There is an old saying, “there are many ways to skin a cat’. This is also accurate with cutting hair. There are many techniques and a variety of tools to use when cutting somebody’s hair. This week I explore some of the more bizarre tools and techniques seen around the world to cut hair.
Let me start by exploring the common practices in Northern America. Obviously the most common tool used to cut hair is a classic pair of scissors. Some hairstylists prefer to use the word shear, it various from hairstylists, shears are a larger pair of scissors. When I hear the word shear I think of sheep shears, or shears used for gardening and trimming hedges, that’s why I use the word scissors. I’m not here to argue with words and rhetoric though. Scissors are one of the oldest tools for cutting hair, dating back to Egypt around 1500 BC. Other tools used to cut hair in America would be a razor and electric clippers. Clippers have been around for some time, before we had electricity; hand held manual clippers were used. You would squeeze the handle of the clippers to open and close them. These clippers would cut close to the scalp and remove the hair but would take some time to cut the entire head of hair.
As we move around the world you can see some more interesting ways to cut hair.
In Madrid there is a hairstylist by the name of Alberto Olmedo who has some unique practices. He is mostly known for using medieval tools. Not only will he burn your hair with fire, but he may also use claws, katanas (samurai swords), and two to six scissors at a time! He claims that using fire will help your hair grow longer and that some of the oldest techniques are still the best to use for hairstyling. Alberto feels that this is what art is and we art, with tattoos, body modification, and our hairstyles our body is a walking piece of art.
There is a Russian hairdresser from the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, Daniil Istomin, that chops his clients’ hair with an axe. The hairdresser claims that it is easier to cut hair with an axe instead of scissors. If this is the tool that helps him achieve the looks the client desires that is great, however it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘you’ve been axed’.
I spoke in an earlier blog post about some salons in Japan using robotic machines to wash people’s hair. You may think that is strange, but what! What about a cat styling your hair? Now it’s not how it sounds, it not like a giant cat is cutting your hair, even though that sounds amazing to me! Think of it. A human sized cat using their claws to cut your hair. I’m getting side tracked. What this technique involves is using the cat to fluff your hair. Once the hair is styled you take a cat and rub its belly on your hair and uses the pads of the cats’ paws to finish the style. I’m still confused on how this help style hair but it’s cute as hell!
I have some reservations on burning someone’s hair and perplexed by the lack of structure and precision in cutting someone’s hair an axe, but I do not judge it. All these hairstylists seem to have a clientele that are willing to receive these services and have this experience, for that I can respect what hairstylists around the world are doing. I may not understand all of it but that’s the beauty in art, not everyone needs to get it. As Alberto says, “The results are what’s most important.” If the clients are happy and enjoy the experience they are paying for that is all that matters.
Below I have added videos to show these strange techniques and tools, if you’ve seen some strange ways to cut hair I would love to see it, add your stories and videos below.
Now, If you’ll excuse me, I must have my cat, Kiki, finish styling my hair.
THE GEOGRAPHY OF HAIR
The Geography of Hair is devoted to share experiences and stories in cosmetology and how it has affected people, myself, or us as a society.