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March 24, 2020
What’s before and what’s after? If hair is cut well it should grow out well too. I like John’s hair when he returns to the salon, three months later. He’s probably my least frequent client but very regular. Four times a year for the last 40 years. Most people like to maintain a look, and for some short hair this can mean fortnightly trims. But John’s happy cruising into a very different hair vibe before starting again
At each visit, we have a recurring discussion.“Short and square!” John says, like he’s just sat down in a barber’s chair and concerned I wouldn’t understand nuance. I’m second generation half-immigrant and my English is fine. “Have you ever thought of letting it grow?” I reply. “We can tidy the beard a little and get you looking like one of those Ralph Lauren models in their cowboy adverts?”
“Short and square!” John replies. We’ll spar a little, but I know in the end it’s going to be short and square. Which I’m also very happy with. I was giving John a square cut beard with flowing moustache decades before the lumbersexuals made it fashionable in Shoreditch. I ask John how it feels to be such a fashion trailblazer? But he’s very modest.
Short hair needs careful precise layering and a rebalancing of weight particularly if the hair is starting to thin in areas. A poor haircut will make it look thinner and weaker. A great haircut can make it look twice as thick. The haircut alone can add or subtract ten years to physiological age. The less hair a man has the more precision and skill is needed in the haircut.
And unless there’s a deliberate desire for gender fluidity, short men’s hair is different to short women’s hair. A woman’s hair of similar length would have a very different outline, proportions and textural finish.
A man’s haircut will generally want to support an aura of strength, competence and refinement. A woman’s haircut more fluid, delicate and sensual. It’s why so many stylists get it wrong and make women’s short hairstyles hard, clunky and brutal. They shouldn’t be.
John’s hair is starting its journey again from short and square. I know it will stay looking good until he returns.
“Remarkable. I think he’s getting the hang of it.” – John
Michael Van Clarke
April 16, 2021
This transformation was for a Daily Mail makeover article. It was published as part of a three page spread on the Monday 12th, our first open day after lockdown.
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