Grease Is The Word

December 5, 2011

Yeeeah... not that kind of grease I'm afraid. But oh how I wish it was...
By and large I don't mind a client coming in with a bit of product in his hair, especially if it's light enough to be brushed out. Heck, I don't even mind if he comes in with enough pomade to drown a hamster in in there once he'll let me wash it out first! But I have two pet peeves... the first being people who want a dry cut with a lot of product in their hair. Not only is this bad for my tools, gumming up my scissors and clippers, but the hair also simply won't cut as well. In a way I feel this is a type of karma. I'll explain this to a client, and if he still insists on just a dry cut... well, it's not my fault that your haircut isn't as good as it could be. The hair clumps together, will slip on the scissors edge sometimes, and won't part correctly when I comb and section it. You wouldn't go in for a hot towel shave and cover my hands and razor in chicken fat before letting me bring a blade near your face now would you?!?

But by far, my second peeve is worse. And if you've a sensitive stomach maybe skip the rest!
People with greasy hair. Now I mean reeeaaallly greasy 'haven't-washed-in-a-month-or-two' hair. You think I'm exaggerating, but I'm sad to say not. I really wish I was! I've had clients actually tell me they only wash it every month or so as if that were the normal thing to do. I've had clients who's hair I've sprayed down only for the water to run straight off. I've had to pick out leaves stuck in the hair, try and comb through matted sections and when you 'dry' the hair it still looks soaking wet. These clients are scarce but they are there. It's unpleasant to handle this kind of hair but it's the SMELL that's the worst. It doesn't smell like dirt or anything per ce... it's a unique smell of grease, sebum and natural oils. But old grease, sebum and oils *shudder*. It's very distinctive and grows stronger as I comb the hair, releasing a fresh batch of oil onto the old and heightening the smell. Now you can tell me all you want about how it's good for the hair to 'self cleanse' with it's own oils but if I have to touch it and smell it then I want it to be clean. If you hair makes me gag, and I've had that happen on occasion, then I'm going to want you out of my chair asap. So the cut will be quick and will be minimal. Ask any barber to tell you honestly and they will say the same. I've worked with one barber who was pregnant and she literally couldn't stomach it sometimes, and when she could, she'd have to wear gloves. Now I know that would be embarrassing for the client, to have their barber wearing plastic gloves, and I've yet to get that far luckily, but could you blame us? I don't want to give the impression I work in a low-class barbershop. I actually work in a very nice one and you'd be surprised the types of gents who seem to forget about the top 5% of themselves when washing! So please... either wash your own hair thoroughly or pay the extra bit for us to introduce your follicles to detergent and don't ask for just a dry cut! If you are concerned about the SLS and chemicals in shampoos then look around and find some natural shampoos in your local health store. Your barber will be happy to use your own shampoo if you bring it in.
Be clean and glorious - not as if you lost a fight with a turkey baster!
- BE


Bit2 said...

I actually go to a beautician here in Ohio,(USA).
A dry cut is not an option, always a wash first.

As a man, I find it hard to believe that any male would NOT let a woman wash his hair.
Something sensual about it, I guess.

Maybe offer something like a Tea Shampoo, from Fantasia. Mild & Natural.


Clarke said...

During the few months that Nancy cut my hair, she remarked how she enjoyed cutting clean hair for a change. I figured dirty hair was a local thing as we have a lot of farmers and outdoor types in the community. Guess I was wrong!

I don't recall ever being asked by any barber if I wanted a dry or wet cut, although Nancy did ask if it was alright if she could cut my hair wet. If I remember correctly, as a boy growing up in Chicago, the union barber shops only gave dry cuts. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a wet cut until I was an adult and out of the navy.

Barber Eile's Blog said...

Bit2: Unfortunatly I'm stuck using what my employer provides. But maybe someday when I have my own place I'll have an option of shampoo types... someday :)
Clarke: Yup, most barbershops over here charge a little extra for a shampoo/wash so there's always the wet/dry cut options.

Clarke said...

Some ordinary barbershops here will do a shampoo if you ask. It's usually on their price lists. I'm sure shops employing stylists or cosmetologists do more shampoos. I've always frequented what would be considered old fashioned barbershops. Over the years, some barbers have given me a wet cut, and some a dry cut, but I've never been asked which I prefer. I've always let the barber cut my hair, wet or dry, as he wishes.

Where I now live (Florida, USA), there is a difference between barbers, hair stylists, and cosmetologists, although they all cut hair. The difference is in training and licensing requirements. The requirements can vary from state to state and sometimes from county to county within a state. Is it the same in Ireland?

Barber Eile's Blog said...

Hi Clarke:
Unfortunatly there is no licencing laws in Ireland. If you own a scissors you can open a shop and work.
It's pretty terrifying to think of all of the people working out there with no idea of health and safety, nor only for the customer's sake but for themselves too.

Clarke said...

Yes, the requirements here are quite different. Sometimes, the license amounts to nothing more than paying a fee, such as buying a county occupational license to legally open a business. Other times there are tests involved. Here's one Florida requirement for barbershops: If your business employs at least one licensed master barber, you can call your business a barber shop. If your business employs only cosmetologists, you can't use the word "barber shop" in its name. However, you can still use the name barber, such as "BE's Barbering and Styles". Of course, just because one's met the minimum requirements to be a barber, doesn't necessarily mean he's an expert in all aspects of barbering and always follows health and safety regulations. Periodic checks of shops are performed.

Post a Comment