Time for Some Grooming!

Social gatherings are more intimate occasions. That’s true not just emotionally, but also physically. People stand close together, and aren’t super distracted by their phones or papers, and tend to notice more features on someone’s face. Including your own.

That makes this the perfect time of year to fix some common grooming mistakes. Don’t feel bad if you’re making any or all of these — just take steps to fix them! Most are needs that don’t develop until after puberty, so none of us really got a chance to build the good habits early in life. Play catch-up now by identifying and eliminating these common grooming mistakes!

There’s nothing wrong with a sweet ‘stache or a big ol’ beard, at least as long as your workplace allows them, but a messy one? You’ll want to avoid that so you can maintain that professionalism. Trim the edges of beards and mustaches into shape on a daily basis. You know how guys without beards look scruffy and scraggly if they skip shaving for more than a day? That’s happening to the edges of your beard, too!

You don’t need to do anything fancy on this one. Just go lightly over the edges of your facial hair with a trimmer and the appropriate guide comb, cutting everything back to a uniform length and making sure the outline (where the hair ends and naked skin begins) is nice and crisp. It’s the difference between “sexy lumberjack,” which is a fantasy, and “hobo” which is more realistic, but decidedly less alluring. You want to look like you’d be natural holding an axe, not a shiv made with a thrown out plastic fork.

Should you trim your stubble?  Yes, men who sport the stubble look need to know how to keep it in check. Contrary to popular belief, the stubble and five o’ clock shadow is now an appearance men can use! However, men who prefer this look must know how to maintain it.  To make stubble work, keep it trim. Just because you have stubble doesn’t mean you are off the hook for maintaining it. That’s what causes you to look sloppy. To avoid the look like you partied too hard the night before, well-kept stubble is a must.  Use a stubble guard or a shorter guide when trimming your stubble.

Now… about those eyebrows. Does this one sound really pathetically nit-picky to you? Think again, what is one of the first things someone notices about your face? Usually the eyes, right? What are right above them? Human beings use them to express a wide range of emotions, and people will take notice. That makes a couple minutes of at-home trimming one of the best time investments you’ll make this year. Eyebrow threading can do an even better job, but at the very least use some trimmers to tidy up the outline of each brow and make a clear separation above the bridge of your nose.

Remember how Bert of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street always came across as the more fussy, easily flustered one? Yeah, part of that visual coding was his oversized, drawn-together eyebrows. Think about it.

There are more grooming mistakes and fixes coming soon!

Time for a Little More Grooming!

Take care of everything from the previous post? Good, now you can do some more!

Have you ever been talking to someone, and swear you could braid their nose hairs? So gross, and so easy to avoid! It’s literally thirty seconds with a trimmer to remove this incredibly unsightly element from your face. Dudes, please remember: the taller you are, the more people are looking up your nose instead of at it. That means tall guys especially need to be vigilant about their nose hairs. Trim them back so no one’s staring at those weird, scraggly hairs when they should be admiring your face. Trim the nose hairs. Just do it.

Now what about those ear hairs? Same theory as nose hairs, although it’s now the side-on view you’re worried about rather than the straight-up view. Once again, we’re talking less than a minute to trim, every few days or weeks depending on your hair growth. Well worth the time. The general rule of thumb for both nose and ear hairs is straightforward: the ends shouldn’t be visible. Trim them back until they’re not. That means trimming the hairs off inside the rim of the relevant opening, but you don’t have to go any deeper than that. When it comes to ears especially, you don’t want to; just trim the tips and call it a day.

If you like to zone out with a newspaper while your barber does his thing, you may not have noticed the work he does along the back of your neck. Most haircuts involve neatening up the nape, which is the bottom outline where your haircut ends, usually on the back of the neck. Guys with hairy backs will want to make sure their hairs aren’t creeping up to join the nape, or worse yet to be visible above the collar but below a naked, shaven strip of skin. Case in point, I always make sure my barber takes care of my nape.

However, any man can shave his neck at home with trimmers – the advantage here is you can work this 30-second job into your schedule and have the convenience of not having to travel across town for a touch-up before a special event. That keeps growth even and prevents the nasty “my back hairs and my haircut are engaged in trench warfare” divide along the back of the neck. Shaven smooth back there is the best way to go, from the point where your haircut ends all the way under your shirt collars.

Men with side parts, take heed: your hair is not supposed to be curling around and sticking itself into your ears. If your hair is at the length where it starts invading your ears, use a little product to either slick it back or help it curve around the ears in a nice, natural-looking arch. Ideally, your whole ear should be visible on both sides, but if you want to hide some of it, do it with hairs that end behind or beneath the ear, not in or on it. If product isn’t doing the trick, it’s time to trim it up. The good news is that you don’t’ have to wait for your next barber visit to keep your hair looking clean or sharp. When the hair starts to go over your ears, it’s a warning sign to pull out a clipper and tidy things up. Well made clippers have a number of guide combs to clean up around your ears as well as cut and blend the back, sides and top of your hair. This gives you the opportunity to extend the life of you haircut.

Follow some of these tips, and take care of it now before summer gets in full swing and you start heading out to barbecues and other parties!

You’ve Got the Shop, Now to Get the Money

Back in the day, barbershops were owned and operated by men for the sole reason of shaving or trimming down a man’s beard. Barber, surprisingly enough, comes from the Latin word that means “beard.” Today, there is still definitely that service to men, but there are also other services as well. Coloring, trimming, and styling hair is also performed inside of barbershops now, and catered to both men and women.

Do you want to start making money? Make sure that you found a location where there is not much nearby competition, and that it hits your target market. For instance, if you are setting up a barbershop that specializes in children haircuts, you want to find an area that would attract parents to bring their kids. Being close to an elementary school would work for that situation.

To keep the money coming, ensure you are following any and all requirements put forth by the state. This may mean having a proper airflow through the shop so clients don’t have to breathe in any chemicals from different hair products, or keeping disinfectant containers near each chair in the shop. If customers notice you aren’t staying up to code, they most likely will not return for their own well-being. So keep those instruments sterilized by cleaning after each use, and sweeping up all that dirt and hair from the floor to keep your barbershop in the most immaculate state possible.

But wait, there’s more opportunity! It cannot be stressed enough that you only hire licensed barbers to work in your shop. Not only that, but they should be a great people person, and have awesome customer service skills. When you hire barbers like this, not only are you adding a valuable asset to your team, but someone who will guarantee repeat business by building relationships with your customers. Good, old loyalty.

The next couple steps may cost money, but the return on investment could be a huge payoff for you and your business. Advertise your shop in your local newspaper or even radio station, fliers are even a great way to spread awareness. Checking with your county and looking to place and ad in the next telephone book is also a great way to pull in new customers. To really get business going, advertising campaigns are going to be needed, so plan for this.

Another point of interest in building a client book for your business is once again social media. Creating a website and collecting some basic data from your customers or potential clients is a great way to start. Get some e-mail addresses and send out a newsletter once or twice a month to inform your customers on beauty and hairstyle trends, as well as adding in valuable coupons they can redeem. It can bring them back in to your shop and make them think they are getting what they paid for. Again, don’t forget about Facebook and Twitter, as you can use these to do contests or talk about new services your shop will begin offering. You can even get feedback and have a conversation with your customers. All in all, this will help you build that base and reach that profit margin you are looking for!

The Summer Beard

It’s hot, it’s humid, and you have enough hair on your face that someone thinks you have a small animal hanging out under your nose. They will ask questions like “isn’t that hot?” or “how can you have a full beard in the summer?” It isn’t easy, I’ll tell you that. For a long time, beards were definitely a seasonal thing, being grown out fully in the winter months to protect the face from the harsh cold of winter. Beards have become a year-round staple now, so what do you do when you want to keep it during the hottest months of the year?

First and foremost, you’ll want to protect your beard from the sun’s rays, especially because science is beginning to show a beard during the summer can offer some protecting for the skin underneath! Yep, you heard that right. Beards are a natural UV ray blocker! You’ll want to make sure it is as healthy as can be, and the sun can dry out your beard hair, making it weak. You may want to invest in a leave-in sunscreen spray for protection. Sunscreen for your sunscreen, ya dig?

Now, you may want to consider slimming it down for summer. No, I don’t mean your body I mean your beard! I know this tip may get some boos from the owners and lovers of beards, but sometimes it is just way too hot out to have so much fuzz on the face. Take an electric shaver with a guard, and cut it down to a desired length. You’ll feel refreshed and almost lighter, to be honest. Just don’t mess up so you don’t have to start all over again!

You’ll want to also try and keep your beard soft throughout the summer months. Your beard hair tends to be a lot rougher than the rest of the hair on your body, and this leads to it feeling uncomfortable. The dreaded beard itch, if you know what I am talking about. Your skin can sometimes flare-up underneath all that hair if it is left alone and you aren’t using the right products. This is especially bad during summer, since your skin has already been bombarded by the sun and water from either the beach or your local pool. You’ll want to get a beard conditioner and run it through before you go to bed, this will help bring back that softness and even a nice shine. You may want to also grab a skin moisturizer and use it along the beard line, skin can get irritated easily in this area. Last but not least, use a beard oil after your morning face wash, keeps your beard frizz-less throughout your day.

When you sweat, your beard hair can trap all those minerals that come out of your pores and dry out your skin rapidly. This can also happen from salt water and chlorine in pools when you do your swimming during those super hot days. You’re going to want to make sure you scrub your beard out well, basically exfoliate the skin underneath. It’s a little difficult to master, but by giving the skin underneath your beard hair a good scrub, and getting rid of all that dead skin, you will feel great, and avoid the itchy beard again. Trust me, it’s something you’ll want to do.

I keep a beard year-round, and have always looked for ways to keep my beard looking healthy during those really hot months. These are some of my favorite tips, and hopefully you can enjoy a year-long beard as well!

Summer Hair

It’s getting close to summer, and time to start thinking about how you’re going to take care of your hair. You know the weather is about to get warm, and you’re going to be outdoors a lot more, so what is your game plan? Your hair and scalp are both very prone to being damaged by the sun, so the challenge is to protect it. I’ve got a few tips here on how to care for and protect your hair and scalp during the summer.

A fresh cut never hurt anyone, especially right around the start of summer. You’ll keep cooler by having less hair trapping the heat on your scalp and back of your neck. You can always do a short buzz cut, but I know some people like to keep it a bit longer, so my advice here is to just make sure it’s off your neck, letting it breathe. Now, if you do want to go the short route, I wouldn’t say that you should shave your head completely. Having hair on top of your scalp does protect it from sunburn, which can cause all sorts of trouble for your hair in general. Scalp sunburns can lead to itching, dandruff, and increased hair fall out.

Speaking of your scalp, you’ll want to protect that as much as you can from sunburn. Though it is less likely to get burned if you have hair on top of your head, you can still get sunburned. Especially on the top of your head, or if you have thin hair. Your scalp is also very prone to skin cancer, so you really want to protect it. Use a little bit of sunscreen, and massage it in to your scalp. You can even find styling products that have an SPF rating. If you can’t use sunscreen or can’t find one, a hat is also a very good choice for sun protection.

Oh wait, you already got sunburn on your scalp? Oops, but not to worry! Luckily, there are ways to treat a scalp burn. You want to make sure that you treat your scalp very gently, use a soft brush to prevent scratching and causing a delay in the healing process. Make sure to avoid any styling products that have alcohol in them, this can cause your scalp to dry out and be a real pain for you. Do not pick or scratch at it if it starts to peel, either! This can lead to an infection, and then you will really be wishing you remembered that sunscreen.

So, your scalp is recovered, and now you want to go to the pool. You’re going to want to protect your hair from that good old chemical, chlorine. That stuff can damage your hair, leaving it feeling dry and looking it, too. You’ll want to make sure not to wash your hair before going to the pool, that way your hair retains its natural oils to protect it. When you go to the pool, a pool cap is your safest option to protect your hair from chlorine, but if you don’t want to wear one, just make sure to wash your hair when you get home.

Finally, during the summer, your hair traps in the sweat and dust from outside against your scalp. You’ll want to shampoo often to keep it clean, but do not shampoo daily. That can strip your hair of essential oils that keep it healthy.

The summer is a great time to go outside and enjoy yourself, but make sure to take care of your hair and scalp, that way you can have healthy summer hair!

So You Graduated Barber School… Now What?

The first thing you’re going to look in to doing is finding a chair in a nearby barbershop or salon. This will help get your feet wet, and so you can see the business from the inside. Now, as time goes on, you may start thinking about starting your own business. Your entrepreneurial spirit burns to have a place of your own, and you believe the time is coming to become the owner of a barbershop.

What is the path to becoming a business owner in the barbering industry?

You’re going to want to begin formulating a plan, but you’re going to want to start by talking with your clients that sit in your current chair. These folks will be your first steps! Ask them about what could be changed, or what they really enjoy about the place you are currently working. Make sure to take in to account your current and/or previous employers did for their clients, too.

Next thing you are going to want to do is check out your state’s licensing requirements. With the state of Arkansas, a lot of these requirements are met when attending a barber school. From taking the classes, to working an apprenticeship, these can be done while attending a barbering college.

Following that, the next steps you’ll want to take are building a business plan and location, location, location. Building the business plan is fairly straightforward; just determine the operating costs and the start-up costs. Marketing, licensing, leasing, etc. As for finding a location, the choice is up to you! Make sure to be mindful of your local competition and their relation to where you decide is the perfect spot for your business. You can go the route of building from scratch if you choose, but the easier route would be to find an empty spot to lease. This cuts out the need to go to a zoning board or get any sort of building permits.

Before getting your salon ready for inspection, look in to hiring a lawyer to review the lease agreements with, making sure the owner of the building and you are aware of who is responsible for what. Bringing on an accountant is also sound advice, that way to help with the tax law when it comes to your employees.

Now, to begin prepping for the inspection you will want to have plenty of equipment and supplies on hand. Check all public safety, sanitation, and licensing requirements, and contact the local Health Department to schedule an inspection. Your State Board may require you to have an examination performed by them as well. Check on that.

So you passed, great job!

Now it is time to hire some licensed barbers for you shop and fill those chairs! Make sure they are well groomed, and look the part, a dress code is a good way to maintain the professional image you want to put off. While discussions between employees are great, make sure to encourage your hair stylists to leave the gossip at the door.

After all is said and done, you’ve got your own business up and running. Hold yourself a grand opening, and see about putting a press release out in the local paper to get buzz about your business. Do NOT forget about your online presence. Social media is a huge drive now a days for business, so a Facebook or Twitter would be great for your business, along with a user-friendly website.

Good luck out there!

Want to know more about how to get started? Check out more articles on that here!

Make Those Profits!

Hair salons cater to women, but women are not the only ones who want to look good; men want to look good, too! This is where barbershops come in, as they tend to focus on male clients. There can be some difficulty in making a profit in these small business barber shops, but if you approach the different aspects of the business with a good plan and a serious drive, you can succeed.

First thing’s first, you want to make sure your barbershop is up to local and state guidelines for cleanliness and legal measures, just like other cosmetologists. At first you may not think this can have an effect, but it definitely can. Have you ever walked in to a place and it was unkempt and filthy? I have a feeling you didn’t stay, or if you did that first time, you did not go back.  This is how customers can feel if they come in to your barbershop and it isn’t up to the code of cleanliness. Not to mention this can also lead to you being fined or even losing your permits and licenses to even run your business! So make sure to take care of your shop and stay on top of extra seminars that can really show your customers you mean business and are one of the better shops in town.

Like with any business, you want to understand the market before trying or changing any sort of new market strategy to try and get new or repeat business. Check out what other competitors are doing, and what kind of demographics are in your community. Base your strategy off of the results you get from studying and researching the market. How did a client hear of you? Make sure to ask them that when they come in for the first time, and don’t be afraid to change your strategy up if you see a significant change in demographics. Also, don’t forget to take the average income bracket in to consideration when deciding how much to charge for your services.

Remember earlier where I spoke about keeping your barbershop kept up? That wasn’t just about cleaning up hair and dust. No, you also want to keep your paperwork and supplies in order as well. Organization is key to helping your profit margin. When paperwork is done and filed correctly, there are less chances of bills being misplaced, and therefore forgotten, and you can keep your books in order to avoid any unnecessary errors that could cause issues for you financially. As for supplies, when they are organized correctly, you can get a better view of your stock, and there will be less inventory issues when it comes to selling and buying more products. You want to be more efficient, as this leads to more profit.

Getting to know vendors is a big deal, as you will definitely need different supplies for your shop. This can be anything from scissors, to razors, hair care products, you name it. If you can buy in bulk, you can save some serious money, just make sure you have the room for it and not overcrowd! See the point on ORGANIZATION. Another benefit to building a good relationship with a vendor is for the potential to purchase items on short-term credit, or building a commission based structure for selling a vendor’s products.

So you’ve got a bunch of profits now, what next? Hoard all that cash? While that is a nice idea, you should really think of setting some aside as an investment in to the future of your business. How much you set aside is completely up to you, but it will definitely help. You never know when a rough patch could hit, and business slows down. Having some emergency funds will be great to keep you sailing, and not having to borrow money to stay afloat. Or maybe you’ve been eying that larger location in another part of town so you can expand your business?

As a shop owner, you have the say about who you want to help your business succeed. Your employees are your first line of offense when it comes to building and growing the barbershop. Finding barbers who are currently in an apprenticeship program or are fully licensed is great from a legal view, but it is also important to find people who have a very colorful personality. People love to talk when they sit in the barber chair, so having a barber who can chat back with the client it a sure plus. Make sure to set clear guidelines with your employees, and hold them accountable so the shop operates without a hitch.

Gotta Keep That Hair Strong

Hair’s dead, baby, hair’s dead.  However, that does not mean we should not take care of the stuff that covers our body and scalp. If you are like me, having heavy and oily hair can be extremely bothersome, but there are ways to take care of your hair and scalp that help you have healthy, clean looking hair!

There is a general routine that people with any hair type can use, and it’s as follows:

  1. Aside from soaking your hair, you’re not going to want to use a ton of shampoo. Only a quarter size amount will really be needed. The power of lathering, man.
  2. Massage the shampoo in to your scalp, which is really what the goal of washing your hair is for. Keeping the scalp clean and healthy leads to healthier hair.
  3. Rinse all of the shampoo, and conditioner if you use it, out. Make sure you get it all.
  4. Gently dry your hair with a towel, don’t go crazy as this can actually damage your hair, believe it or not.
  5. Use a wide-tooth comb to brush your hair, and do it carefully. You don’t want to brush so hard that you bring chunks of hair with it!
  6. When you can, let it air dry!

If you are also like me, you may have a really dry scalp or a skin condition. I have scalp psoriasis, which makes my scalp very itchy and causes flakes, otherwise known as dandruff. Sometimes, dandruff can be cause by something as simple as leaving too much shampoo on the scalp. Other times, it’s more of a skin condition. If you suspect you have a skin condition, check with your doctor or dermatologist and see if they can prescribe you a special treatment shampoo.

Going back to the oily hair conundrum for a moment, having natural oils in your hair is actually great, however, sometimes we produce too much. When that happens, you hair can look less than stellar after just a single day of not washing it. This leads in to the question a lot of people ask: how often should I wash my hair? I would love to tell you an exact answer, but it’s a big, fat DEPENDS. With super oily hair, you’ll want to wash it more often, especially if it is straight since straight hair tends to get oily quick. For me, I have to wash my hair every day or else it gets really oily and it looks rough. People who have curly hair or thick hair can sometimes have an issue with the hair looking too dry or frizzy, conditioner can help this issue. It adds essential oils to the hair, not only nourishing it, but keeping it from becoming a poof ball.

Now, you’re going to want to protect your hair. There are tons of things that can cause damage and make it too dry or break easily. Chemicals are a large cause of damaged hair, whether it is chemicals from a pool, or the products you use to style your hair. Hair treatments like coloring, straightening and curling can also cause damage. Wearing a hat when outside to prevent sun damage is also a nice little tip to consider.

Keeping your hair healthy and strong is not hard, but does require the maintenance, but as long as you follow some of these tips, your hair should be just fine!

Read more on hair care for men here!

Get that Barbershop Quality Shave, without the Barbershop

Going to a barbershop and getting your beard styled is an amazing experience, but sometimes you either don’t have the money or you want to get that same kind of experience at home. Nothing is better than shaving in your own bathroom, keeps you comfortable and in your own space. So, how would you like to be able to give yourself that same great quality shave?

The first, and most important step, preparation. A lot of people like to overlook the prep of the shaving process, even though this is a crucial part! If you prep yourself correctly, your skin will be cleansed, pores opened, and skin soft. If you want a smooth shave, make sure to do it after or at the tail end of a hot shower. This softens the beard and opens pores, but if you don’t have time to shower, a hot towel and some water can be used for the same effect. Make sure to have a high quality shave cream, one that is glycerin based, and DO NOT go for products with menthol. It will close your pores and make the beard hair stiff. If you’re like me and have sensitive skin, you may want to use an oil that can be applied pre-shave that will soften your beard and prevent razor burn. Use a badger shaving brush to apply the shaving cream, doing it in a circular motion. It will help create a good lather, and even exfoliate your skin!

The next step is the main show, the crucial shave! If you prepped correctly, your beard hair and skin will be properly lubricated. Razor burn and ingrown hairs can come as the result of poor lubrication and a less-than-ready blade. A sharp blade is just as important; it will make the experience a quick, close, and comfortable shave. With your free hand, pull the area of the skin that you are about to shave tight and gently glide the razor over the area. Do not apply pressure, and rinse the blade often of the hair and shaving cream mixture. Also make sure to shave with the grain, not against it, to avoid razor burn or ingrown hairs. If you accidentally cut yourself, make sure to put pressure to the area to stop the bleeding, and clean it thoroughly.

The final step of getting that great shave is closing up your pores and rinsing your face with some cool water. When drying your face, gently pat with a soft cloth, and you can use a nice aftershave balm as well. I would advise against using any products that have alcohol in them, this could dry out your skin. Using a good aftershave will help heal and moisturize the skin.

Shaving is not magic and you don’t need to be a pro to get that amazing shave. You can give yourself a great shave at home if you follow the steps above, and you’ll look fresh every time you do it. Now get out there and become a shaving master!

Get more tips on beard and hair care here!