Scissors haircut vs clippers haircut

At UOMO Modern Barber, the ratio of scissors cuts to clippers cuts is about 80:20. But what are the differences between the two — and why do so many of our clients go with scissors cuts over clipper cuts?

A scissors cut is basically a more ‘natural’ cut. It contours to the head better than a clipper cut, which often cuts too short. The hair blends in better with a scissors cut, and the hair grows in more naturally. It’s a ‘looser’ cut, whereas a clippers cut is usually tighter.

As a barber, you have more control with a scissors cut than with clippers. Because of the way it grows out, a scissors cut tends to last longer. And overall…a scissors cut just grows out better.

If you want a very close cut — like a military cut — then a clipper cut is the better choice. A clipper cut tends to grow out more “porcupine-like” because each hair follicle grows at a different rate. Scissor cuts don’t have that problem because they generally aren’t cut as short, so that kind of thing is far less noticeable.

Should a barber use clippers while doing a scissor cut, they usually only use it around the edges. They use them in that area to trim out the edges and clean them out a bit. If you want a scissors cut and your barber starts to move up your head (to about a quarter of the way from the bottom) with a clipper, then you might want to say something. Anything beyond that point and you’re looking at a full-on clipper cut.

When it coms to the number you find on clipper guards (the one that indicates how short you’re going to clip the hair), no matter what brand of clipper is used, the measurements are generally universal. So if you usually get a “3” on the side, then you should be safe no matter what barber you go to. Your barber may even ask you whether you want a number “3” with scissors or with a clipper. That’s a matter of personal preference, just remember the points above regarding the results of a scissor cut versus a clipper cut. The way you get a “3” (or any number, for that matter) with scissors is when the barber cuts “scissor over comb”. That’s the way it was done before clippers became widely available. Scissor over comb is a more natural and more tapered way to get the same look a clipper can give. The number indicates length, the types of cutting instrument indicates how the length is going to be achieved.

Now you’ve got a sense of the difference between a scissor and clipper cut. So which way do you go now? Are you a scissor or clipper cut guy — and why? Let us know in the comments.

Fury Haircut

If most of you guys out there are true men, then I can almost guarantee you were sitting next to me and the 150 other men at the opening of Brad Pitt’s new blockbuster, Fury. One of the main conversations about this film has been about Brad Pitt’s haircut and how well he pulled it off in the film. This hairstyle went very well with the old school, World War II style haircut that a lot of soldiers were sporting at the time. It consists of super tight on the sides and some length left on the top to keep it classy.

Although it is a very basic haircut that doesn’t require any blending from short to long, it needs to be done properly or it will come out looking sloppier than your boots after being in the trenches for 3 days straight. Sectioning the hair is key in this style of cut, it’s important to make sure that you take the top of the hair, around the temple peak point, and make a clear indication where you will be separating it from the sides and continue around the head until you reach the other side. Now make sure that everything is symmetrical around the head, so in a mirror make sure you are lined up evenly on each side so that it doesn’t come out lopsided. Now that you have the top of the hair sectioned and pinned up on the top of the head away from the sides, you can now take your clippers and depending on how tight you want the sides, start bringing down the sides to soldier stubble. I recommend a 1 to 1.5 guard on the sides to really give it the distinction and to closely resemble Brad Pitt’s style in the film.

Popular with the undercut style, and seen with Pitt’s style, is to keep it a bit longer around the lower crown of the head so that when pushed back, instead of flopping over the back of the head, it’s more of a smooth gradual style. To finish this look, I recommend the OM Spiker Fiber, which gives the perfect amount of hold and classic shine to this cut and has it staying strong all day.

The Man Bun

Grow that bad boy out, gents. The man bun, or ‘mun’,  is here and has been taken on by men all over the world. This style has been blowing up all over Hollywood, with such heavy hitters as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jared Leto, and Jake Gyllenhaal rocking this signature look. There are several variations of this look, but each one of them takes severe dedication and patience. One of the higher maintenance/easy style variations is taking the sides down short and keeping the length on top, allowing the bun to stay disconnected from the sides. Why this one is considered high maintenance is because for this one to keep its clean look, you must periodically trim the sides down, to make sure it doesn’t start to fuzz out.  This means trips to the barber at least once every two weeks. The upside of this variation is the style time it requires.

All you have to do is wake up, throw a bit of product such as the OM spiker fiber into your hair and brush it back and work it in with your hands to create the bun and throw in hair elastic to keep it up.  A lower maintenance/ higher style time variation is keeping length both on the sides and top, allowing more of a slicked back look, which is most commonly worn recently by Hollywood mega star, Leonardo DiCaprio:

This style does require less maintenance simply because the sides and top are left long; therefore it won’t change the style and look if you leave it for four weeks or longer. Waking up, this style is going to take some time to get into the man bun style. It will be difficult to control the amount of hair that you are working with, and you will find that out during the grow out stage, you will have fly-away hairs that will continually need to be worked with and using some of the OM spiker fiber will be able to control that. This look is perfected when paired with a nicely shaped and groomed beard.

Fade Haircuts

Ask any barber, and they will tell you; fades are one of the most common haircuts that men ask for. Done well, and it will come out clean, smooth and well blended. If done wrong, it can look like you took a dull pair of sheep shears to your own head. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you are in the barber chair if you see any sort of imperfections, make sure you point it out to your barber, and if they are a true barber, they will be happy you said something and will fix it up without hesitation.

It’s important to understand what type of fade you are looking for when going into a barber shop, and if you do need help, consult your barber and let him explain the different variations of fades and which one would best suit not only your face shape, but also your lifestyle. There are more conservative fades that can be less drastic and more professional, these are typically called low fades.

On the other side of the spectrum you can have more military style fades that are usually done for convenience; these are typical of high and tight hairstyles. It’s key to take into consideration the length of hair you want to keep on top, because if you end up fading your sides to high up, it can quickly turn into an undercut, and that may not be what you want.  If you are struggling with how to explain to your barber what you want, look through the internet and try and find a picture that best illustrates what you are looking for.

Highlights for men?

Men’s hair has long been under the authoritative rule of ‘lumbersexualism’. Since 2010, men with beards and tight taper cuts have been the norm on the streets of major cities. It has been a combination of lumberjack and sexy man.

But I feel that the tides are changing. I feel that another decade of fashion for men is about to unfold. I get the sense that the biggest influences in the lives of men are wanting something different.  Who are these influences?

Women of course.

That’s right. The lovely ladies in our lives have let us men have fun with big beards while nurturing our masculine bravado…but I sense a bit of a revolt forming.

Don’t get me wrong…some women like beards…and then some women HATE beards.There is a life span for most things in fashion…and with beards becoming a mainstream accessory, the ‘cool-kids’ look for ways to distinguish themselves from everyone else.

That is where highlights step in.

That’s right…I said it. Highlights.

Don’t think back to ‘Justin Timberlake in the 90’s highlights’. The highlights that are going to make a comeback are going to be more sophisticated than that. They are going to be an addition for men who want to brighten their look while still keeping their manhood in check.

They can be subtle. Or they can be bold.

They are a great way to lighten up an otherwise ‘hairy’ situation. Just think about it. With all that hair on a man’s face and head…it can look a little ‘bear-like’. With a couple of well placed streaks of blond or light brown, suddenly a man looks trendy again. He looks fresher. He can still keep the beard…but its a’ lumbersexual’ with a cosmopolitan edge.

Let’s call him a ‘Cosmojack’ ©.

A cosmojack can keep his facial folliage well groomed…but at the same time appease the lady in their life with a hint of flare.

Just make sure that you keep your beard tight and neat…or you could end up looking like a ‘cosmojoke’.

Landing the perfect part

Whether you’re a 60’s marketing mogul like Don Draper, a mysterious millionaire like Jay Gatsby or an average Joe trying to find that right hairstyle, the side part is perfect for anyone who is looking to class up their act. Most men will find that their hair has a natural part already distinguished and can easily be found right out of the shower. Once your hair is wet, simply take a comb and brush your hair both directions to see where your hair naturally likes to part, once you find that direction, you can easily customize the look of the part. There are two routes you can take for a part, a distinct bold part, or more of a natural sweeping part.

For the bold part, simply take a fine toothed comb and start to make a hard line by combing the hair to one side while combing the other side of the line down flat, this will give a very distinct line in your hair. For a more natural sweeping part, take your comb and brush the hair to the side without making any distinct lines, giving your hair a blended part. Products needed for this hairstyle varies depending on your style. The OM Spiker Fiber($25.99), gives the bold distinct side part  perfect hold and shine, lasting all day without reapplying, while the the OM Clay Texturizer ($26.99) will give a sweeping side part more of a dry matte finish.  If you are a traditionalist, a part should fall right in the middle of your eyebrow.  Draw an imaginary line from the part straight down to your eyebrow. Or use a comb as a reference, and line the part up to the center of the eyebrow with that.  This will make the part look balanced and not our of place.


Good luck!

Men’s hair problem: Frizzy Hair

Travis came to see me this week. Since he is in the military, he asked for business on the sides and back, and party on top.  Lets call it the ‘Long-Short’.  I used scissors on the side to bring it in nice and close, and thinning shears to remove some of the excess curl on top. As we were doing the cut, it came up that one thing that drove him a little nuts was the curl in his hair.  He was wondering if there was a way to get rid of  that darn wave so that the top was a little straighter.

Of course, hair product is a great way to finish a style, but it is not the best way to get the style.  This is where the hair dryer becomes handy. One great trick to get rid of unwanted curl and frizz is to use a hot blowdryer.  Remember that frizz and curl are enhanced with moisture.  Just ask any curly haired person how their hair behaves in Hawaii and they’ll tell you that their hair goes CRAZY! That’s because the moisture breaks ‘H-Bonds’ in the hair, which normally holds the curl under control.

My advice to Travis was to use a high heat dryer, and blow the hot air down through the curls, just like the picture below.

Afterwards, the curl is more relaxed…and it only takes a couple of minutes. You can finish it off with a pomade or fiber such as the OM fiber, which will give it a little shine and hold throughout the day (and night).

Remember: business at the back, and party on top!  Happy styling!

Undercut comeback

For all of those who remember how cool we were in the early 90’s with our mushroom cuts… guess what?  They’re back!

That’s right. Even though we may look at our high school photos and say to ourselves: “What was I thinking?!”, you now have a change to relive those glory days.  Just make sure not to play Fresh-Prince’s Summertime while your cruisin’ with the top down.

I see this style moving in subtly at first (even though there is nothing subtle about this haircut). It will evolve from the  ‘hipsteresque comeover’, which will grow longer on top while the sides and back are cut short. The big difference between this new undercut coming up and the one in the 90’s is that it will be played back with some product and finger combed.  Don’t think of ‘Flock of Seagulls’ when you picture this style.

Think more of David Beckham meets Hugh Grant.

It is vitally important when cutting this men’s haircut that careful attention is given to the shape of the man’s face. If your face is long and lean, then a more ‘Hugh’ look is in order, keeping width on the sides. Otherwise, you could end up looking like a q-tip. If you have a wider visage, then fell free to go a little tighter on the sides. As this style does add roundness to the top of your head, if you already have a round face, this style may not work for you.

The best way to style it is loosely swept back with a wax-like product, such as OM Fiber. This will give it the professional hold it needs to keep up in the office, while allowing  your girlfriend to run her fingers through your hair without getting ensnared for life.

Either way, keep it tight on the sides, and have a party on top!

How often should men shampoo?

This is a question that I am asked time and time again, and believe it or not, it is a very important question.  How often we wash our hair directly affects our hair, and more importantly, how much hair we have.

The first thing to consider is the time of year.  Yes, the astrologers were right, the seasons do affect our lives. Think about it, during the summer, there is usually more heat.  Heat usually creates more humidity.  Higher humidity forces us to perspire.  Perspiration releases toxins, which can then get caught and built up on our hair and scalp.  Built up toxins can lead to a variety of scalp and hair issues, including dermatitis, itchiness, oily scalp and hair, bad odor etc.  This means that when we are exposed to higher humidity environments, we will probably have to wash our hair more often.

Of course, the opposite is true for the winter.  Normally in the winter, there is more heating and less moisture in the air.  Also, the air is usually drier.  This will cause the opposite effect of high humidity, and washing our hair becomes less necessary.

Another important factor is our own genetics.  In other words, do we have oily hair or dry hair.  Often times, men with oily hair think they need to shampoo all the time.  This is a BIG MISTAKE. Here is what happens.  Our scalp has a whole bunch of oil glands.  These oil glands regulate the amount of oil that is released onto the scalp, which becomes a natural barrier against environmental stress.  When we continuously wash this natural barrier off, the oil glands go into panic mode.  They start saying “Uh-oh! We need more protection! Quickly!  The scalp is defenseless!”

The oil glands then go into “hyper-secretion” mode.  They start pumping out oil onto the scalp to restore the scalp’s defenses.  In fact, they do such a good job, that our hair is soon more oily than before we shampooed.

So what does all this mean? Genetics. Oily versus dry. Winter versus summer.

It means…shampoo LESS.

This may sound funny coming from a man who sells shampoo for a living, but the honest truth is: less is best.   In the summer, I recommend  shampooing once or twice a week.  In the winter, once a week should suffice.  But keep in mind, you MUST rinse you hair as often as you can with warm to hot water.  That’s right. You MUST rinse your hair everyday, just as you would wash your face or brush your teeth. I am not advocating a ‘never wash again’ regime.  This is very damaging to your scalp and hair.  I am advocating keeping your scalp clean with warm water everyday, and use a good sulfate-free shampoo once or twice a week.

You will need to experiment though.  Figure out what works for you.  Some of us will need to wash more often, and some of us will need to wash less often.  If you have any questions, just shoot me an email:

5 Great Winter Haircuts for Men

Now that we’re into the colder part of the year, it’s time to look at what men’s hairstyles are trendy for the winter season. That way you can arrive at your holiday party, office mixer or family dinner looking nice – rather than naughty.

1. The Minimalist Look

This winter season, short sides with long lengths above are in fashion. (Isn’t that just the way – as it gets colder and you’d love the idea of having more hair to keep your head a bit warmer, you discover it’s not in vogue).

While the most common way to don a classic minaimalist look is to have shorter hair on the sides and rear, you can “edge” up the look by adding a bit of length on top of the head. You can have a more polished look by going with a side parting and use styling products to comb the hair back.

2. The Fringe Look

According to Thomas Bushnell, Head Barber at Shoreditch (one of the esteemed Murdock chains of barber shops in London), this style is coming on strong for the winter months:

“…gently parted fringes, a great way to wear hair slightly longer and a reaction to the omnipresent slicked back styles that have been so prevalent over the last 12 months. A good, frequent cut is essential for this style – let it grow a few weeks and the effect will definitely be lost; you want to avoid looking like a student at all costs.”

Because nobody wants to look like a student – unless they are one.

3. The Unkempt Look

If you don’t want to go with a classic minimalist style, you can take some of what’s above and add a bit of “wildness”. This will require some product as well, and the understanding that you don’t want the unkemptness to look to “choreographed”.

So make sure that you vary up the wildness, meaning that you need to get a cut that allows for this. Then you can go a little crazy with your look – without looking too phony (or crazy) while doing so.

4. The Long Cut

Another classic, but of the longer variety.

From Esquire, who calls this look “The Johnnny Depp”:

“This is a layered men’s haircut, and the perimeter isn’t tapered. Done well, it can look cool. And down poorly, you’ll look like a member of the BeeGees. Either way, some grooming cream will stop it from looking too contrived. It should almost look a bit dirty, like second-day hair — never blow-dried.”

The columnist does provide a dsiclaimer: If you’re looking for a job, avoid it.

5. The Elegant Grunge Look

Grunge appears to be making a comeback – 21st century style. (Does that mean that the look is now considered a a “retro” look?)

This style is all about “colour contouring”, which is coming back into fashion when it comes to male grooming this season. However, this time around (unlike the days of yore when Kurt Cobain ruled the day) there’s a tad more elegance and refinement put in place; that way the details of the cut are enhanced. Sweeping fringes and lighter tones throughout are all par for the course with this style – if you have the nerve to pull it off.

If you’re still rocking the mo’ for Movember  – bear that in mind when choosing your style. Some of the above work better with facial hair than others.