Resource for barbers from barbers
This Barber Tools List is a downloadable pdf designed to help you save time and money. Click on any item on the following tools list:
Purchasing tools, and what to consider
Barber tools used for cutting
Tools for tool maintenance
Tools for cleaning clippers
Barber Tools for sanitation & health
Tools to caring for your clients
Tools for Building Clientele
I’m talking to all my barber brothers and sisters right now to help prepare you for the life of a barber. I’ve been a licensed barber for over a decade, and have been blessed to be able to do something I love and learn some valuable lessons along the way.
For those of you that want to skip straight to the list, click here.
My barber school instructor, the late Mr. Fletcher, would always say “A barber is only as good as the tools he/she uses!”
That doesn’t mean that just because you have the most expensive clippers or the diamond plated straight razor and wham, you instantly become the best barber in the world. What he was trying to say is that professionals use professional products. He would not allow us to use cheap consumer clippers that you find at Target or the Dollar store. Those tools have their purpose, but that purpose is not in a professional environment.
“So Brother Sheem, what tools do I need and how do I find them?”
It starts with knowing what to look for and understanding what type of barber you want to be. That way, you get the most out of the tools that you find. What services you plan to offer have a strong impact on what tools you need.
I’ve seen the lists out there. They talk about clippers, blades, combs and razors. Earlier, I mentioned making the right choices for yourself. Once you understand the “whys,” you’ll know the “whats” to add to your arsenal of tools. Weight, size, comfort, heat, vibration, and power must be on your mind when you start your buying process.
This is your career we’re talking about. With every product you buy, think ten years into the future! One haircut might not have much effect on your body with one cut, but after 100,000 cuts I guarantee you’ll feel it. I recommend going with the strongest lightweight tools you can find. There have been days where I had so much shoulder pain that I could hardly lift my comb by the time the end of the day came around. Remember, this life requires many repetitive movements. That means you must develop muscle endurance throughout your entire body. Check out some of my other blogs for advice on barber fitness.
I don’t care what you’ve heard; size does matter. All day, barbers work with their hands manipulating various tools, whether they be razors, clippers, combs, etc. The size of those tools can play a big part on how consistently and efficiently you can perform your service. Having a tool that is too big will cause your hand to work harder to control the tool. Being a barber with little “watch maker” hands (that’s what they used to call them in the shop) meant large bulky tools were very uncomfortable and caused muscles in my hand to work too hard. Find tools that fit your hand size and you’ll avoid hand pain and fatigue.
Tools that are too small will cause you to squeeze your fingers together and pray they don’t stay all scrunched up. If a tool is too small, avoid using it. Your hand is composed of many small tendons, muscles and bones, and the constant contraction required to hold a small tool properly can cause serious damage over time.
Certain tools are uncomfortable no matter how you position your hand. I Recommend finding tools that shape comfortably into your hand. Older model clippers seem to have this problem a lot with their bulky designs. These are obsolete in comparison to the newer clippers out on the market.
Clippers get hot! There are steel blades and a motor and moving very fast, which generates a lot of heat. Some clippers heat up faster than others, but before getting into that know this: You must keep your blades oiled. Lube those blades up and they’ll have less friction. Less friction means less heat, which equals happier clients and a happier barber. The cooler your clippers stay, the more hair you can cut.
Clean the tool of hair and oil which get inside the clipper and in between blades. This can cause even more heat.
Be mindful of cordless clippers. Since they’re battery powered, some batteries will heat up very fast when in use.
Construction of the clipper is important because most clippers are made of either metal or plastic. I recommend plastic because it is more resistant to heat than metal. I can cut all day with my plastic clippers and never have to worry about them getting hot.
Ceramic blades hit the market years ago, and I love that they’ve replaced the moving metal blade with a ceramic blade. Ceramic hardly ever gets warm.
Some of you know what it feels like to go home after a long day of cutting and still feel the vibration of the clippers in your hand. It’s a very uncomfortable and scary feeling. I recommend you avoid clippers that have a lot of vibration because all those vibrations go through your entire body via your hands.
This is your career; every decision you make about what product you buy think ten years out! Everything from weight to size, ergonomics, vibration might not have much effect on your body with one cut but after 100,000 cuts I guarantee you’ll feel it.
These high powered beasts of clippers blow through thick bulky hair with ease. If you must clear a large area quickly, you do it with these. Can you use some adjustable clippers? Of course you can. But only go that route if you want your clippers and your body to have to do more work. Some people like hot clippers and shoulder pain. Hmmmmmmmh!
If you become an expert in fading with blades, you’ll develop the proper technique to blend lengths together because there is no gray area. A 1 blade is a 1 blade as is a 1A. These will always be the same length. Understand that the only way to fade without leaving lines in the hair is to develop proper technique. As an added benefit, when you start working with guards you’ll already have a technique and know what it takes to perform a proper blend.
Detachable or adjustable, Straight razor or T-liners, Combs or Brushes, Clippers or Shears, when you’ve mastered your tools your options are limitless. You can and will have more confidence and understanding in your abilities as a barber.
Knowing how to change the cords on your clippers is the key to saving you a lot of money over the long run. Much of the time, cords get twisted and pulled and stretched by everyday usage, and improper storage puts a strain on cords.
Tool set of standard size and small size screwdrivers will keep you prepared for 90% of problems that clippers have.
These nail brushes are great for cleaning hair off clipper blades. Many barbers make the mistake of not turning clippers off while they’re brushing them. Doing this cuts the nylon bristles and wears out blade sharpness.
Sanitation tools are the most important tools to have. Sanitation is key not only in keeping your clients safe but in cementing your brand as a professional barber. Dirty tools get people sick or infected. Can you imagine how uncomfortable you would feel if your doctor didn’t wash his hands between patients? Nasty right!? So as a barber, start your sanitation practices by having tools to keep your hands clean.
You’re going to be washing your hands more than any other time in your life. Pick up a good hand lotion to keep your skin soft and moisturized. In this day and age, no one should ever have to walk around ashy like Danny Glover! No offense to Danny Glover fans, (I love Danny), but I’m just tired of sending him bottles of lotion and him never using them.
The fact is that some hair is nasty. All kinds of crazy stuff are in peoples’ hair. Bugs, ringworm,dirt,grease, grime, blood, etc. Since ring worm is a fungus, keep a tube of anti-fungal cream that can begin the treatment for someone suffering of ringworm.
Protect yourself as much as possible. Latex gloves offer a great level of protection. They come hundreds to a box, so they’re economical. I recommend the black latex gloves. If by chance you get some and they’re a little too big, run them under some warm water to shrink them to your size.
If you choose not to use gloves, make sure you invest in a good pair of tweezers. When hair is cut, the hair follicle is extremely sharp and you will get hair splinters in your hands, arms and even in your feet. Splinters are very painful and horrible when they get lodged under your finger nail.
HELPFUL HINT:As a reminder, think about your tools and the service you will be providing over the next ten years. The quality and function of your barber’s chair will play a huge part on your ability to perform your job. Chairs that don’t recline, require excessive force to turn, take up too much space for your environment, have poor hydraulic systems or are uncomfortable to your clients are bad news. They may look fancy and modern online, but most of them are poorly constructed. I’ve found the old classic barber chairs are the best. They are more expensive, but are well worth the investment.
‘Let your chair work for you, not you work for it”-Bryant Fletcher Instructor.
In addition to tools that allow you to do a job effectively like powerful clippers or sharp shears, there are other tools like floor mats, stools, and back braces that provide support and comfort and help prevent injury over time.
Your movement around your chair is very important. Many barbers start from home and get used to moving around their clients to cut; never fully taking advantage of a chair that spins once they get into a shop. Let the chair do what it is intended to do, which is position the client so you don’t have to over work your body.
I’ve had three bones in my foot fracture due to standing on my feet without proper support. I also have arthritis in both shoulders from repetitive movements and bad posture.
Insoles for your shoes are a must have to give you added support. Your feet can’t hold up to standing up 8hrs a day for years and years without help. I’ve found harder insoles give the best support for me.
Foam Rollers are one of the best tools I’ve purchased in the last 12 years. I wish I would have started my career off with one of these. Used properly, these help correct and relieve pain in the body caused by barbering.(Check out my other blogs for proper rolling tips!)
Choose the correct size of your equipment that fits comfortable in either hand.
Develop the ability to use your tools with either hand. This will save one wrist or shoulder from getting burned out. Plus, if you ever have an injury to one hand you can still work with the other.
Powders, oils, aftershave, beard cream, and facial moisturizers you use are all a part of your brand. Everything from hand massagers to hot towel warmers has its place in your barber’s tool kit.
You can never go wrong investing in these products. I do recommend that you go with professional grade products.
HINT:A simple way to tell if something is professional grade is to look at the cord. If the cord is light weight and flimsy as opposed to thicker and stronger, it is a good indicator that it is not a professional styling tool.
The easiest way to find out what would be best for your existing clientele is to ask them what products they already use and what they like about that particle product or brand. This will let you know what to look for when purchasing your products and what companies you might contact to become a distributor for. Also, think about ideas of how you might design your own product line.
Drapes, towels, caps, Vaseline, cotton, first aid kid, neck strips, astringent etc. are all products that protect the client’s well-being. By having these items, you project an image of professionalism and care for you client and your craft. Although it did not make my tools list, please invest in a lint roller. Clients appreciate when you make sure they’re not dropping hair from their clothes all over town.
Business cards are still a highly effective way of marketing yourself; use these to display things like your brand and images of your work.
Your cell phone is a great marketing tool. It’s like having a full studio in the palm of your hand. Combined with social media, your phone is a wonderful way to send and record video, pictures, and audio. Manage your online booking system and build your contact list.
Apparel is a great way to marketing yourself. People see that you are wearing an advertisement of your profession and areautomatically drawn to you.
Every day you should be building your email list. It’s very important to be building your email list. For sales, marketing and distribution information, an email list is vital. Say you have a day where you don’t have many clients on your appointment book. The ability to reach hundreds of your customers to let them know you have openings is priceless inexpensive money. When everytime you send out an announcement and have your phone start ringing, you’re in the stage that my mentors refer to as “printing money.” Build that list! Once again, Build that list!
Why would I put imagination on a barber’s tools list?
For a couple key reasons: primarily to save you time and money.
Though some barbers only want to cut hair consequently, services they have such as hair coloring, facials and are never executed. The more services you provide, the more you earn. Thus, doubling or tripling your earning potential per client can be accomplished with ease.
That is why on my tools list I include tools that you need to take advantage of for more than just cutting hair because barbers are so much more than just extremely cool people that cut hair.
I hope you enjoyed my tools article helps put you on the right track to becoming a professional prepared barber.
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