After 35 Years as a Stylist, Returning to School to Learn Barbering
Angel del Solar, co-founder of 18.21 Man Made Grooming has been in the professional beauty industry for over 35 years. He recently went back to school to develop his career one step further – as a professional barber. “I still want to learn and stay current," he says. "I want to be able to authentically speak about barbering. In my class, I am joined by young hairstylists and barbers just starting in the industry. I get fresh perspectives from their experiences and viewpoints. It is a great way to keep in touch with the reality in the world."
Del Solar has been a hairstylist since the age of 15 in his native Spain, owned salons, been a distributor, manufacturer, platform artist, educator and has styled hair for the Oscars and Emmys and on-set. Still, del Solar felt he needed to go back to school to refine his skills and experiences.
"What I enjoy about barbering vs. hairstyling is the opportunity to be able to use different tools. I was a barber in the military a long time ago! I get to learn how to use clippers for very creative looks that are trending now. Being able to offer male clients a proper shave is like a woman getting a luxurious facial. The client is in your chair for an hour and it is very relaxing for him.” Del Solar likes to make the experience extra special with touches like head massage and application of a hot towel, performed at the shampoo bowl. With a spritz of 18.21’s Sweet Tobacco Spirits Cologne applied at nose level, the guest gets a treat of aromatherapy to add to the luxury.
Del Solar’s company 18.21 Man Made Grooming offers a professional shaving line and he felt his education was incomplete without learning all he could learn about barbering. He says, “I need to have my barber license to use tools like the straight razor. Having a dual license is a great way for hairstylists to grow their business an additional 30% by adding barbering services. Hairstylists without barbering credentials feel like they don’t have the talent to perform the services. Expectations are high with barbering looks today and you need to know how to use the equipment the barbers use. We have an advocate program we are launching, to partner with schools and salons and provide opportunities for hairstylists to become dual licensed through crossover programs for barbering. c
Hairstylists thinking about the dual license should do some research and find what the interest level is and how much they can increase their business. “Talk to salon owners and ask what their male business is and whether they are willing to promote more for men. Look into your local laws and licensing and find what crossover programs are available for you.” Del Solar found a good match for his needs with the Brighton Barber Institute in Hurst, Texas offering a 300 hour crossover program. You can promote your new services by telling all your female clients to bring in their spouses and male friends and by hosting fun events twice a month catering to men. With your new skills you can now take care of your client’s entire family instead of just one person!”