In the world of barbering and cosmetology, there are several tools and implements that are highly favored, some more than others. Companies are always trying to rival their competitors products, which leaves many new comers walking into a beauty supply store with their jaws hangin’ off the floor, and leaving the stores with an empty wallet. Believe me, when I first started, I wanted everything the stores had to offer! Hell… I STILL DO! But, in good ol’ Rebel Rouser fashion, I look to help out cats in predicaments such as this, so you don’t have to waste money, and you can narrow things down to find the right tool & implement for you.
One thing I’m glad to have done(without actually having done anything,) is help motivate some cats around the world take the leap into the world of barbering, themselves. Sometimes, all you need is a little push in the right direction! I’m glad to have unknowingly motivate people to pick up the trade of barbering. So, to help out a bit more, I’ll show you the tools and implements I’ve done my own research on over the last 10 months, so you don’t have to waste money on lower quality tools! I mean, these things are supposed to make you money, so why throw away money on the ones that break?
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Now, for those who want to know some of the terminology previously used:
Tools: Electric powered items (clippers & trimmers.)
Implements: Non-motorized items (combs, shears, & razors.)
With barbering, the tools are some of the cheapest (price wise) things you can buy. Why? Because certain implements can cost more than a single tool! And yes… that includes combs… With that being said, there are some clippers that are within the same price range of one another, but aren’t as powerful… So, why skimp out, when you can just spend the extra $2-5 on a more powerful clipper made by the same brand? Seriously, that’s how little the price differences can be!
The main clipper bands I looked into are Andis, Wahl, and Oster. Each company makes a handful of different, yet, respectable clippers, but there are a few models that are tried and true from barbers all over. From my short experience with them, they each have their place in my personal arsenal of clippers, though you may stick with just one or the other…
Andis Master x2, Wahl 5 Star Senior, and Oster Fast Feeds.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… ‘WHY DO YOU NEED TWO PAIRS OF MASTERS, SOME SENIORS AND THE FAST FEEDS!!!’
Simply because– they’re all different!
One major thing to note about the clippers, is that they have different types of motors. I will go to more depth on each clipper’s motor and how they run hot, in their individual reviews… Sorry folks, gotta keep ya interested somehow!
Taking a look at these clippers from a side profile view, you’ll notice that each and every blade is different.
With different blades (normal, fade/surgical) you can use each clipper to take out lines from one another with ease and get a blend to look “right.” Of course, there’s an easier way to take out the lines… DON’T MAKE EM! But, shit happens and each and every barber likes their blends to look a certain way.
Depending on the cut, I find myself going back and forth between each clipper for different parts of the haircut. For certain hair types, I’ve found the Masters not to be as strong as say the Seniors or Fast Feeds, and other parts of the cut, I find the Fast Feeds won’t grab and cut the hair as efficiently as the Masters or Seniors, and the so forth… So for me, rather than going over certain spots over and over again, I’ll just grab another clipper to get the job done and move on. Also, I’ve found certain clippers to cut wet/dry hair better than others. As I’ve said, you still can get any job done with just any one clipper, but I’ve found these three different models to work well for the way I cut.
Pricing* is what really separates these clippers:
Andis Masters – $90+/-
Wahl 5 Star Senior – $60+/-
Oster Fast Feed – $50+/-
These three are all great clippers and will definitely have their spot in your arsenal, as they’ve all found their place in mine, it’s just up to you to figure out which one(s) would work best for you. Keep in mind- the Masters and Seniors have metal housing, whereas the Fast Feeds are plastic, so the weight between the three in considerably different, and if you can’t handle the heavier weight, then choose your clipper accordingly!
There are a ton of universal clipper guards out on the market, which can be used interchangeably amongst these three clippers, but I prefer to keep this as minimal as possible, and stuck with this little set up:
I stuck with the basic 0-4 purple magnetic Andis guards, which can go on the Andis Master (with stock blade) and the Oster Fast Feeds with no problem, and anything longer than a 4 can be cut with shears… unless I get that customer that just has to be cut with a 5-8, then I’m fucked, haha. But since they are magnetic, they will fit on the Wahl 5 Star Senior, but I don’t recommend it, as they’re not designed to sit on the clipper blade properly.
I do keep other Andis clipper guards on hand, just in case I drop one and don’t have the time to properly sanitize it– Always good to have back ups!
For my Wahl 5 Star Seniors, I just have the guards the clippers came with (aside from that little green one, just because I think it looks cool, but it is the exact same as the grey one that comes with the clippers.)
Wahl and Oster do have their own clipper guards for their clippers, but I find this set up to work well for me.
Note: The 1/16th Wahl guard is not the same measurements as the Andis 1/6th guards, so before you start hopping around, figure out what cuts what, or else you may have a very patchy haircut! Sorry folks, as much as I like to help and make things a lot easier, barbering is a learning curve, so you’ll have to figure this part out on your own!
Detachable blade clippers are some of the more popular clippers you’ll find in a barbershop, as they’re easy to use and are typically more powerful than your non-detachable blade clippers. Wahl, Oster, and Andis all make good detachable clippers, but these two are the ones I currently have:
Andis BGRC & Oster Powerline (Classic 76.)
As you can tell, the Andis BGRC is a more modern looking clipper, while the Powerline is very classic and old-school looking. The modern designed BGRC is very low in maintenance, especially in comparison to the Classic 76 which has a notoriously high maintenance level, but is considerably weaker in terms of power. I’ve found the BGRC to pull on thicker hair, whereas the 76 blows right through any and all hair types, with no discomfort to the customer.
Having a detachable blade clipper is definitely a must. For quick Caesars or fades, slapping on a numbered clipper blade is faster and easier than working the notches on an adjustable clipper for most barbers, (of course, it does depend on how proficient you are with the clippers.) Regardless, you’ll find the detachable blade clippers to help speed up haircutting time and get the blends the way you want them when cut along side of an adjustable clipper.
Pricing* for these clippers aren’t as spaced out as the adjustable clippers:
Andis BGRC – $110 +/-
Oster 76 – $130+/-
Andis does make a superior BGR clipper, being the BGRV, but I don’t own it and don’t have the ‘need’ for it since I have both the Oster Powerline, which is serving me well.
(I don’t have a picture of my detachable blades, but I will go more indepth on them when I review each detachable blade clipper individually.)
Trimmers are little powerful tools used to outline haircuts, clean up hairs along the neck, as well as designs. You would usually see multiple trimmers in a barbers line up. These little things are powerful, which means they run hot quicker than clippers, and with sharper blades being hot, it’s definitely not something you want to feel on your neck!
Wahl 5 Star Hero & Andis T-Outliner x2 (not pictured.)
Since I currently haven’t had too many back-to-back haircuts in school, nor do I do designs, I haven’t had the need to carry both T-Outliners. But it’s typically recommended to have a number of trimmers on hand, in case of them running hot, as well as sensitive skinned customers (elderly and youth.) I have the Heros stock and untouched for such customers.
Things things are sharp! Most barbers will adjust the blades to be zero gapped to cut sharper lines. These adjustments, more often than not, aren’t adjusted properly and you’ll have overbite, and when your trimmers have overlapped teeth, it will cut the skin and you’ll have customers leaving with a bad story to tell on your part… NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT ON YOUR RECORD!
These tools are definitely great to have on hand to define your finished haircuts with a clean outline, which is a detail that all clients can appreciate… just as long as you didn’t push their hairlines back!
Pricing* for the two is as follows:
Wahl 5 Star Hero – $30+/-
Andis T-Outliner – $50+/-
There are many other great trimmers on the market, many of which I do want to own at some point, but these are the ones I have at the moment.
*The prices listed above are gathered from Amazon searches. The prices will go up if you purchase your tools from the companies directly.
Now that we’ve covered a majority of the tools found at a barbers station, time to check out the implements!
As mentioned above, implements are non-motorized items used by a barber or stylist, which consists of shears, combs, and razors. Obviously, these are things that are powered through your hands! Unlike clippers, I am relatively “reserved” when it comes to implements… well… sort of…
As we all know, prior to barbering, I already had my wide selection of combs… Ok fine, COLLECTION. But, I’ve picked out certain combs that work better in this field for most, and kept the ones I want to use on my own head of hair. I mean, after all, I still need to do my own hair!
Here’s my modest selection of combs:
The two big clipper combs are bought from Sally’s Beauty Supply, as I’ve found that they’re sturdier than the ones made by Andis… And they’re cheaper! The smaller black one is made by Oster, which also works well as a comb for scissor-over-comb action. These types of combs are definitely a must have! Most people like to use these to style big pomps, but I suggest be cautious, as these types of combs will break easy (due to the longer teeth.)
The other combs can be used for either scissor work, clipper work, as well as styling. With combs, you really don’t need any one particular brand or style, just have a variety of combs, as these are typically dropped often in a haircut… Yeah, admit it, some of you folks got butter fingers!… Ok I’ve dropped a comb or two… or three…
Note: I recommend having different toned ones, as you’ll see light-colored hair better in black combs, and dark hair better in colored combs, etc.
There are several other combs made of various materials, but they go up higher in price and I don’t have any on hand to cover.
When it comes to prices for combs, go with whichever source is around. Most of these combs will range you anywhere from $.50 to $2, while the Oster comb is $8+/-
For me, shears are some of my favorite things to use in a haircut. You actually get the feel of cutting hair when using shears! Don’t get me wrong, you are cutting hair with clippers, but with shears, you’re really in there! In my opinion, without even the basic knowledge of shear cutting, you can’t really consider yourself a barber. There are many ways you can manipulate a haircut with shears, that you just can’t do with clippers. But with the right balance with shear work and clipper work, you’ll be an amazing barber and/or stylist!
When I first started barber college, I asked several barbers to recommend me some shears that were tried and true. While the shears weren’t bad and were definitely affordable, they just weren’t cutting it for me and since shear work is my favorite aspect of barbering, I figured “Go big or get the fuck out!” So, once the opportunity to get my “dream shears” came to fruition, I just had to go in balls deep and say FUCK IT! Trust me, these things will work their way to paying themselves off!
“What kind of shears,” you ask?
Let’s go crazy!!!
For the most part, people think it’s crazy investing in such shears when you’re not an established barber/stylist in a shop and are still in school… All I have to say to that is, “who gives a fuck.” Without having the ‘right’ tools and implements in your hands, you won’t find what makes you comfortable in your trade. For me, trying out a small handful of different shears lead me to finding out that these are the shears that work best for me and make my cuts the way I want them to be.
Cheaper shears would push hair rather than cut it… Veteran barbers will just point fingers at not oiling them, too loose, or just taking too big of a hair section… While those are indeed fine points to make, I do oil my shears at least once a day (whether it be at the start or end,) make sure the tension is adjusted accordingly, and I take sections that fit my fingers. With these shears, little to nothing has changed, except the fact that they cut hair and never push or bend it… So any arguments from here on out are just bleep-bloop-boom…
For the rest of you, they may or not be the ‘right’ shears for you, and that’s just fine. There are plenty of shear companies out there that will meet your standards, and several more that make the prices of the Hattori Hanzo shears look like Walmart prices… Yeah, that’s how serious this shit can be!
That’s enough of that, let’s go into some details as to what you should look for in a shear!
Sizing with play a huge role. If you have big hands, you’ll want a shear to make you feel comfortable and not as if you’ll cut yourself with each snip. For me, I found that 6.5″ shears suit my needs perfectly and I’ve yet to cut myself when doing shear over finger work. Many barbers are comfortable anywhere from 6″ to a 7″ shear, anything bigger is typically used for scissor-over-comb work and anything smaller is used for detail work around the edges. Yet again, you have to find what’s comfortable for you…
The 7.5″ shear I use for scissor-over-comb and it gets the job done beautifully. Remember, with longer shears, you can cover more surface area of the head when doing scissor-over-comb, allowing you to be more proficient in your haircut.
The texturizing shear is usually a hit-or-miss with barbers and stylists. With several methods of texturizing hair without a texturizing specific shear, it’s almost a superfluous implement in most barbers and stylists arsenal. But, in my opinion, it’s great to have on hand, as you can really save a lot of time and can blend your haircuts effortlessly with them, and some haircuts just really do need a texturizing shear to make them work.
As I’ve reiterated over and over again in this post– while these are indeed great tools and implements to have and I would highly suggest them to anyone, they’re not necessarily what you may want nor need. Each barber and stylist has their own preference, as do I, but these are just some of the tools and implements barbers and stylists all over the world use and love and have made their career in this field of work a whole lot more comfortable. Regardless of what you use, it ultimately comes down to your desire to better yourself as a barber or stylist, and years and years of learning… this isn’t something you’ll be great at overnight, you’ll have your whole lifetime to perfect your craft, and even then, you’ll strive to become the best you can be!
Well folks, I know this was a long read, and hopefully a helpful one! Don’t worry, I’ll go into much greater detail in the individual reviews of each tool/implement. And who knows, I’ll probably adding a lot more to my arsenal as we go on!
Hopefully this is helpful to all of you up and coming barbers/stylists! Glad to have pushed some of you in the right direction and hope to keep motivating y’all to be the best barber/stylist you can be! Remember, it doesn’t quite matter what brand you use, because without the intention of doing your best with each and every cut, it won’t matter how well the tools work, because your passion for the haircut isn’t there. As long as you love what you’re doing, even if it’s with a cheap pair of shears and clippers, it’ll still be a great cut, because you made it so!
Until the next time folks…
Stay Greasy & Pomp Hard!