When you look at all your tools, cleaned, oiled and ready for a busy day in your barbershop, how much value or importance do you place on the mirror?
As a busy barber it’s probably never even crossed your mind how crucial that one piece of equipment is to you. We spend all day in front of it without realising that this mirror is our best friend.
Who’s The Mirror Really There For?
We should all be aware, something I was told many years ago, that the mirror is NOT there for the client, it’s there for the barber. Because when you look at a haircut with the naked eye, you will see the cut a little differently than what you see in the mirror. And sometimes we are literally too close to the client, to get a true picture of the haircut itself.
Why Face Away From the Mirror?
One thing I’ve noticed over the last few years, especially with a lot of American barbers, is that they always face their client away from the mirror while they are cutting. While I don’t do this myself, I can see the value in it especially with fades and other clipper work. They don’t do it to surprise the client when they finally spin the chair around. They do it so they can use it to constantly check their work.
You’re Standing TOO CLOSE!!!
As you look at a haircut in the mirror, you see the cut as others see it. You may notice slight details which need to be attended to. As the light hits the head, it can show up imperfections that you won’t see standing over the client. So it’s a good idea to always double check your work. That’s where the mirror comes in.
The bottom line is that the more you constantly refer to the image in the mirror, the more the quality of your work will improve.
“The mirror is not there for the client. It’s there for the barber. It’s one of the most powerful tools we have.”
Michael Damiano. Wahl Artistic Team Member
The Chair Spins. Use It!
The chair that your client is sitting in also plays an important part in this operation. The chair and the mirror work in tandem, giving you a 360 degree perspective of the whole haircut. Because by turning the chair, it gives you the ability to see the cut from every angle. This one thing alone will show up any slight imperfections or shading issues that you can then deal with.
In my shop, each section has a mirror strategically placed on the wall behind the chair, at an angle. The client tends to think it is for their benefit, which in some cases it is. But it also there for me, so while I am round the front of the client, I can look up to check what the back looks like from a few feet away.
Checking a Beard in the Mirror
Sometimes when you lining up a beard, you can find yourself standing slightly to the side of the client. Here is where the mirror comes into its own. You should stand behind the client and then raise the chin up. This will give you a good visual, as to the level and accuracy, of the jaw-line. And as with all beard trims, it should be viewed from every perceivable angle to check the shape is correct and symmetrical.
Look in the Rear View Mirror
Finally we come to the big mirrors little brother, the back mirror. Once again the client may think that showing him the back is for his benefit, but we should always take a good look ourselves too.
Here again we can zone in on small imperfections that we can then rectify, thus turning a good haircut into a great one.
Check Your Mirrors- Not Only When You’re Driving
So all of you barber’s out, let your clients know why you face them away from the mirror and if they look worried, let them face it. But just remember to use it to check your work. So don’t take big shiny piece of glass on your wall for granted. Make it a habit to check the mirror.