What separates a good experience from a great one? The details. And if you’re not cleaning up your male guests’ necks (and beards!), you’re missing out.
A client may come to you for a variety of reasons— price, location, great Yelp reviews, your “Blue Steel” good looks—but to make sure he keeps coming back, you need to create an experience that he can’t get elsewhere. One easy way: cleaning up the nape with a guarded razor.
Oftentimes, many services end with a nape cleanup using a clipper or trimmer. While this is effective, using a razor to clean the neckline can elevate the hair service from good to great. “A guarded razor shave is closer, cleaner and more elegant as a service experience,” says Ivan Zoot, men’s grooming and business-building coach. “The look lasts longer, too.”
Now, don’t confuse this with a straight-razor shave, which often requires a special license in order to perform—even though, for this service, their effectiveness is nearly identical. Guarded razors are legal to use by hair professionals of any stripe in all 50 states—all you need is some basic knowledge, the right tools and some practice. “A guarded razor gets as close as a straight razor for all practical purposes,” says Zoot. “It’s just a huge opportunity hole in the rules that lets stylists leverage this value add.” He maintains that a client certainly wouldn’t notice any difference, and most likely neither will you. And, he adds, “Secret: I’m a barber and I can use any razor, but I choose to use a guarded blade for safety reasons.”
So what do you do if you’re not already offering this to your clients? “Get some basic knowledge, get the right tools and get going,” says Zoot. Online education abounds, and you can easily practice on mannequin heads and so forth. Once you’ve practiced, simply add it to your everyday services. “But remember to nudge the price up a bit to re⇓ect your added education and the enhanced experience,” Zoot maintains. “You have invested in yourself and your value to your clients. You need to see a return on your investment, just like any other businessperson.”
Tools of the Shave
Here’s a brief roundup of a few tools to help you get started in edging up those hairlines!
Jatai Blade Glide Plus: While this lotion can be used on wet hair as a cutting lotion, it can also be applied to the skin to protect it during a shave, while simultaneously extending the life of the blade.
Donald Scott DS/X4 Razor: Featuring a zinc-alloy top and blade holder for improved balance, this razor also incorporates a patented ergonomic twisted handle as well as a finger hole and pinky rest for improved comfort.
Jatai Feather Nape and Body Razor: This folding razor is small enough to get in tight places around the neck and ears without nicking your client. Its disposable blades are honed to create a very sharp edge, and they feature a mesh guard for safety.
The Nitty Gritty
Ivan Zoot answers a few questions about how to use a guarded razor.
Can this type of razor be used on areas other than the nape?
Yes, it can be used to clean up the beard line, sideburns, even eyebrows. You can also use it to create a razored part line.
Does the blade have to be replaced after every service?
Laws vary from state to state, but generally it’s a good idea to do so. Demonstrating good disinfection, sanitation and safety practices is just good business and good marketing. I would ensure that every client I use the razor on sees me toss the blade after his or her service, even if the law says I’m not required to do so. It just looks good for the pro. If your client doesn’t see you toss the blade in the sharps bin, did it really happen?
Does any cream or lubricant need to be applied prior to the service?
It can be done dry, but why would you pass on the opportunity to use and talk about a product that you can suggest for home use? The use of a cream or gel creates a huge take-home selling opportunity you would be a fool to pass up. But remember: Never use a product that you don’t stock and have available for purchase.