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Sharpen up your vintage barbering techniques

Understand the classic styles and retro cuts then watch your barbershop flourish…

Barbering has never been bigger. But, for an industry that has only recently accelerated in growth, a huge amount of inspiration in barbering comes from the past. You need to understand the heritage and where the craft came from, in order to bring it into the present.

“It’s important to learn traditional barbering techniques because they’re all so adaptable through the generations and styles of both male and female hairdressing,” says Wez Jones, owner of The HeartBreak Club Barbershop . “These techniques are the fundamental backbone for any type of cut and finish – they’re the building blocks to something which you can put your own spin on after.”

Get these old-school basics right, and you’ll build a solid foundation for your barbering skills. “When you look at styles such as the modern day crop, or loose textured throwbacks, they’re built around square shapes and classic barbering techniques such as block graduation, cross graduation clipper over comb and scissor over comb,” Wez says.

Paul Taylor-Clinch is a barber at the famous Schorem, a rock’n’roll style barbershop in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, which pioneers all things retro. “These looks are timeless – you could have three generations of men come into the shop, each get the same haircut, and make it look unique and individual to them,” he explains. “The Flat Top is the haircut all classic cuts are formed from. For example, you could take a Flat Top, let it grow out for six months and you would have a perfectly squared pompadour.”

“The main thing that defines classic looks is balance and keeping the square finish,” he continues. “A classic cut will retain its shape and structure.” Wez agrees that longevity is key to these looks, so they’re perfect for men who struggle to make the time for an appointment: “Classic haircuts were built to last – guys in the ’40s couldn’t afford weekly cuts but they had to keep clean and tidy.”

Don’t forget to invest in your kit, which is essential in achieving these looks. “Traditional barbering takes its toll on equipment – I use the BaByliss PRO Super Motor Clippers as they’re strong as an ox and will never let you down on a busy day,” says Wez. And of course, Teddy Boys were famous for keeping their tools to hand for last minute tweaks to their rockabilly looks. “Always keep a comb in your back pocket to maintain the look,” says Paul. “And finish the style with a Reuzel Pomade of your choice!”