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A Century of Bobs

by Bill Trotter  ·  February 4th, 2017
Classic Hair Styles: The Bob Hair Style

Yes, I have mentioned that classic fashion goes around and comes back. This is true with dress lengths, color palettes, haircuts, prints and almost anything worthy of being reinvented.

To my horror when I relocated to Florida, I had to work with some very young hairstylists who had a license but no historical references to style. Yes, you have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going. Some salons didn’t even offer vital services due to not having anyone who could perform them. No one could do a real haircut. Seriously, I saw a girl do a graduated bob with clippers. I was even told at one salon that all Balayage and Highlights were to be bleached and toned. They didn’t believe me when I told them you could get a certain level of blonde with color leaving the hair in better condition.

Why? The Florida state board just requires you to do one simple haircut and pass a written test. The rest of your education is left to you. Somehow the basics were lost to this year’s latest techniques. You have to know the basics in order to grasp today’s trends and determine if they are relevant to your repertoire of work. I soon realized that the basics of haircutting and styling were glossed over for this seasons newest takes on color application and cutting techniques.

Since when was the newest fad considered better than a tried and true methods I was taught? I was told highlights were old school, a good blow out was old school, perming fine hair was old school. Why? Because these younger stylists didn’t have a point of reference, nor the mastery of the basics in the industry. You see in order to tackle next year’s techniques and styles you have to master this year’s trends.

I too had some catching up to do technique wise. When I arrived here I had a terrible opinion of Balayage. I thought, why would anyone want to look like they needed color six months ago? Was this trailer park chic? I blamed Khloe Kardashian for this mess. Now I had to suck it up and master how to perform this service correctly. I worked for a colorist in New York who gave me the best advice in the business. She said, you must first know the rules before you break the rules. Once you have mastered a new cut or color line you could break the rules to make it work for you in your way. Having had to perform thousands of highlights, this service did not come easily to me, but it was ultimately learned. Knowing several techniques for Balayage, I was able to discern what worked and what didn’t.

Historically hairstyles, coloring techniques, haircuts and styles come back every few years with a new twist. Having the fundamentals of hairstyling mastered lets me progress in this industry. Starting at the beginning of hair basics prepares you for more staying power and you more easily jump into a new service and master it correctly. Otherwise, you will be a one trick pony. Well, you can lead a horse to water….

Let me illustrate one hundred years of the classic Bob. Knowing old school classics and how to perform that service will let you know how to approach a new cut and where this trend may lead you next year.

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