the best features of the popular mains clipper and wraps them up in a lightweight cordless package, meaning you can move around the bus with ease not getting tangled up in wires, yet you can also take them on set if for some reason you need to do a super quick cut. Coming with guards, this is a machine that will be with you to the end of time.
Scissors are just as important as clippers, if not more so, with some barbers preferring to do a whole hair cut with a pair of thinning scissors. Investing in scissors for a barber is like a runner investing in their trainers; they will get used all day every day so they need to be robust and super sharp. While Japanese scissors are definitely higher up on the price scale, they are definitely worth it. The Osaka A5 Barber’s Scissors (£133) are our favourites. Premium large size barbers scissor with longer blades with an Offset handle provides a comfortable grip and great control, allowing you to create beautiful continuity haircuts again and again.
When working in film, TV, theatre and male grooming, trimming fuzz comes as part of the package. In particular, for Period work where the style facial hair defined the era, having the right razor that can create everything from mutton chops to a soul patch is key.
Check out the Phillips One Blade (from £39.99), as it can take the edge off a bushy beard or create baby smooth skin, cutting as close as a wet shave without the fear of doing a Sweeney Todd on your actor. The blade has to be replaced once every four months and is a brilliant alternative to chuck-aways that can create in-growing hairs, not something you want on your leading man.
In HD even the tiniest hair can be seen, so to keep the perfect shape a top industry tip is to use the Phillips Precision Facial Trimmer. Its minute blades allow you to create a defined shape and for any naughty nose hairs wanting to say hello.
For thicker hair, such as Afro hair, getting a really smooth finish make take something a little stronger such as using the Remington Foil Trimmer (£14.49). The foil acts as a gentle sandpaper on the skin getting rid of even the strongest 5 o’clock shadow.
So once you have chopped, trimmed and shaved, you need to remove those pesky loose hairs from your actor, which is not as easy as it seems. They are everywhere and you don’t want a close up of a loose beard hair to ruin your work. A Talcum Powder Blower (£7) is all you need to rid your actor of itchy strays; use with a Denman neck brush (£8.50) and he is ready to step on stage hair free.
Aftercare is key to maintaining your actor’s skin, especially on a long run. Using Tend Skin (from £12.95) (image 9) right after shaving, although it may cause a few squeals, will keep those pesky in-growing hairs at bay. Likewise keeping skin supple is just as important, Warpaint loves Gentlemen’s Chuckaboo’s Formula 10 moisturiser (£24.99). It is made in Leeds, the UK barbering capital, by two men with the best beards we’ve ever seen. The fantastic formula is made from all natural ingredients, does not dry the skin and leaves a lovely matte finish, perfect on camera. And to keep the beard looking bright and bushy using a beard oil is your best bet, London Beard Company provide the industry and barbers alike with lightweight, luscious oils to condition and support skin and hair.
Taking it Further:
So once you’ve got your training, your tools and your products, the world is your oyster. You can continue the world of barbering both on and off set and to sink your teeth into the ever growing industry shows such as Barber Connect are a showcase for the most talented Barbers the UK has to offer. They’re a great place for any budding barber or Make-up Artist looking to brush up their knowledge and bulk out their kit.