The Truth About Afro Hair Training and Education
We spoke to leading Afro hair stylists Slidercuts, Junior Green and Graham Grimshaw to find out their opinions on Afro hair training, how they mastered the trade and their education and course recommendations.
Firstly, do you think there is a lack of training in the Afro hair industry?
Slidercuts: Yes, but I think it’s an oversight rather than a conspiracy. The majority of courses are aimed at Caucasian hair because that is the biggest demographic in the UK. Maybe in bigger cities like London, Sheffield and Manchester there are more courses or it’s considered more essential training.
Junior: For those wanting to specialise in Afro hair, there are course available in the UK, but certainly not as many as are available for European hair.
Graham: I know many courses available in hairdressing, but I haven’t come across any specific to barbering. The barbering course that I took didn’t really teach how to cut Afro hair. I ended up showing my techniques to my fellow class mates actually. I believe that if it wasn’t for me they might of never have had experience of cutting and styling Afro hair.
How did you train in styling Afro hair?
Slidercuts: I learnt on the job. My first client was me! Then I progressed on to family members and friends. After that I went to barbers and closely followed what they were doing and learnt that way. Then I had an internship with a barbershop.
Junior Green: I attended a college where I achieved a City & Guilds qualification, but it wasn’t until I began my training in a specialist Afro hair salon that I really stated to learn about Afro hair. I needed that hands-on experience – the college course was all theory based.
Graham: I asked my barber if he would teach me how to cut men’s hair, he is Jamaican decent British born and his shop ( R AN B CUTS in Manchester) had predominantly had clients with Afro hair so I ended up learning on Afro hair first before European. I’m at a high level now in Afro work but I’m still learning.
Do you have any recommendations of courses or academies that either specialise in or do a comprehensive module on Afro hair?
Slidercuts: I plan to do more courses myself, but at the moment I have three different classes that I run. My masterclass is a top-up class for those with an existing knowledge. I also run shadowing sessions for two or three people, which is a more personalised session. Then the third course is a hands-on masterclass for up to four people. It’s not enough to just do an Afro course though you need to be cutting Afro hair all the time to master it.
Junior Green: A lot of colleges now are offering an Afro hair module as part of the NVQ, and some of the major product companies do offer courses and workshops. I have taken workshops in caring for Afro hair on behalf of ghd, for example.
Graham: A lady called Judith is the queen in Manchester colleges teaching Afro hair, she has over 30 years experience. Myself and Richard at R AN B CUTS are setting up a Afro hair course as we speak, I can’t say too much but it’s going to be big!