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Antonio’s View: On the Razor’s Edge

by Antonio Gonzales on Monday, March 8, 2010

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles and now New York City. Here in New York, I am a stylist at the Orlo Salon in the Meat Packing district. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in N.Y., I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by shecky’s.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the best cuts 2009.

See Antonio’s blog here.

As we all know (hairstylists and clients alike), the razor has been given a bad name, especially for curly hair. I am here to say that it is not the razor, rather the person using the razor. The razor is a tool from the heavens, literally. Its ability to be so gentle and precise on curly hair surpasses scissors with results that leave curls speechless.

Here are four important topics covering the do’s and don’ts to help you better understand this amazing tool.

1. The type of razor

The Feather Razor
I recommend not using a Feather Razor on curly hair. This razor comes with a guard, which limits the use of the blade. The guard is for us not to cut ourselves or the client, but it takes away from the magic of the razor and is far more aggressive. If you see someone using this razor, you can witness its scalping action. Yes, some of us are strong with this tool but with a lot of practice we take it one step further and use a Classic Razor.

The Straight Classic Razor
Now this baby is what I’m talking about. The difference is like cutting top sirloin with a good steak knife versus a butter knife. This razor can be used with such precision that a haircut can maintain its shape and last long. There are so many parts to that single blade—I can twist my wrist and get results that no other cutting tool can give me. I cannot only remove bulk with this, but I can also create amazing lines for length that’s soft without being shredded.

However, there are times when a pair of scissors is called to do the job. That’s when we professionals decide what’s best for the hair type and the look we are trying to achieve.

2. Thinning Shears

This tool is good for finishing a man’s haircut (very final step), not for curly hair. It’s the number one mistake that makes curly hair weak and lose its shape quickly. Because it goes deep into the hair, it is targeting the structure in a line across the section of hair. Keep in mind that curly hair needs to have a foundation in order for it to move like real hair and grow out well.

3. Razor on Wet Hair

Yes, this can be done. When it’s done the focus is on the size of sections, sectioning, texture and hair type. Remember, when hair is wet it stretches and is extremely vulnerable to over cutting. This is also when the Classic Razor is the client’s best friend allowing the stylist to have full control and cut the hair without aggression.

4. Razor Cutting on Dry Hair

This is where serious cutting skills come in. My boss and mentor, Orlando Pita, recently taught me to approach a Classic Razor cut on dry hair when the hair is blow-dried smooth. I’d never seen this done before and I’m grateful to have learned from one of the hair masters. When cutting curly hair that is blown out, the focus is on whether the client is wearing his or her hair straight only or straight and curly, as well their ability to master the styling themselves.

Start doing your research for a hairstylist that’s strong with the classic straight razor and go in for a consultation. As you can see, there are many ways to approach cutting curly hair wrong and right. So it’s about you the client finding a hairstylist (referral preferably) to cut your curly hair.

I wish you beautifully razor cut curly hair!

One Comment for “Antonio’s View: On the Razor’s Edge”
  1. by zoothair

    On April 4, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Good stuff. All to often stylists think curly hair can not and should not be cut with a razor. Just not the case… with education and experience… amazing things can happen.
    Thank you.

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