Friday, January 15, 2010

Replaceable Blades

Some cleaning methods I use while cutting with replaceable blades.

1. Use a nail brush or a tooth brush to brush hair off of clipper and blade both in open and closed position on the clipper. Spray with a disinfectant spray front and back. I use Andis Cool Care Plus because it has a lubricant in addition to the disinfectant. Have heard that Oster makes a good disinfectant but have not tried it. Follow time directions.

2. Brush hair off of clipper and blade. Dip the running blade into Andis Blade Care Plus until no more hair is being flushed out of blade. So far I don't spray this with a disinfectant but it could be useful since this product only contains a decontaminant. Oster makes Blade Wash which does not have a disinfectant either from my reading of its label. Both Blade Care Plus and Blade wash seem to need a disinfectant spray following the cleaning. Blade Wash does not list a lubricant so may need to add oil to blade after disinfecting. I do not use these except as needed, but they do clean the blade of bits of hair the brushes don't reach.

When a client is used to having hair cut with clippers using the number one guard, the number one replaceable blade may give too short a length. It is only 1/32" shorter but some clients are not happy with this. They may not have recalled the right number for the guard. I generally start with a 1 1/2 or 2 for cutting a test patch around the sideburn area.

Cutting with the grain
Have been told that cutting with the grain of the hair is equivalent to having a half a guard number higher. For example cutting with a 1 guard in the direction of hair growth instead of into the grain is like cutting with a 1 1/2 guard or replaceable blade. This gives a lot of problems where there are tight, complicated growth patterns that make it hard to detect the direction of growth. In these areas the hair is cut across the grain or into the grain and it is too short for the rest of the pattern. In my experience, I do better using the higher number blade or guard and cutting the usual into-the-grain method.
1/18/10 Update. Got some more experience with haircuts where the client wanted the hair cut with the grain. The clients were teenage, African American brothers who both had horizontal waves in their hair going from side to side. Both wanted the hair reduced in height over all the head while preserving the wave pattern. Each wanted to have a cut that would make the hair all about the same height when finished. Mom supervised and I was told to cut with the grain. We used a number 2 replaceable blade on the older son and little hair was removed so we dropped down to a 1 1/2 for him. Overall results were received with very mild enthusiasm. Lining the perimeter was a very significant part of the hair cut. On younger son the hair was denser and curlier but he had the same wave pattern with the waves separated by about 1 cm. Cutting with a number 2 blade did not remove much hair any where on the head when used with the grain. Going against the grain on the sides made the hair shorter and left the smaller waves intact there. On the top he and Mom did not want the against the grain cut but they did want the volume of hair reduced. To do this the hair was combed and brushed up and back against the grain. This produced a height of about 1.25 cm. This was then cut free hand against the grain like cutting a flat top. The clipper was suspended off the hair to take off the ends of the hair. It left the hair just over a centimeter or 10 mm long. They were happy with this.
In looking at the replaceable blades again after the haircut I noticed that the 3 1/2 blade cuts at 9.5 mm which would have been a good approximation to what the free hand cut did. It would have been a much easier cut to make. The number 2 would have cut the hair at 6.3 mm if used against the grain. Going from a number 2 to number 3 1/2 left the hair 50% longer. This will be my new rule of thumb: When cutting with the grain and getting a minimal reduction in hair volume, go to the blade that leaves hair 50% longer and cut into the grain.

I tried Radio Shack Dust Remover Spray to clean hair out of the clipper blades. It left too much hair especially if there were any lubricant to hold onto the hair. Your mileage may vary.

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