Friends, collaborators, and beauty professionals with a guy-centric focus, Diana Schmidtke (@dianaschmidtke1) and John Mosley (@popular_nobody) are two of the industry’s leading lights and their connection has helped elevate the men’s segment of the professional industry, as well as set an example of excellence to the consumer world.
Schmidtke is a celebrity men’s groomer who authored, Shortcuts to a Successful Career as a Hairstylist or Makeup Artist in the Fashion and Entertainment Industry, a guide to those wanting to follow a path she forged in the industry. Mosley has built a global community around his @popular_nobody brand and his hair and barbering skills have brought him into celeb circles that include the royalty of hip-hop and sports.
MODERN spoke with these two about something they are seeing first-hand—the blurring of lines between barbers and stylists and how the two disciplines are coming together to meet a changing industry and consumer.
MODERN SALON: Diana and John, you have said that the two worlds---hairdresser and barber—are overlapping. Can you talk about that?
DIANA SCHMIDTKE: John and I have been professional and personal friends for years and we have both noticed and discussed where things are heading. During the huge barber movement of the last eight or nine eight years, you see the worlds of cosmetology and barbering coming together. John and I are both men’s groomers, even though our initial training was different, but when I started out the term ‘men’s grooming’ wasn’t even in use. The hair, skin, and body modalities all fall within men’s grooming and those are exactly the same modalities that fall within barbering. People can start to get competitive about it, insisting they fall in one camp or the other, but we want to tell everyone that we’re both and we need each other as we move forward.
JOHN MOSELEY: A lot of cosmetologists take the grooming approach because they are intimidated by the tools and techniques barbers are using but now you see that wall coming down. While doing education I have found a way to show them that proper barbering education starts from the basics of cosmetology. I see more barbers doing grooming like facial services and more cosmos are getting into barbering schools. I think that barbering is leading the industry and taking it by storm; it was looked at as the little brother but now little brother has been eating protein shakes.
MS: You mentioned that there is still some insecurity in using the tools or techniques that are thought to belong to one tradition or the other—can you explain?
DS: Barbers are often unsure about how to do skincare and that is something I had to learn so I could take care of the whole client. I’m not just cleaning up your hairline, I’m also going to take off your back hair. It’s not about the components individually--the hair, beard, skin, body—but looking at the whole to create balance and shape. You can do the best fade but you better do the best beard trim, too, to see the whole picture.
JM: It used to be that barbers only used a basic Denman brush but now, they are getting more product knowledge, they’re learning how to use a texture spray, and how to use a round brush. I even sell a round brush to get these styles men are looking for because you need a round brush and a blow dryer to achieve them. That is where you see the worlds colliding. You used to get a nice haircut from your barber and slam it down with some pomade but I say in my classes that barbers were losing their clients to cosmetologists not because the haircut was better but because the styling was better.
DS: Barbers used to avoid color but now I think they’re trying to brush up on their color theory by watching education videos or catching a class at a hair show. This is because their client is going to go grey at some point and isn’t afraid of color, anymore, so you have to meet that need if you want to keep that client.
MS: John, what kinds of questions are you getting in your classes, over and over again?
JM: Why am I using multiple shears or why am I using multiple clippers and how to select the best ones. When it comes to shears, it’s all about the metal and understanding different needs for dry cutting and wet cutting. Texture shears used to be looked at in the barbering world as if you were cheating, but now I’m showing barbers if you want to increase your speed and your revenue, you need multiple tools in your kit. I cut with four different shears on most haircuts. Do they cost? Yes, but you have to invest in yourself and when you understand how to use them you will become a better artist.
With clippers, you might think, I pick up a clipper and it will cut hair but you need to understand the different types of internal motors, what each is designed to do, how long they will last, and how to pick the right clipper for the work you’ll be doing.
MS: Diana, tell us about Eyes on Cancer.
DS: We are experts at cutting men and also understanding the psychology of the client; you have to be the jack of all trades and offer one-stop shopping. We know that men are really loyal so you have to look at growing with them. You can’t just do hair these days. As John says, it’s all coming into the shop—face, nails, skincare, everything.
I also believe that as a professional, you have to be responsible to your client. I’m a huge proponent of Eyes On Cancer, which is a program developed to train beauty professionals to notice signs of skin cancer. All you have to say is, hey, that looks like an unusual spot, and then send them to their dermatologist. I have spotted skin cancer on my actor clients, before, and it creates a long term loyalty.
MS: Any final, parting words?
JM: The way the industry is going you better figure out how to make social currency. If you’re not using your social platform to inspire and create opportunity then what are you using it for? Post with a purpose and remember it’s not about you, it’s about the haircut, it’s about diversifying and changing the way people look at the industry.
DS: I will always call myself a men’s groomer but it doesn’t matter who you identify with, if you can’t deliver, you can’t win. The two arts are merging together and what we share in common is the art of cutting men. Even though John and I come from two different angles what we really care about is moving things forward together. I need John and John needs me. And the beauty industry needs both perspectives.