First things first: what made you become a barber?
“Mainly it’s just the appreciation of art. That’s exactly what we are—artists. It’s a way of life, a lifestyle. I like to use the term ‘barber gallery’ because we are artists. The way I designed my spaces―Attention to Detail and San Francisco Barbershop―was to provide a platform for my team to display their craft.
That’s really what drove me into becoming a barber. I was a kid, raised in a barbershop, who loved being there and enjoyed that culture. Now, I’m fortunate to provide livelihoods for a staff of 20—and growing! It’s very humbling to know that, God willing, I’ve been put in a position to provide this platform for talent.”
I like to use the term ‘barber gallery’ because we are artists.
How do you think the worlds of style and hair grooming intersect?
“Fashion and hair go hand-in-hand. I like to think of myself as an image consultant―not just a barber. A lot of that has to do with understanding trends, and being able to identify someone’s look. I think they’re really central to each other, and complement each other in so many ways. Having the perfect haircut to fit one’s face is like a made-to-measure suit, or a tailored pair of trousers. Both complete the entire look.”
Having the perfect haircut to fit one’s face is like a made-to-measure suit.
What are tips for someone to get the exact haircut they’re looking for?
“I think it’s researching the look you’re going for and finding out how credible the shop you’re looking to go to is. What I always suggest to people that relocate to another town is to find someone on the street that has something similar to what you want, and ask them where they go. As stylists, when we finish a product and you guys hit the streets, you’re a walking billboard. That’s the best form of advertisement and marketing for us. Then, working with the stylist firsthand, showing them a picture, that always helps.”
Working with the stylist firsthand, showing them a picture, that always helps.
So what are some easy ways for guys to stay looking fresh?
“I would say just invest in some trimmers. Tighten up, keep your beard shaped up and don’t get too creative with it. Just follow the lines. Ask your hairstylist for suggestions on how to shape it up—even something as simple as squaring your sideburns. Then once you’re comfortable touching up, you’ll be able to stretch your haircuts. What I suggest to my clients is to get a shape-up after 10 days, and that’ll carry you over through to your next haircut—if you are a four-week kind of guy, which is typical. That little bit of work will go a long way.”
Who are some of the coolest guys you’ve styled?
“I’ve done a lot of work in the music industry, as well as local athletes, both on the collegiate and professional level. I think by far the coolest person that I have a personal relationship with is Mos Def (Yasiin Bey). I was fortunate enough to work with him for five or six years. By far, one of the coolest dudes: easy to work with and very stylish. I also recently ran into Styles P. from The LOX, and he remembered me because I shaved him years ago.”
What are some key signs you’re in a bad barbershop—and need to run for the hills?
“It’s all in the vibe. Also, you can tell by looking around and seeing the work that’s being produced. But again, you’ll get a sense if someone’s over your head and not comfortable, and that spills over into the experience.”
What’s a no-no style any guy should avoid?
“The one that I see now that kind of irks me is the man-bun. I see some guys who look cool with it, but I don’t even see it as a hairstyle really. It’s just growing your hair out in a ponytail, but the ponytail is on top of your head as opposed to the back of your neck. Yeah, that one irks me a little bit. But I will do it if the client asks for it. I definitely couldn’t pull that off, I know that for sure. (Laughs)”
Guys are more willing to research and invest in product. Ultimately, it’s just investing in yourself.
What are some new styles you’re looking forward to in 2017?
“You’ll see men getting into more of the styling elements of grooming, like incorporating a blow dryer, which allows volume. Guys are more willing to research and invest in product. Ultimately, it’s just investing in yourself.
I think a really cool hair style I’ve seen nowadays is the messy look. I always thought it was a really effortless, cool―not even trendy―but stylish look. It’s very simple to achieve, too, if you have medium-length hair. It just goes back to the product, if you know how to style it.
Just like fashion, hair style is like changing your look depending on how you feel. Because when you learn how to style your hair, you can wear it in more than one way, it’s just a matter of knowing how to do it. It gives you more range, in terms of your look. Step out of your comfort zone and allow a stylist to suggest different looks for you.”
What hairstyles are you trying this year? Let us know in the comments below.