With No-Shave November upon us, Master Barber Steve Vilot, sighs and says, “Most men don’t know what to do with the hair on top of their head, now with beards, they’re doubly clueless.” To help you help your clients, here's some grooming mythbusters--pass them along to the fellow pros in your shop and share them with your clients.
Wearing a beard for nearly all of the 30+ years he’s been in the business, Vilot cuts hair at his Barber Authority shop in Lynchburg, Tennessee. For the past decade plus, he’s been responsible for the hair of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2022 inductee Eminem and is the official touring barber for the Dave Matthews Band; he breaks down some of the common men’s grooming myths.
Myth: The beard line should stop two fingers above the Adam’s apple.
“Some guys follow this guide and end up giving themselves a double chin,” says Vilot. “The jawline should be the focus of the beard and be the thickest point. If the beard is more of a five o’clock shadow, let it blend naturally into the neckline. It should be simple, something the client can recreate at home. If a beard is more than two inches in length, no trimming of the neck is required.”
Myth: Perfectly edge and line up beards and hairlines.
“This is great if you have time to go to the barber every seven to ten days, but for the average client, this is impossible.” Vilot offers this tip, “Look at male models in advertising, their stubble may fluctuate in length but it always looks like a natural line, nothing hard. When I cut and style Dave Matthews on tour, I meet him every 10-14 days and he gets a #1 taper and I use a box shaver high on his cheeks and Adam’s apple, there’s never any harsh lines.”
Myth: Give the client what he wants.
“Some clients will sit in the chair and say, ‘One on the sides and two on top,’ or ‘Bald fade.’ There’s no consultation, just direction, but the maintenance for the bald fade is about seven to ten days.” Vilot explains, “A more practical cut for the majority of clients is a square nape that’s a half inch or a little less long. Look at it like a math problem: if hair grows at half an inch per month, it’s less noticeable on a cut that already has a bit of length, whereas with a bald fade, a half inch is very noticeable. My goal is to have my client look presentable and in the game until the next time he sits in my chair. Every client should have a consultation for their hair goals and maintenance schedule.”
Myth: Use any soap or shampoo on beards as long as it cleans.
Beard hair is coarser than hair on the head. Vilot says, “The right products make a difference. Use a beard wash because they’re formulated to be sulfate and paraben-free with moisturizing properties to soften the beard and prevent itch. Apply a beard oil to moisturize the face and a beard balm to style the facial hair.
Myth: My beard hair is short, I don’t need to brush it.
Brushing hair on the head and beard hair helps stimulate the hair follicles and exfoliates the skin. “When men shave, they are exfoliating their skin during the process, but when they grow a beard, they just leave it alone and then wonder why they have flakes in their beard,” says Vilot. “The brushing also helps distribute natural oils and stimulate blood circulation under the skin’s surface.”
Myth: I can’t ask my barber for at-home grooming tips.
“We’d rather clients ask than us questions, rather than having to correct a botched up attempt,” laughs Vilot. “Never be afraid to ask how to do anything. It’s the process of learning. Every client has a different face, different lifestyle and schedule for grooming. We want you to look your best until the next time you sit in our chair. Always trust your barber.”