Like head hair, thorough consultations are needed before you pick up your grooming tools for a beard shape up, and here, these expert barbers explain why…
It’s well known that consultations, whether for styling, cutting, or grooming are important for both you and your client. Which is why, like any hair consultation, barbers should always consider beard consultations as part of their grooming service. “A consultation can be as quick as one minute or as long as 30 minutes,” says Mark Maciver, barber, and owner of Slidercuts, highlighting that the time during a consultation is used to fully understand what it is your client wants from you as well as giving you a chance to inform your client on what is achievable, whilst offering your expertise. “Many clients will come in, sit down, and say, ‘neaten up my beard’, not realising that ‘neaten up’ might mean something different to them than it does to you.”
Although, a consultation for a haircut may be easier to approach than one for a beard, it’s important to break it down and give your client different things to think about. “We’ve been doing haircuts for so long that we almost have a fixed set of styles that people go for. Beards on the other hand, are a more recent trend,” he says. “There are so many variations that you do need to have that conversation to avoid your client leaving unhappy due to the lack of consultation.”
Take Time to Build Trust
When it comes down to grooming beards, Natalie Cresswell of Cresswell Barber Co. likes to get clients comfortable both mentally, and physically. “You want to gown them up, and stand to face them, so you have your back to the mirror and are investing in your client, ready to start the conversation and listen,” she tells us. In Natalie’s experience, being a female can be challenging when grooming her male clients’ beards. “Men are far more precious over their beards than their head hair, so the client needs to feel at ease and feel as though they can trust you. Guys are picky about how they want their beards, and being female, they tend to think I can’t cut beards very well. It’s an extra effort for female barbers to be able to gain that trust. We need to listen to exactly what they want. It’s important to take your time and show respect by paying close attention and letting them speak.” Which is why, when facing them during the consultation, it gives a professional and kind approach to the service.
Not only is it crucial to gain clients’ trust during a consultation and find out exactly what they want, but it’s also key to check their existing beard. “Check the length, shape, growth patterns in the hair, and their skin sensitivity,” Natalie says. “Having a conversation about how your client’s skin reacts to any products, whether they’re allergic to anything, and if they’re sensitive to a cut-throat razor, allows you to respond in an educated way.”
And a final bonus tip: “If your clients are going to grow out a beard, make sure to remind them to watch out for the pieces of dirt – or food especially – that get trapped,” Mark says. A fruitful beard doesn’t mean fruit in the beard!