Serving a culturally diverse community means making sure that your skills measure up to the challenges presented by every head of hair. Jake Hickey of MR Barbers in Sawston and MR Barbers Newmarket has been working with afro customers from the very beginning of his career and has quickly built an afro clientele that is happy to trust him with their hair.
Jake says: “I love the way that you can literally sculpt afro hair and my customers are incredibly loyal. A black guy is very likely to stop another black guy in the street and ask them where they get their hair cut, so the word-of-mouth referrals are strong too.”
Here’s Jake’s top tips on working with afro texture:
The consultation – spend time on the consultation and go OTT with the questions. There is nowhere to hide with afro, so any mistakes are super obvious. Make sure that you and the client have a VERY clear picture of the look you want to achieve. Discuss everything from height to hairlines.
Combing out – use an afro comb to comb out the whole head to its full length, so that you know what you are working with.
Clipper work warning – if your client asks for a certain number on top then work against the growth. There is a huge difference in length depending on the direction of growth.
Speed – go slow and work methodically. The afro hair follicle is thicker and if you work too fast the hair will catch in your clipper.
Blades – never work with a bare blade. Afro customers commonly have problems with razor bumps and ingrowing hairs. Always ask how sensitive their skin is and how they have reacted in the past to a foil razor. I recommend Clubman Pinaud ‘No Bumps Gel’ which works really fast.
Images: Liam Oakes Hair by: Jake Hickey