It’s All About Natural Flow, According To This Hairdresser
As we anticipate which hair looks are hot on the agenda for summer 2023, according to one hairdresser, it’s all about going with the hair’s natural flow...
After beginning his hairdressing career in London during the 60s, Robin Barker has had a successful career to say the least. After immigrating to Canada and becoming head stylist of Gus Caruso’s, Toronto’s number one salon, Robin has since gone on to win numerous awards and accolades, have his work featured in many magazines including Vogue, and organise shows to raise money for charity. But with Robin’s outlook primarily focusing on the hair’s ‘natural flow’ and gravity, we wanted to find out more about his hairdressing methods.
When cutting hair Robin explains that the hair should be cut with the main focus being on the natural flow as well as suitability for the client in order for the hair to look beautiful and in shape when it dries naturally. “Imagine getting out of the shower, or just finishing swimming. You do nothing to your hair except perhaps, shake your head, run your fingers through, and let it dry naturally. You can’t force the hair to do something it doesn’t want to do in the way it falls naturally. Yes, you can force the hair to do something natural, blow-dry, iron, curl, but how long will the style hold? If the hair is cut following its natural growth pattern, the haircut will hold its shape and last longer,” Robin tells us.
But how exactly can you identify the natural flow of your client’s hair? “Simply by examining the hairline and the crown,” says Robin. “You need to look for which way, and how the hair grows.” During the consultation, Robin outlines the lay of hair by looking if the client has a double crown, left or right part, or a centre part, and whether the hair grows forward or off the face. He then examines whether the hairline is high forehead, low forehead, receding, widows peak, ducktail, or high nape, to determine the natural flow of the client’s hair.
Following his outlook on hair, there’s one matter that Robin is always questioning – why do most stylists start a haircut from the back? After being taught at The Henry James Institute, Robin recalls learning the ‘European’ method. “This was combing the hair equally down around the head and cutting the circumference,” he says. “If layers were to be cut, we were to think of a bicycle wheel, using the crown as the centre and cutting at the length that was recommended in pie-like sections.” It was from here that he also took inspiration from Vidal Sassoon. But Robin soon began to question everything. “It was especially in hair shaping. I thought, is this the only way? Does this make sense?”
This soon led to a eureka moment. “A client came in with long hair wanting bangs, and she was extremely nervous” Robin tells us. “As most hairdresser’s shape hair from the back, by the time they get to the front, the client is a nervous wreck. I decided to shape the bangs first and I found the client became fully relaxed.”
Now, Robin makes his statement by cutting hair from the front, using his own technique to give the hair natural shape, vertical layers, and palm cutting. “So that on those ‘worst’ days, the client can still be head and shoulders above the crowd.”