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Modern Barbering

Modern Barbering: The term Modern Barbering is itself quite general but tends to be used largely to the new wave of largely European or Asian hair styles, although there are some very good Afro barbers within it. Largely this style involves a combination of traditionally afro-Caribbean fading techniques and European hairdressing. The re-popularisation of drop fade or “philly fade”, with the weight kept at the crown has been crucial the movement’s success, as it allows for flowing styles and lovng textured hair to seat neatly onto skinned sides without “killing the crown” as it is called”. There is as slight virtuoso element in exaggerated transitions and difficult shapes.

Among Americas new school barbers it is still quite common to see the greaser look. The smooth blend and super clean lines lead into a very traditionally American very slick and very wet looking top, giving the customer a modern look with a nostalgic “wise guy” edge. Sometimes an undercut is incorporated into “The Greaser 2.0” if you’re really on this ting.

In the Uk’s Modern Barbering scene specifically this look is not popular at all, although it does appear in more Traditionalist British barbershops ( see nxt issue plz. The HD look is popular in Modern Barbering with drop fades etc, by and large the UK scene uses these to emphasise movement with elaborate styling, heavy matte texture and dynamic profiles . This preference in the Uk is largely due to the Modern Barbering trend being adopted readily by converted hairdressers. With the rising popularity of the skin fad, men’s hair became increasingly attractive to hairdressers in search of bolder more creative looks. When they moved into men’s hair they brought the taste and techniques of modern hairdressing with them into the barbering world. Coupled with a shift in modern attitudes towards and increasing commercial focus on male grooming, this is essentially why local geezers everywhere have been looking a lot more on point recently. No more boot cuts and number one, modern men seek a more tailored look from the head piece to the foot bottom.

Two of the most prevalent ambassadors of this style are from Manchester. @alanbeak & @mozambeak are known for their very soft grainy fades, intricate blow drying and heavily textured matte finish. Very soft and british-looking, this finish is achieved through razor cutting, thinning, feathering and technical blow drying, making the top appear light and flowing but still thick look. This is complemented by a “less is more” approach to balding out the fade. Typically, Modern Barbering stretches the 0 -1 section of the fade with the final reduction to skin happening largely only beneath the ears. This elongated section very gradually blends stubble into the longer hair, softening the transition and creating a stretched or “blurry” fade: a technique taken from Modern Afro-Barbering but pushed almost to the extreme. It looks clean but not enough to draw the eye away from the styling on top. This makes the long hair “the meat and two veg” of the cut and draws the focus to the styling. This effect is often enhanced in photography and is a clear example of the hairdressing mindset at the core of the “Modern Barbering” look.

Crops & Pomps


The crop and the pomp are two of the most popular looks in european hair right now, but also because they are both modern retakes on older styles. we are seeing styles re-emerge from as far back as the early 20th century. The most iconic of these modern revamps is the Pompadour/ swept back on top. Reminiscient of James Dean in the early 60s, although modern tastes and tools give the hair cut that “fresh” look which would have been considered over the top back in the day.

This I believe is lagely due to the “vintage” wave gaining steady popularity for the last 10 years, which idealises iconography from mid century and post-modern pop culture. This taste for anything that looks dliberately dated has shot the pomp back into common place along with long victorian beards and vintage brand clothing.

The Crop is another look that has reemerged rapidly in the last 2 years. It is the most recent variation on a long standing british affinity for the bowl cut, a look which has been sported by many real and ficitional icons of british pop culture.

Over the years the sides have become increasigly shorter. I believe this is a natural progression that has followed the much larger shift towards more short back and sides orientated looks and away from the mulllet type looks of the 70s and 80s, where the back is left long and heavy.

When I was at school in the 90s this short version was known as a french crop and was the go to haircut roud where I used to live in hertfordshire. Basically, this look is an english favourite and with all the 90s revivial stuff going on in music, fashion etc the Crop particularly has once again appeared everywhere almost over night.This is a perfect example of the “Modern Barbering” Crop by Brumtown’s @pabz_faded. Whilst retaining the Heavy blunt fringe and forward direction of the hair, the trim looks very different and this is due to the incorporation of modern techniques. Starting with the top; there is a huge amount of texture and volume added via the use of dry shampoo, blow drying and either matte wax or matte hairspray, creating a far more dynamic look than in previous decades. The effect is further exaggerated by the sharp disconnect into the short sides. This technique is an almost mandatory favourite of Modern Barbering , creating a weighted border for the long hair to flow into. This allows for the very quick transition from very short to long hair, often needed in these modern styles, without creating too heavy a line which would ruin the blend on the sides. The Crop is then finished with a short skin taper and line up, making the haircut crispy and modern looking.

Editorial Note: The modern barbering section has mainly focused on straight hair or loose curls simply because the styling is a more integral part of the overall cutting work if one is to achieve a good overall finish. I would like to note that this is not to say the top is not important with afro hair but rather there is too much to be able to go into detail in one chapter. This is because it is a process more separate in itself and less bound to the cutting process. In the next Trends section we will look at the differences between afro styling and traditional European hairdressing.