Mo Better Cutz Master Barbers

In 2000 Master Barber Paul from Mo Better Cutz spoke about cutting kid’s hair

Barbers, Mo Better Cutz, London, 2017, Dee Semple

Barbering started with creation, civilisation but the working environment of barbering in the west came with the economic influx of work.  It was a private thing for people to actually share amongst families from father to son and from cousin to cousin.   The barbering I do makes a statement about the person actually wearing the style.  I’d like to think of them more as creations because I do take pride in my work.

In about 1988-89 a friend and I started experimenting with hair cuts and came out with a novel idea of putting patterns in people’s hair.  I thought I was the first to really establish this style of cutting until a friend of mine bought me a book on hair care and apparently in the 18th century a lot of African people had adornment in their hair cuts and pattern like I was doing.  I work in Ladbroke Grove in a barber shop called Mo Better Cutz the shop has been established now for five years.  I’ve been cutting hair for some eighteen years.”

What should a parent look for when choosing a barber for their child?

“Parents should be looking for health and safety and cleanliness.  Children can pick up infections a lot easier than adults ringworm and other things that are passed on through clippers.  Parents should be looking at how clean the shop is, how efficient the barber is working.  The location of the shop should be local for ease of getting in and out because hair should be attended to quite regularly.

Barber, Mo Better Cutz,  2017

Parent should be looking at the attitude of the barber and the tone of the shop e.g. swearing and loud music are not really compatible with children because they pick these things up so easily.  Also patience because children have this habit of being frightened and intimidated in new environments, so the barber should be smiling and willing to encourage the child to have their hair cut and reassure them that there’s nothing wrong.

I think the best way that parents can find a suitable barber is by word of mouth or if you see a person with a nice haircut you should ask them if they live in your locality.

When is it best to wear a pattern in your hair?

I see patterns being worn on special occasions, Christmas, Easter, carnival, in the summertime and half-term holidays.

What’s the best way of calming a distressed child?

The best way to calm a child down is not to fuss too much, they’re probably attached to their hair in the first place and don’t really want it cut.  I try to make it plain that tha’s what they’re here for and try to get on with it.  My shears are not set sharp so as not to hurt children and I’m reassuring all the time and asking if it hurts.  When cutting a child’s hair I try not to welt the skin because their skin is so tender.  I tend not to do the sharp marks around their head because their skin can be easily cut or marked.

Barber, Mo Better Cutz, 2017

Why do barbers use powder and oil on clippers?

The powder actually dries the seat and removes the hair a lot better.  I try not to mix hair from one client to the next.  I will clean the tools throughly in between clients and apply some fresh oil to clean the blades.  It also acts as an antiseptic as well keeping the clippers cool.  I learned barbering through practising on my brother’s afro when it was out of shape.  I could see and just trim it off, I used my Mum’s scissors until my brother bought a pair of clippers.  I was using it on his hair for a few months and then decided to cut my cousins and close neighbours and decided I had a talent for it and to look for a job.  I studied hairdressing for two years, I can actually relax and perm but I don’t actually practice it.

Communication is one of the key points in barbering, if you haven’t really understood the childs parents request you won’t be cutting the hair how the client requires it so you have to be very sure that you understand how he requires his hair cut.  I spend a lot of time conversing about hair is to be cut at what level because everybody has a different understanding on how low is low.