Introduction Hairdresser Brian Burt , a San Diego-based barber who teaches his craft around the world. Watch this interview with Brian about his journey to the hairdressing profession, where he sees men’s hair go and look fresh from the barber look at home.
How did you get to the barber?
After working on dead-end jobs and doing everything I could to make ends meet, I lived in San Diego, working as a stagehand at concerts, and decided that I needed a change. If I had hair, I would visit a hairdresser’s visit once a week for a low rash or buzz cut. I loved the atmosphere of the shop, the history, the scent of the bay rum, talc and pomade. I did not come from money and I never went to a traditional college, but I knew that I needed to do something that gave steady income, but most importantly, I had to do something that I enjoyed doing. I found that in the barber.
What do you like most as a barber?
I like being my own boss and barbering makes me be. I love seeing a customer’s reaction to one of my haircuts or shaving and I love the bond that I develop with my clients. I am grateful that barbering has taken me all over the world, giving me the opportunity to make many friends and meet some really great like-minded people.
What changes have you seen in the barber over the years?
I have seen that our industry is changing dramatically and the hairstyles are changing dramatically. We saw close weekly skin blurs on the entire Jersey Shore styles, then the classic 50s. Currently, facial hair is in full swing. I’ve seen fuller haircuts with more shearing than the clipper cuts on the sides. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for hairstyles. I think the classics will never go out, but the hard parts, the top knots and the undercuts, well, I’m sure they’ll be laughed off in the near future.
I see a lot of new care products coming out. Years ago, there were only a handful of pomades. There were very few water-based pomades. Now I am fortunate enough to work with a brand that brings gel back in a good way. I work with two of my friends (in other industries) to create a gel that is not embarrassing to buy. It’s called 6 o’clock men and will start this year.
There was also a tremendous increase in beard oils and beard growth, which is great. Beards are like a head of hair, they also need a direction. Most people do not know that, and when I show them how to blow their beard and add little oil, the beard not only looks better, it smells good and has a great shape.
In the last few years, I’ve seen barber shops appearing left and right. In San Diego alone, I’ve opened 10 stores in the last 5 years. I think that’s a good thing for the industry. Previously, a barbershop was considered a place for a cheap, quick haircut, buzzcut or flat top.
Now barbershops are considered as a haven for the man. We are taken more seriously. Men now know that they can get the same quality haircut (if not better) than what they get at half the price in a salon. The cosmos is now becoming a barber. People who do not cut hair open hairdressing salons. I was recently approached by a bar / restaurant owner to seek advice from a barbershop he opened The Dover Honing Co. (located on the 8th and G in downtown San Diego). I am very excited to be part of this barbershop.
I like to try and stay positive, so I’m just going to talk about one negative thing that struck me, and that’s the rise of new barbers who do not understand how difficult the barbering really is. Yes we have fun, yes we make good money, yes we love what we do. But the new generation does not recognize the physical and mental burden. We stand and talk all day. We are in the service industry. We are dealing with the public, not everyone is pleasant (if you know what I mean). Most of us are not insured and we are independent entrepreneurs, which means we have to pay taxes every year. It is sometimes not as glamorous as it seems. I often get emails from people who want to go to the industry because they want what I have or want to do, what I do. Although I’m flattered, I’ve been in this industry full time for over 10 years, working my ass off to get where I am.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Every day I am inspired by the people I work with and surround myself with. I am very happy to be surrounded by incredibly talented people who have integrity, positivity, self-motivated motivation, respect and humility. It is very inspiring to see that this industry has gained so much momentum in recent years. I admire so many people for so many different reasons, from this industry to the other trades, from all walks of life and from all over the world.
Luckily, we now have the World Wide Web and Social Media Instagram Here hairdressers from all over the world can share haircuts and lifestyle photos of hairdressers. I let myself be inspired by this every day.
How do you help customers find their best looks?
To me, the advice is one of the most important parts of the service. I ask many questions. One of the first questions I ask is whether they usually use products or just wake up and go. How much time do they spend in front of the mirror to make their hair. Then I ask if there is a particular look or if they have a style icon that they could use as a reference. As I said, I ask a lot of questions … .. then I can visually see what they are trying to achieve and what works best with their lifestyle.
What can men do at home to restore that fresh from barber style?
Each man must invest in a comb or brush, styling product and hair dryer and then 5 minutes to restore that fresh look. One of the first things clients say, after showing them step-by-step how to style their hair, is, “I can never see my hair the way it is at home,” and I say, “Yes, you can “5 solid minutes in front of the mirror with a brush or comb, a hair dryer and a product and you can also recreate what a hairdresser does. It’s not witchcraft, it’s just hair. Practice creates masters.
What are the top hair trends for men this year?
I think the top hair trends for men this year are more of a natural look with a matte / dry finish. For a while, it looked like men were putting half a can of grease in their hair. I also see the same classic military haircuts, but a little longer, so that the hair outgrown look as if it had been cut a week earlier. Clipper over comb and scissors over crest on the sides rather than a “2 guard” or skin on the sides. I also see a lot of styles influenced by New Wave, which is very cool for me, because that’s how I wore my hair as a teenager.