Although they’ve recently launched a men’s product line, at the heart of Lock & Loaded is an education-based brand. Artistic Director Eli Mancha says when they started the education team nearly seven years ago, it was because they understood the need for more education to develop men’s grooming skills and show how to grow as professionals.


MODERN caught up with Mancha at a Cosmetologists Chicago First Mondays educational event.


1. What is the first thing to do when starting a men’s cut?


Start with a consultation and talk about the haircut you want to do, visualize the silhouette and decide what shape to put into the cut. Triangle, square and circle are the three basic shapes of men’s cuts. You decide which of those shapes to put on your client based on his face shape and features and the look you’re trying to create.


2. Do you prefer shear-over-comb or clipper cutting?


I prefer shear-over-comb because it grows out better. When working with clippers, you get a blunt, harsh edge, so those cuts don’t grow out quite as nice. But clients with clipper cuts come in more frequently, so the growing-out process is less of a concern.


3. How do you address problem areas, such as cowlicks?


I love problem areas. When I have a new client, I don’t want to know what they love about their hair—I want to know what drives them nuts. I want a challenge so I can win them over as their stylist. I do a ton of smoothing and straightening services on males who have wavy, curly texture and want the smooth, pushed-back pompadour look. They can’t do that unless they blowdry and flatiron every day. Realistically, a lot of our male clients won’t do that.

Eli Mancha demonstrating a men's cut at a Cosmetologists Chicago First Mondays event.


4. How is cutting men’s hair different than women’s?


Men’s cuts are a lot shorter, they’re a lot more detailed, and if you make mistakes, they are harder to cover up. I can do a woman’s cut in 10-15 minutes—it’s the finishing and the styling that takes a lot longer. I think men’s haircutting is a true art and requires a lot more attention.


5. What’s trending for men right now?


You have pompadours and hard parts and beards and tapers. There are all these exciting things going on with men’s hair and it’s great for stylists because it gives us options for our clients.

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