The first trip to the barbershop. It’s a rite of passage for many young boys—accompanying dad to the barbershop for their first real haircut by a professional. It signals the end of DIY home cuts of the same length clipper cut all over, or the popular bowl cut where the bangs always seem uneven. Some barbers look forward to this generational ritual, viewing the child as a new (potential long-term) client; others opt to charge more money due to dealing with the child’s possible anxiety and fear of being in the chair. We asked some hair pros how their approach for successful kid cuts.
Jason Potchen, McFly’s Gentlemen’s Shop, Crown Point, IN
"We approach cutting kids' hair by trying to connect with them before we start the service. We let them check out our area, show them the clippers we’ll be using, let them see how they work, and make sure we communicate with the child directly. We have a nice collection of toys for kids to check out during the haircut and a very popular green candy bucket that every kid who visits knows all about. If needed, we’ll also put on the kid's favorite show to help ease their anxiety."
Keon Washington, Wavelengths Barbershop, Greenville, SC
"I enjoy working with kids and getting to see their reactions to a new haircut! I have found that cutting kids' hair makes me better at what I do all around. It is one of the greatest tests—achieve your normal results but on a hair canvas that's not sitting still. I truly have to focus, have steady hands, and patience when working with children, and I think that prepares you for a lot of other big moments in life. My approach is simple: I make the kids feel comfortable in the chair and allow them to feel and believe they are in charge.
"I speak directly to the kids in my chair and actively listen to them. I also have a special booster seat designed for kids in the form of a fire truck with a themed jacket as the cape. The booster seat has a front section where they can fit a tablet, game, snacks, etc. to keep busy."
Cookie Zamarripa, Platinum Fades Men Lounge, Austin, TX
"I think it’s important to gain kids' trust, so I engage directly with them by introducing myself and asking what kind of cut they want. I’ll summarize what they can expect, then I let them pick one of our Illusion kid capes. They’re kid-sized with less fabric and fun prints."
Gabriel Quinones, GQ Cuts, La Puente, CA
"If the parent is a client, we encourage them to bring in the child at a very young age—not for a haircut—but to get familiar with a busy shop environment and sitting in the chair with a cape. When it’s time for the child to get his first haircut, it’s such a smooth transition because he's already familiar. We use a mobile phone or iPad to keep the child’s attention during the haircut. Also recently, earbuds with noise canceling capabilities help to keep the sound of the clipper from being heard by the child.
Hair by Ray Silva @raysterthebarber