Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Exposed Blade Sicilian Razor for Barbers

   One of the biggest frustrations with using a Shavette style razor is not being able to see what you are doing. Usually, the blade is recessed in the action, whether swing-lock or carriage-slide, so that a small sliver is exposed. As a barber, if you are simply squaring the neck line or working any kind of facial areas, this isn't a big deal. Theres enough space to work around—but one of the emerging themes in professional barbering is the art of design! I have seen some of the work you guys do. Team logos, stars, tribal designs, maybe even the freaking Mona Lisa! I have even seen women sitting in barber chairs getting some kind of design on the back of their lower neck from some of you gentlemen. One of the complaints we have heard here at MD Barber Supply is that the standard Shavette handles do not easily accommodate this kind of design work, so the team set out to fix that issue. The Sicilian was born. 

MD BARBER Sicilian Exposed Blade Razor
   When the crew at MD Barber created The Sicilian razor, the most important thing that needed to be addressed was the amount of blade exposure. As previously mentioned, most Shavette style razors have a small sliver of blade exposure, so it is easy for the blade holder to obscure the work area in tight and intricate spaces. To fix this, the handle was redesigned, and the result is beautiful! The Sicilian boasts an impressive 5X the amount of exposure than any other blade on the market. That allows you as the barber to see your work area even better! Another added benefit is that the exposed blade can also act as a parter: I was speaking to a barber in Seattle who has used The Sicilian for a few months, and he was saying that the extra exposure allows him to part the customers hair in the intricate spaces, something which he had to use two hands to do before. 
   It seems so simple, yet it had never been done before! If the handle is obscuring the work area, increase the blade exposure! Even though this seems magical, there are a few things to consider about The Sicilian, so lets draw a pro and con list. 
   We already know the pros—great blade exposure, and utilizing the exposure to part hair in intricate spaces—but theres one thing to consider about The Sicilian, which isn't necessarily a con, rather more of a restriction. The increased blade exposure allows for the blade to be more pliable than if it were further recessed, so using The Sicilian as a general razor for squaring the neck line or performing full facial work might result in you being more prone to cut the customer. This razor is not intended to replace your current general usage cutter, rather is is intended to be an added tool for the intricate work you do. This is not to say that you cant use The Sicilian for general squaring, just keep in mind that you would need to be extra careful in your work! As stated, this isn't so much of a con as much as it is a restriction or word of advice. 

  • Pros
    • Maximum blade exposure
    • Can be used as a parting tool 

  • Cons
    • The blade exposure results in a more pliable blade, so you need to be conscientious of your workmanship as not to cut the customer.

  What started as an experiment has now turned into one of MD Barber Supplies best selling products. The Sicilian razor is a welcomed innovation in the barbering community, and something that can quite possibly change your barbering game! Its available on mdbarber.com, the MD Barber app in the app stores, and through phone orders. If you are performing intricate design work, this tool might just become your best friend!

Click here to read more reviews of this product: https://www.mdbarber.com/MD-barber-sicilian-straight-razor-p/md0055.htm

Happy cutting! 


—Tyler 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Straight Razor: Straight-Edge or the Disposable Blade?
USA Flag Razor (Shave Ready)
by Tyler Lowe

I travel to quite a few barber shops in any given month, and I am frequently asked by barbers and shaving enthusiasts alike, “which is better—a traditional straight-edge razor, or a Shavette (disposable blade) razor?” Now, before dismissing this topic thinking that the traditional straight-edge razor is prohibited in your state, I urge you to specifically research your state’s barbering regulations (SPOILER ALERT: Contrary to popular belief, California and Washington both allow for traditional straight edge razors! *WAC 308-20-110 & barbercosmo.ca.gov; Article 12, Title 16, Div. 9, No. 977*). This article will be focusing on three aspects of each razor: the myths, the pros, and the cons. I cannot definitively say which is better to use, but I can assist in dispelling rumors or misconceptions about either straight razor style, and perhaps help you choose your everyday cutter! 
Lets start by focusing on the aspects of the traditional straight-edge blade. When thinking about a classic barber shop, there are a few things that come to mind—Pinaud aftershave, twirling barber poles, a comfy chair with leather arm rests, good conversations, and straight razors. The traditional straight edge razor has been the barber’s best friend for generations, and only in recent history has the Shavette style razor become a major contender in the barbering scene. Unfortunately, with the introduction of disposable blades, the professional barbering community seems to have lost the “art” of straight-edge maintenance. This leads us to the first myth: the straight edge is too difficult to master. 
MD Dragon Shavette Style Barber Razor

   Although there is a learning curve associated with maintaining a traditional straight-razor, its certainly not difficult. Learning the proper way to hone and strop your razor takes time, but when you master the art, your material costs drop to $0, and who doesn't want to see their shop running at minimal cost? Of course, there is a catch. You have to ensure that you are always maintaining your blade and that you are operating within your state’s disinfecting regulations. This is actually a great place to introduce the second myth: the straight edge offers an uncomfortable shaving experience. 

   I remember getting a straight razor shave a few years back, and it HURT! Feeling like the blade was ripping every one of my hairs out, I quickly assumed all straight razor experiences were this way. In this instance, the truth and the myth look a lot alike—it was a terrible shaving experience! However, thats because the blade that was used on me was not properly maintained! If you sharpen a straight-edge razor like you would a knife, then you have a knife, not a straight razor. Looking back on it, I did not receive a straight razor shave that day. I received an awful experience with a knife. On the other hand, the straight razor that I personally use everyday is my favorite part of my morning routine. Its extremely comfortable, and I actually cut my ridiculously square chin less than when I used store-bought cartridge razors! Thats because the blade that I use is being properly maintained! I plan on doing a video tutorial on straight-edge maintenance, so I’ll hold off on specifics until then, as well as following up with a Facebook Live video Q&A. 

Shave Ready Football Razor by MD BARBER
   With the myths out of the way, lets address some pros and cons of the traditional straight razor. The first thing that stands out to me with the traditional straight edge is durability and longevity. I recently honed a razor for a barber in Washington state which was dated from the 1880s! This barber is using a 130 year old razor, and it looks AWESOME! Of course, not all straight razors are created equal. I have had multiple “knives-in-disguise” sent to my door step where the steel was way too soft to hold or maintain an edge, however it looked cool. I call those “mantle razors.” They look great on the mantle, but thats where the should stay! MD Barber Supply is one of the few companies producing good quality new straight razors, but if you are on the hunt for an everyday cutter, beware the “knives-in-disguise”! 




   For those of you lucky enough to find a great quality vintage razor, you already know this next pro to be true: the straight edge is time tested and has traditionally been the weapon of choice for barbers around the world. There is something to be said about using a traditional tool to accomplish your art. Just as Michelangelo used the brush, so to do you use the razor on your canvas! Personally speaking, this is my favorite part about using a straight razor. Sure, I can use a cartridge razor to accomplish the same task, but there is something about using the historic tradesman’s tool which connects us with the barbers of yesterday. Don't act like Sweeny Todd didn't inspire you. 

   Alright, lets talk about cons, because there certainly are cons with a traditional straight razor! The first thing that comes to mind is the initial start up cost. If you want to do this right, its expensive. If you want to experiment and explore the world of traditional straight edge razors in the barber shop, I would expect you to budget around $200. You would typically need to get 2 or more razors so that you can use one while the other is disinfecting, as well as a leather strop, of which both can add up quickly. 

   If you decide that the traditional straight razor is for you and you want to commit your hands to the straight edge, then expect to spend upward of $500 (on the low end!) to acquire your tools. It is not uncommon to see high quality razors being sold for $400 a piece used. There are some companies out there that sell new razors for around $700. That being said, you personally need to weigh the costs and decide if that is right for you—keep in mind, effectively equipping your barber stand with a traditional straight edge can potentially extinguish your cost, so lets assume you spend $500 total to get 2 razors, a leather strop, and a few whet-stones for honing: you have now armed your arsenal for the rest of your career. $500 spent now means more money in your pocket over the course of your career as a barber! Imagine the money you would save over 20 years! 

   Lastly, the very thing that I find most romantic about the straight razor can also be the fatal flaw for you—maintenance. Now, I enjoy the maintenance behind the straight razor. I love being able to strop my blades before every shave and hone my razor every few months. But what if you see a few dozen heads a day? I’ve been to some shops where 2 barbers are expected to meet demands for an entire town! Lets paint the picture—its Friday afternoon, and you have an entire family who comes in wanting to get cleaned up for a wedding later that night. If you have to run your strop before every use, they aren't making it to the wedding on time! Of course, the case could be made for having a Shavette disposable blade razor on hand for backup in a situation like this, and I would highly suggest having a backup Shavette for any barber wanting to use a traditional straight edge. 
Before continuing on to the Shavette razor, lets recap the Traditional Straight-Edge razor-
Myths
    • Too difficult to sharpen
    • Uncomfortable shaving experience 
Pros
    • Durability & Longevity
    • Time tested and traditionally the weapon of choice
Cons
    • Initial start up cost (Strops, whet-stones)
    • Initial curve required and maintenance 

   The majority of the barbers that I visit weekly are using the “Shavette” style straight razor—it looks like a traditional straight razor, but it has a disposable blade! More than likely, if you are a barber here in the US, you have been using a Shavette style razor since the very first week of barbering school. I don't have to go into much more detail regarding its function since 99% of you probably already use it! But lets start by dispelling some myths associated with this wonderful tool. 
The first myth I hear all the time (usually from those who prefer traditional straight-edge razors), is that the Shavette razor style is “poor quality” and “cheap.” Just like anything in the world of consumerism, there certainly are cheap Shavettes, but as mentioned previously, there are also cheap traditional straight razors! The fact is, there are some great quality Shavette style razors out there! I happen to use an MD Barber Supply “Dragon” razor personally, and I am always impressed with how comfortable it is.   

Franklin Razor: Available as Straight Edge OR Shavette

   The second myth that I have come across from some barbers is that some of the disposable blades available for the Shavette handles are too sharp. Yes, I said “too sharp.” It seems as though you would want the sharpest tool in the shed to get the job done, so when I hear about a bade being too sharp, I immediately ask what angle they are holding the blade at. If you happen to be one of the barbers who cut someone’s face or neck all up and blamed the razor, I’m going to encourage you to adjust your angle and the amount of pressure you are applying! With a Shavette, you shouldn't have to apply any pressure—you should be able to pull the skin tight and smoothly drawn the blade in the cutting direction. 

   Moving on to the pros of the Shavette, even though I prefer the traditional straight razor over the Shavette style, I still hold a few of them in my arsenal. I find that the #1 benefit to having a Shavette on hand is “accessibility.” Being able to change blades in a moments notice between customers without having to soak your blade or strop the edge saves a TON of time (you barbers in big shops know exactly what I am talking about!). The case for the Shavette is strong: you get similar results as a traditional straight razor without all of the work in maintaining your edge. Another benefit is that Shavettes are generally cheaper than their traditional counter-parts, however it should be noted that this is in reference to the initial purchase cost. It might cost you $60 to get a great quality Shavette handle, but the running cost of blades can quickly get expensive since every customer will get a new disposable blade.  

   Lets address some cons of the Shavette. As mentioned above, the running cost puts a damper on the whole thing. At first, its not a big deal, but lets assume you are paying for blades over the course of your entire career. At a generous saving of $10 per box, you could run through $30 a month or more in blades. 

Royal Red Single Edge (Pre-Snapped) Barber Razor Blades
   Here at MD Barber Supply, we cut you barbers some slack when buying in bulk since we offer entire cases worth of blades at extremely good prices. However, that is still a cost that you don't necessarily have to eat with a traditional straight razor. This is of course dependent on your preference. I know some barbers who would gladly pay for blades since they cannot afford the time for traditional blade maintenance, yet on the other hand I know barbers who enjoy the maintenance aspect and enjoy using the traditional straight razor more than a Shavette. I suppose that within itself could be considered another con of the Shavette: you miss out on the culture and ritual of a traditional straight razor. 

Alright, lets recap some the Shavette:
Myths
    • Shavettes are poor quality
    • Shavette blades are too sharp (change your angle and pressure!)
Pros
    • Quick to change blades (time saver!)
    • Similar results as a traditional straight razor without all the work in maintenance
    • Initially cheaper prices
Cons
    • Running cost of blades
    • Misses out on the culture and ritual of a traditional straight razor. 


   As I said in the opening paragraph, I cannot definitively say which is better, the traditional straight edge or the Shavette style razor. Each have wonderful aspects, and a few cons. As a barber, it would be wise to address the environment of your shop. Can you afford to spend time maintaining a traditional blade? Can you afford to spend money on blades every week? Whichever you choose, MD Barber Supply has the right tool for you and your shop! Happy cutting! 

To check out our huge selection of shave ready straight razors and shavettes download our MD Barber Supply App or go to www.mdbarber.com!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Introducing MD Barber’s New Straight Razors

We’re excited to announce that our new line of shave-ready straight razors has launched on our website. These beautiful razors combine the old-school style of straight razors with the technology and quality you’ve come to expect from MD Barber. Let’s take a closer look at MD Barber straight razors and what makes them so special.

First off, a lot of care has gone into making these razors the best they can be. Each blade is hand-honed by a specialist with a 30,000-grit finish. That means they are shave-ready right out of the box and won’t need any sharpening before you can get started. We’ve leather-stropped them and gotten them into tip-top shape.

md barber straight razorSecond, we didn’t skimp on quality. Every blade features a Rockwell hardness rating of 62, which means they’re incredibly durable and strong enough to take repeated shaves before needing a second round of sharpening. We’ve offered all of the never-fade handles of our current swing-lock razors in this new straight-razor style, giving you plenty of options for customization. We also included our black- and gold-coated razors in this style as well. You’ve got nearly endless options to choose from!

Lastly, we’ve focused on value with this razor. Not only are you getting a great bang for your buck and spending far less than you would have to somewhere else, but we offer a free resharpening with every straight razor purchased!

Old-fashioned straight razors are a great way to add some nostalgia to your barbershop as well as give you the added weight and control you just can’t find with modern-style razors. We think we knocked it out of the park with these, and we know you’re going to love them, too. Which style do you plan to buy? Are there any additional styles you want us to add to the straight-razor collection? Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Barber Box: Mobile Barber Case

md barber boxIf you’re a barber who moves from shop to shop or makes the occasional house call, then you’ve experienced the challenge in bringing all of your equipment with you, and frankly, it’s a pain. But we’ve got a product that will get rid of this problem: Barber Box V5 carrying case. This case will make your job so much easier! With it, all of your tools will be neatly accessible and within reach so you can focus on your client.

What Makes the Barber Box V5 Different?
This is the latest version of the barber case, and it’s about 30 percent larger than its competitors. In fact, it can hold:

  • 6 or more clippers/trimmers
  • 10 or more detachable blades 
  • plenty of razors, combs and other small tools, including 6 shears/razors slots in the lid

md barber boxAnother great feature of this barber clipper box is its internal power supply option. This is built right into the case and will save you time. Instead of having to set up and plug in each tool at the start of a visit and unplug all of them again at the end, your clippers and tools can always remain set up and plugged in to your case. With an easy-to-remove panel on the case, you only need one plug to power all of your equipment, so you can quickly set up shop and get to work!

Why We Like It
Not only does this traveling barber case let you keep your own tools within reach, but the durable case protects your supplies while not in use thanks to the giant foam cushion that forms the interior body of the kit. Under a removable tray is a hidden money box designed to keep your tips and payments safe. When the case is closed, a secure combination lock guards the box and adds additional security.

Other features include:

    md barber box with stand
  • Removable trays
  • Shoulder strap for comfortable transport
  • Lid can be removed or stopped at 90-degree position
  • Large, removable mirror that easily lets you show your clients their haircut

Get the convenience of the Barber Box V5, and bring it with you to teach at barber universities or take it to hair shows and on-site haircuts. This deluxe barber case for clippers, razors and accessories is top of the line and will give you peace of mind knowing that your expensive tools are safe and secure when not in use. There’s only one place to get this case: MD Barber. If counter space is limited and you need a place to prop your box while you work, the portable stand we offer will do the trick. If you have questions or concerns about our barber boxes, feel free to contact us today. We’re happy to walk you through the process and explain how versatile this case can be!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Review of Pacinos Gold Styling Shears


Having worked with big-name celebrities such as Jay-Z and Ludacris, Pacinos the Barber knows a thing or two about detail and style, and his products reflect that. Each product sold in his grooming collection exudes style, class and quality, and we’re so pleased to be a provider of these great products. Today, we’re taking a closer look at his styling shears.

 pacinos gold styling shearsLike every product in Pacinos’ styling tool line, his styling shears are coated in a gold finish for an elegant and timeless look. The build of the shears themselves is stainless steel that’s been forged, which gives them a lightweight but rigid design that will last and last. From a comfort standpoint, the thumb features a molded-in finger rest for added grip and control as you cut, which helps prevent fatigue, soreness and mistakes.

Some specs of the styling shears include:

  • 5.5” length from tip to tip
  • Adjustable set screw for customized tension
  • Molded-in thumb grip

All in all, Pacinos Gold Styling Shears are an excellent option for all-around cutting. They’re lightweight, sleek, comfortable and built to last. We highly recommend you pick up a pair if you’re looking to add some style and sophistication to your toolset. At $61.99, our pricing is on par with the competition, and we offer them with free shipping!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

5 Tips for the Perfect Fade

Fade haircuts are incredibly popular these days. They require less maintenance for the client and add a cool visual style as you look from the neckline up to the top of the head. They also reduce the amount of regular cutting that needs to be done around the neckline and ears. You’ve probably done some fades for your clients in the past or you’re noticing more and more folks are asking for them, so it’s important to keep some tips in mind when giving a haircut fade.

how to cut a fade haircut

  1. Plan the fade. Before you even touch a pair of clippers, talk with your client about what he wants the fade to look like. Is it just a bit off the neckline and near the ears or does the fade start almost at the edge of the top of the skull? Planning where the fade will stop will give you more control over the cut and keep it looking uniform.
  2. Start small. You can always take hair off, but you can’t put it back on. Use a guard on your clippers (a #3 guard is a common one) and go over the entire area that will be faded. This will make sure you catch any loose hairs that are too long while preventing you from cutting too deep into the hair. Work your way down in guards to #2, then #1, then cut without a guard to complete the fade in sections. 
  3. Work with the grain. Start at the neck and work your way up the head. This makes sure no hairs get unintentionally pressed down against the head while you’re going over them with the guard.
  4. Consider a zero-gap attachment for close cuts. If your client wants a fade that cuts closer to the skin, consider using a zero-gap attachment on your clippers. This is a quick and easy way to get sharp lines and details close to the skin without risk of accidentally cutting into the existing fade.
  5. Keep your pressure consistent throughout. When cutting a fade haircut, uneven pressure from clipper blades is what causes a fade to look uneven and unprofessional. By applying even pressure in each stage of the cut, you’re sure to have a straight, uniform look throughout and a satisfied customer.


Fade haircuts are actually quite simple once you’ve mastered the basic, gradual steps of the technique. Start slow, plan your fade’s height, apply even pressure and you’ll have a dynamite haircut each and every time. What are some tips or tricks you’ve found helpful when explaining to other barbers how to fade a haircut? Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

5 Keys to Choosing A Barber Networking Event


You saw that post on Facebook or Instagram and you don't know if it's worth the 2 hour drive or 6 hour flight to that Barber Competition.  Between my business partner Martin and I we have attended over 40 Barber Battles, and Beauty Shows over the past 7 years.  We have hosted 3 ourselves and we can usually spot a good show a mile away and likewise a bad show. So what do we look for and what should YOU look for as you look to spend your time AND money wisely.

Barber Experience


Ask yourself, have you ever heard of the promoter or event before?  Anyone can scrap together a 'first' show.  Is this their first show or their fifth?   Even small shows that occur regularly every year can slowly build into decent sized shows with better and better content and vendors. Check their website, do they have photos of the past events?  Ask around, has anyone you know been to one of their shows before? 

Sponsors for Barber Conventions


It seems like every barber show on earth has three sponsors, Andis, Oster, and Wahl.  If you've seen the posters, and flyers, you know those logos are always there.  Promoters love to use logos from major brands to make their show look more 'official'.  While these are great companies, these three logos typically mean nothing when printed on a flyer.  Will representatives from these companies be at the show?  Most likely not.  We've attended shows where one or two of these companies are listed as the main sponsor, and could not find even ONE of their products for sale at the show.

Another tactic of Promoters is to fill the flyer with any and every logo under the sun.  Does your cousin sell auto insurance?  Put his logo on there!  When you look at the advertisement quickly evaluate which logos are just put there for fluff and which are meaningful.

Meaningful sponsors are the key brands that are big enough to bring innovative products and education to the event, but not so big that they can't be troubled to catch a plane once in a while.  You are looking for brands in the middle, you know, the people who are working to improve your industry.  No matter how big we get, we will make sure MD Barber is always be in this category - but there are others to look for as well.

Education Opportunities


 Quality education at a trade show is very rare.  For the most part the educators are selling something and that's okay because the sales help pay for the education, but way too often the educator is nothing more than a salesman.  Just like any type of learning, class size is a factor.  See if you can find out how many people will be attending the classes, and make sure there will be a chance to ask questions.  Education is a two-way street and a product demo is not education.

It also pays to identify your educational goals and then decide which events offer education in the areas you want to work on.  Do you need to learn clipper over comb?  Or do you want to learn social media marketing techniques?  Look for the even that has what you need.

Location of Barber Conventions


 We have seen tiny venues packed out and filled with barbers and we have seen huge venues that felt empty and boring.  Typically Bars and Clubs are very low cost venues for Promoters.  The 'host' club or bar makes most of their money on drinks and doesn't charge the Promoter to use the space.  Stay away from these events.  If the Promoter can't pay for a half-way decent facility, they probably can't put on a good show.  There are some exceptions, but be selective if you hear the event will be at a resturaunt, bar, or club.

Conference centers are HUGE and expensive.  Barber events usually don't draw enough money from sponsors to pay for these facilities (sad but true) and if a Promoter is booking an expensive venue you better believe that's less money to spend on educators, prizes, etc.  Look for an event held at a inexpensive public facility like a dance hall, fair grounds, or a hotel ball room.  These are the events that usually bring the biggest value for the participants.

Value of the Barber Convention


You get what you pay for right?  Wrong.  You should never be satisfied with getting what you paid for!  Instead, get more than you paid for.  Write out a list of upcoming events and try to add up the cost of each one including travel, missed time at work, etc..  Time is money, especially for barbers!

After you have a list of costs for each event, write out the benefits of each show.  Are there networking opportunities?  Vendors you want to meet?  Education you need?   The cheapest show could be the biggest waste of money.  Unless you add up the benefits you will not know which show or shows are the best value to YOU.

After each show you attend, write down some bullet points outlining the benefits you received from attending the show and evaluate whether it was a good investment.  There are lots of good shows out there and plenty of bad ones.   If you need a recommendation for shows near you just send me an email.  Yes I do answer my email!  Email me at dave@mdbarber.com or call 866 939 5588 and ask for me.