It's more common than you think—that moment when a guest walks in and asks for a clipper haircut and we cringe with fear. Seriously, it happens to the best of us, including myself! My name is Rachel Romero, and I am a dual-licensed barber/cosmetologist.
I started my career in beauty school at the Aveda Institute of New Mexico. After graduating I quickly decided that I wanted, or rather needed, to go to barber school in order to build my confidence and knowledge in clipper cutting. After three years of perfecting my craft, and with trial and error—I’m here to tell you that is not the case. The quote “knowledge destroys fear” is very inspiring to me because knowledge is powerful, but it's what you do with that knowledge that makes you powerful.
I've said all of that to say, achieving a bald fade is hard and takes lots of practice. Understanding the steps I use in a system I have created has helped me effortlessly get through it. Having a clipper that helps me do the haircut by using taper control, and comb attachments has changed my hair cutting game. Here are a few tips to help:
—Taper adjustment is the handle on the side of your clipper—it will take your blade closed at a size zero, and open at a half which is 1/16 of an inch, and then you have three different lengths in between. Using this with the combination of comb attachments will help you achieve a flawless blend with your fade.
—When starting to place a line of demarcation, I like to use a number 1.5 comb attachment or ‘guard’ to clean my canvas—if you have a clean canvas, you will always have clean results. This will be where your longest guard length will start. Then, using the round of the head to determine where my shortest length will be, I put my shortest length of demarcation in which will be a zero (closed, no guard).
—Now that I have two hard lines of demarcation, I can easily fade from my zero to my 1.5 by using the taper adjustment and comb attachments. The next step for my system will be fading out the zero line into the 1.5. I start by using a .5 guard, which is 1.5 mm, and I cut under my previously cut section using my taper adjustment to blend out the line. Doing this will help avoid putting in another line, and flawlessly blend out the previous guideline. The taper adjustment will take the .5 guard up 2mm each time you move it up until it's completely open at a half. Once you have that section complete, you will put your number 1 guard on to blend into the 1.5—you'll want this guard to start open at the half because it will be a little bit shorter than the 1.5 guard length. As you lower the taper control down to the 1, your line should start disappearing, and all you will be left with is the bulk from your 1.5 guard and the weight of the top of your haircut. You will want to use the clipper over comb method to blend in the weight with the fade but if scissor over comb is preferred, that will work also. Pro tip: if you’re a beginner at clipper over comb, use your half guard to protect your clipper from cutting into the hair if you miss the comb.
Hopefully this helps you better understand the system I use to achieve a bald fade. At the end of the day, our main goal is to build trust and confidence with our clients, but it has to start with us. Just like anything else in life, if you don't apply what you learn today and practice it repetitively, you'll never be able to achieve the results you're desiring.
For starters, having a pair of clippers that you are confident in and comfortable using is a necessity. Most of us still have the pair of clippers we got in beauty school stored somewhere far away in hopes that we never use them again, right? I’m hoping that after reading this you will be inspired to find a tool that is light weight, ergonomically crafted to fit perfectly in your hand, and has the ability to create different lengths with taper adjustment and comb attachments.
Switching up my tools was a huge game changer for me because I never knew how to use taper adjustment or guards. I'm currently obsessed with my Rose Gold FX clipper and Trimmer from BabylissPro! It has helped me so much because the taper adjustment actually locks into place for each length so I’m confident in myself and my fading techniques. Once you build that confidence in your client, you’ll have a friend for life.