How to Grow Out Barbershop Fades

-by Sam Villa

I haven’t written about men in awhile, so when I was talking with Andrew Carruthers, Director of Education for Sam Villa, about how men are starting to grow out their barbershop fades, I thought it was a great topic, because if you don’t know how to gracefully trim and shape a tight fade with hard weight lines and shaved in parts, it’s time to learn! I really like how Andrew approaches men’s grooming, he mixes old school barber techniques with modern artistry. Here’s what he has to say about growing out a barbershop fade:

Trends ebb and flow like the tides in the ocean and the pace of that tide is usually very slow and subtle in the men’s category. Recently, the focus has been very heavy on the barbershop influence - tight fades, sharp detachments and lots of pomade. These trends will continue to be front and center, however the early adopters of the clipper- tight edges are now beginning the grow out process towards a more raw image, think “Sons of Anarchy.”  The transition on these shapes can get a little hairy (ha, ha) if you and your guests aren’t up for the challenge, so here are some key areas to hone in on to make the transition flawless.

1. Corners: Most of the really tight fades build into weight at the parietal ridge area. As that grows outward, it can be a huge challenge to style day-to-day. As the hair gets longer texturizing will help, and then at a certain point the shape in the corner needs to be modified. Take vertical sections through this area and elevate just above 90 degrees horizontal (parallel with the floor). The corner should be very apparent here. Use a point cutting technique to create a fairly vertical line, which will soften the corner. If the hair is particularly thick or tends to grow straight out, round the top edge of your line slightly to the head shape. Another excellent tool to cut length and leave softness is the Sam Villa Signature Series Reversible Blending Shear. I use this a lot when blending out the corner because it creates such a seamless effect.

2. Perimeter: When growing out to a shaggier look, there is always a point where the hair around the ears and along the neckline isn’t long enough to look intentional and guests wonder if they should clean it up or let it grow. Keep it somewhat cleaned up until the hair just above it gets to a length where it shows a little bit of texture. At this point, begin allowing the perimeter edge to grow in. Use a blending shear to thin the perimeter to taste as it grows in. Approach the hair vertically or on a slight diagonal to avoid any visual marks from the shear. Sam Villa is releasing a new blending shear next year called the Invisiblend that will be ideal for this exact purpose. It removes subtle amounts of hair with each cut and leaves no visible lines from the cutting teeth.

3. Bluntness: Most of the barbershop styles we’re referring to are etched in with clippers, so the hair feels very blunt and rigid as it grows out. Again, the Sam Villa Signature Series Reversible Blending Shear is an excellent tool to reach for when addressing this challenge. Use a blending shear-over-comb technique once the hair is long enough. After a few passes over a section, it will soften the bluntness from the edge and create a much more livable texture for your guest.

4. Product Selection:  Many of the pomades and pastes that are used on these shorter shapes will feel too aggressive as hair grows out.  Try switching to products that add a more lived in texture such as Redken Fashion Waves 07, spray in while hair is fairly damp and let it air dry or hit it with a diffuser to give an “I just jumped off my Harley” type of look. For more shine, layer in Redken for Men polish up pomade.

I thought this was amazing info from Andrew and I really wanted to share it with you – thanks Andrew!! With these tips, you can feel confident about each stage of the grow out process and ensure that your guest looks rockin’ for the entire ride.  Watch the video:

I’m sure you’ve read or heard me say that my team and I are thinking, saying and doing things differently to help stylists express their value - as a stylist, your value is your knowledge – so the more you know, the more valuable you are to your guests. These tips are an example of thinking, saying and doing differently.  Rather than be reactive and waiting for your male guests to tell you they’re growing out their fades, be proactive and start a conversation about the trend transitioning to another look.  Show them your value, because you’ve now got the knowledge to guide them confidently.  As you head into the New Year, think of other ways to think, say and do differently to promote your value!!

Happy Holidays,
-Sam Villa

[Charlie Hunnam Image: Getty Images/Kevin Winter]

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