Virtual Cut Craft: Helping Hairdressers Ride In Front Of The Next Wave In Hair With Stephen Moody

hairdressing skills development vidal sassoon education virtual cut craft virtual education wella Jan 31, 2021
THS 31 | Virtual Cut Craft

The pandemic has given a lot of people across different industries the freedom of time that they can spend developing their skills, and hairdressers are no exception. Answering the call for quality education that can be accessed anywhere, hairdressing icon Stephen Moody launched Virtual Cut Craft, a virtual online cutting course with certification sponsored by Wella, where Stephen currently serves as the North American Education Director. He has also been the Global Education Director of Vidal Sassoon Education. In this conversation with Ryan Weeden, Stephen explains why hairdressers should invest in developing their skills. He also shares his thoughts and predictions about the recent and upcoming trends in hair and how hairdressers need to be ready to ride the front of the new wave when it comes.


Listen to the podcast here:


Virtual Cut Craft: Helping Hairdressers Ride In Front Of The Next Wave In Hair With Stephen Moody

I've got an awesome guest. He is a true icon in our industry. Let me introduce you to Stephen Moody. He is an incredible person. Such a remarkable industry inspiration and currently is the North American Education Director of Wella. It's probably where you've seen them if you haven't seen them in books, videos, everywhere else. He has also been the Global Education Director of Vidal Sassoon Education, which is the academy in Santa Monica. Also, Cut Craft, which is Wella’s virtual online cutting course with certification. I'm pretty sure that's what you do. It's where people can find you and learn from your mastery as well as get a pair of shears that you've designed with Mizutani, which is an awesome shear company. I have a pair. Now I got to get the Stephen Moody pair. Welcome to The Hairpreneur Show, Stephen.

Thank you, Ryan, for that wonderful introduction. To be honest with you, I don't know how I'm going to live up to that. I'm honored to be on your show. You've had some amazing people on here. You're the master of balayage and you're the master of hair within your own rights. I'm really pleased to be sharing this and to be joining you. A big thank you and thank you to everybody for reading.

You got it. This is very exciting to have you on here. You have been in the industry for such a long time and you’ve always been putting your best self forward to help grow the instant industry and help support hairdressers. I know that is what you are all about. There is no better time for leaders like you to be stepping up, which I know you do all the time especially after this unpredictable and incredible year that we've been challenged by, here you are, always happy, always smiling and always doing whatever you can to give back. I want to thank you for that.

You're welcome. In these stressful times. Ryan, that's the approach that all of us have got to take. It is what it is and none of us planned for this. None of us expected it. Certainly, none of us deserve it but it is what it is. There's one thing about hairdressers that I'm certain of and probably more than any other profession. That is that we can deal with change. That's what we do. We work with customers and we offer up change. We deal with change and we navigate change. Coming out of this, we're going to look back on this and think, “Wow, that was a great learning experience for all of us.” Myself included.

I completely agree with that. 2020 is going to be a year that we will always remember. We'll never forget. Before this, it was 9/11. You've based some of your stories around and based some of your life changes around and I know 2020 is going to be another one of those. You've been in the industry for 40 years. You've seen a lot. You've seen everything from classic education with zero social media, zero ways online on the internet to building a clientele to a whole new world. What are some of the biggest changes you've seen over the years? How have you adapted?

That's a great question. On November the 11th, 1987 I set foot in a salon in London called Vidal Sassoon. I started my apprenticeship on November 11th, 1987. It’s years of being in the craft. I'm really blessed because, in many ways, I'm fortunate that I've been in hair in the decades that I've been in. I've been so fortunate in the sense that in the ‘80s, I served as a hair cutter and a colorist, as opposed to a hairdresser. It was such an amazing decade.

The capital of the world for hair in the ‘80s was London and I happened to be there. That's where I started my craft. At that time, there was a tremendous amount of social unrest, angst and political turmoil. All of that resulted in a kickback by young people. What fomented from that social unrest, political unrest and economic unrest too? We think we've got it difficult now. I remember leaving high school and unemployment when I left high school was around 15%.

24% of the people who are unemployed are under the age of 30. Those people didn't have a job not because they were stupid or they were lazy. They didn't have a job because there were no jobs. A lot of young people fended for themselves. They couldn't afford Gucci, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons so they made their own clothes. They couldn't afford to go to the hairdressers so they cut their own hair and they colored it with food color.

They took a pair of jeans, ripped jeans and they put safety pins through it. They also made their own music and an answer to the social unrest was something called punk. Punk wasn't a fashion at all, not at all. It was people like me that made it into a fashion. Clothing designers and amazing people like Malcolm McLaren, for example. He harnessed the Sex Pistols, for example. All of a sudden, we had a commercially viable sound that was called punk. A commercially viable fashion and clothing that was called punk and a commercially viable hair that was heavily influenced by punk.

Don’t be afraid of change. It’s what hairdressers do for a living.

Coming back to what we do for a living, it was a great time to cut hair and color hair. That grew arms and legs and went sideways, etc. but it was cool to be around in London in the ‘80s. In the late ‘80s, I came to the US and that was like virgin territory because people weren't really styling hair. The color they were doing wasn't particularly exciting. I was just in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing. My obsession for working with hairdressers and my obsession for education embellished on all of that. It was really fun, light and it was super exciting to be in hair.

You've got guitars hanging on the back of your wall. In many ways, hairdressers are rock stars. They really were and they got invited to all the best parties and the best openings. Got front seats. It was an amazing time to be in hair. Above and beyond everything else we made a shitload of money. It wasn't just the creative side of it and the cool factor and the it factor. It was a very prosperous time for hair which I've been looking into Stephen Moody’s crystal ball and I see that coming back around. I see that on the horizon. I really do.

Like the whole punk and the whole people taking more risks with their looks. I see it too when I look at my Instagram feed. I see bold colors coming back. I see bold cuts coming back and people wanting to take more chances with their clothes. I feel like that is one thing that as a society and as humans we have control over our appearance. We can make a quick life change with our hair and with our clothes. If we work out more, we can change our bodies where we don't have a lot of control and the rest of the world and that is one thing that we can hold on to.

You've hit the nail on the head there. Moving forward in 2021 and onwards, people are going to want to be able to control and manipulate what they can control and manipulate. In 2020, there's been a lot that we haven't been able to do that. It's been out of our control. Coming back to hair, I left school when I was sixteen, I don't have any qualifications, I didn't go to university. My thing is hair and fashion. You don't have to go to university to study fashion and realize that a hemline on a dress can only go so short, it can't go any shorter. That hemline has to start to come down. It can only go down to the ankles. It can't go any longer than the ankles so then it has to start to come back up.

When you look at the previous years where we've been with hair, it's insanely long. It can't get any longer. It can't get any flatter. A lot of people think that hair and fashion and everything all starts on a catwalk in Milan or a runway in Rome or Paris or whatever. The furthest is from the truth. Certainly, hair fashion starts on the streets with young people who look at their big sister and think, “I don't want to look like my big sister, she's boring.” The opposite to elbow length center-partings and subdued colors, which is pretty but the opposite of that is shoulder length and above. It’s volume, texture and bolder colors.

That's what I'm seeing when I go on my travels. It’s a lot of young people rebelling. It's not Stephen Moody or Ryan that leads. It's these young people who do their own hair, for example. They make their own clothes and they make their own music. That journey that I talked about with the Sex Pistols and with punk, I see that coming around. I don't know if the hair’s going to look like that. I don't know people are going to have safety pins in their jeans. I'm not talking about that. What I'm talking about is to your point earlier, I think people will want to push the boat out. They're going to start to feel comfortable in their own skins.

The fashion directors and the fashion designers are going to look at this trend then they're going to personalize it and then make it runway spectacular.

Absolutely and Ryan Weeden’s going to do that. Ryan Weeden’s going to look at this and think, “That hair color there is ridiculous. It doesn't look very classy, we can't make a lot of money from it.” Ryan Weeden is going to put a spin on that hair color and all of a sudden, we've got a new fashion or a new trend. We got dollars and people going into a hair salon. That's what you and I do for a living.

We find a way to package it, put a bow on it and then mass produce it.


Put an educational program around it and share how you do that? How do you replicate it? How you put a price tag on that. What color products do we use to execute that? That's what I'm always looking to do. I'm always looking to see things. Sometimes I look at something and I close one eye and I squint through the other eye and I see things. To me, that's really fun. In an interview, they said to me, “Where do you get your inspiration, Stephen?” I said, “I have to say hairdressers because when I'm working with hairdressers and teaching hairdressers, some people execute things really well and other people maybe not so well. Sometimes for those people that don't execute it too well, I stand on one leg and close one eye and I squint my other eye. Sometimes I see things and I think.”

That makes me think too. Some people that are so worried about making their work look like everybody else's are shortchanging themselves. Yes, it is important to see what other people are doing but then focus on yourself. Focus on how you personalize your own looks for your clients because that's what's going to set you apart and that's also what's going to move the industry in a bunch of different directions.

In one of my interviews, one of the pre-loaded questions for this interview is, “Who do you want to be?” My answer to it was, “I want to be the best version I can be of me.” Because I've tried to be versions of other people and I failed terribly. That’s an approach that I've always had with what I do and my work and everything. Some people don't like what I do, the way I teach, the way I do hair and that's fine. Not a problem but I do want to be a better version of myself as opposed to copying other people.

How do you work on that? How do you work on yourself to become the best version of yourself? It's something that I always strive to do as well. You and I talked about how hairdressers need to start learning about their own confidence and tap into their full potential so they can affect their lives and the lives of other people. What is some good advice some good habits or something that we can tell other hairdressers like, “This is how you're going to start to become the best version of yourself on a regular basis?”

I heard a song one time and the line in the song said, “Do something every day that scares you.” I try to do things that scare me. Not literally like dangling off the edge of a cliff or something. I do like to do things a difficult way around or approach something stunning on a box that I've never stood on that box before. Also, closing one eye and squinting through the other eye and see if I can see this from a different angle. In my mind, I’ve seen it from another person's perspective with whoever I'm teaching or whatever.

It's a bit like going to the gym. Before this mess up, I used to try to go to the gym 4 or 5 times a week and swim and do all that stuff. Sometimes I think it's quite easy going and working out to keep visiting the same machines or when you're in the pool, swimming the same stroke. I think it's cool to sometimes visit a machine or do an exercise or a swim a stroke that you're not comfortable with. It pushes you and it questions your body. That's what I try to do with a pair of scissors and education. Since lockdown, I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that I've learned more in nine months than I've learned in ten years by a country mile.

Is that because there's been more time to study and learn?

That and the fact that I'm a very physical educator. I'm a person that when I'm teaching people, I move them, I push them, I pull them and I touch them. It's the same when I'm doing hair. I'm a hands-on physical person doing hair. People can feel me when I'm doing their hair. You can't do that virtually. The big learning process for me is how do I do that by inspiring people either with a PowerPoint or with me doing a haircut on this side and then watching wherever they are. More importantly and frequently, a lot of what I've been doing is virtual one to one hands-on.

It's me walking someone through doing a model but they're in Cape Town, South Africa. There are a lot of what we do as educators that is physical, particularly cutting hair. I often think coloring hair is much more two dimensional. It's quite flat but there's the added complication of level and tone and underlying pigments and all that business. The physical act of cutting hair is very three-dimensional but when you're teaching virtually, you're teaching on a two-dimensional platform and surface.

Be a better version of yourself instead of trying to copy other people.

I learned a tremendous amount with that. I was on a call with two colleagues, one in Canada and one in Chicago. We've put together something amazing, it's called Virtual Cut Craft. It's the cutting program that I launched years ago. The program was launched for a Wella studio in Germany or in New York or Sao Paulo. I can't get to Sao Paolo and Germany so we've rejigged the whole information to where now it's Cut Craft Virtual. There's a lot of things that you can't say.

I'll give you an example of something that we were racking our brains with. When you're cutting hair, there are different actions that you do to control the hair. A lot of people think cutting hair is all about the scissors. The scissors are a tiny part. All scissors do is open and close. If there's hair inside, it will cut the hair off but a broken bottle, a razor, a 10-inch pair of scissors or a 4-inch pair, they're all pretty much the same. They all cut their hair off to one degree or another.

What’s way more important when you're cutting hair is what you do three seconds before you cut the hair. If you're right-handed, the key thing is your left hand. If you're left-handed, reverse what I've just said. Your clever hand, if you're right-handed is your left hand. Your dumb hand is your right hand. Because your right-hand holds the scissors and all this is who is open and closed and they just cut hair off. Your left-hand does all of the intelligent work. One of the things that we teach that’s very difficult to teach face to face is tension. How much you pinch the hair? How much you pull the hair? How hard you pull the hair? Teaching tension is like teaching electricity. You know electricity is there but you can't see it. Tension is the same when I'm teaching someone tension I can't see electricity.

Compound that with teaching virtually, how do you get that message across? We made a whole bunch of videos. I got some balls of Play-Doh and I made a video of picking up a ball of Play-Doh with my fingers and showing that I hadn't met an indentation in the Play-Doh. I pick it up again and pinch the Play-Doh. It's like showing ways of communicating without physically being face to face. I've just learned a tremendous and huge amount.

That's incredible. Something like tension. It's definitely not simple but it's going to be tricky for somebody to teach virtually because everybody's going to also have different sized fingers. I remember when I was studying Toni & Guy, I worked for Toni & Guy for a couple of years. I went through one of their training programs and some of their training programs were like Vidal Sassoon’s. Five days in a row, you're just cutting and your fingers are sore from all these new hand positions and everything. I've always had skinny fingers so I couldn't hold this giant section of hair evenly because I'd have this gap in between my first two knuckles.

You and me both. I think we've got similar hands. I've got huge knuckles and then skinny and narrow fingers in between the knuckles.

That causes a problem to get that even tension. “How do I fatten my fingers up a little bit more to get that even tension?” You used to travel all the time pre-pandemic. You are always on a plane going to some other country. That's a big part of your life, the traveling and moving around. Teaching people from all over the world. Do you feel like there's a piece of you missing from all that?

Yeah, since I was twenty working at Sassoon, I would travel. Not everybody could come to London to take a five-day course, for example. We would go to Tokyo or we'd go to Moscow or we'd go wherever. That was normal for me and that was my rhythm. Up until February of 2020, I'd been to New Zealand, Costa Rica, Toronto and Boston in 5 or 4 weeks. The rest of the year, my calendar was slammed with Spain, Turkey and Thailand all over the place.

That's something that's been part of what I've done like many other people in my trade. Not everybody can come to you so you go to them. It's something that I've enjoyed and it's been part of my job. With COVID, that went from 100 miles an hour to zero overnight. It was very odd. It was odd for my wife and my three kids. It was odd for me because they'd never seen me. I’m like a sailor. Home for a while and then he's gone again.

Like, “You’re still here? When are you going next?” It’s difficult. I have to say that despite all the successes that we've had with virtual education and you've delivered a lot of it yourself, I do really miss hairdressers. At age thirteen, I mapped out my career and I decided at age thirteen, that I wanted a customer called Joe Hairdresser. I was born and raised in a salon. I worked in my family's salon. I worked in Sassoon salons but my long term goal was to have the hairdresser be my customer. I really miss them.


It's a great industry that we're in and it's hard to watch so many struggling hairdressers. Even when I've done some research in the past, it's not a secret that a lot of hairdressers are paycheck to paycheck and they are struggling. What motivation or inspiring thoughts can we give them to stay strong and positive until things get back to some normalcy?

That’s a really good question and it's easy for me sitting here to throw things out because I'm not unemployed, I'm not furloughed. I'm not being told by the state or the city or the county that I can't earn a living. What I'm about to say, take it with a pinch of salt because I'm not on the receiving end. I encourage people to number one, look at everything from a positive standpoint. I'm seeing a lot of people racking up Netflix and then other people are racking up hair-brained or a class with me or they're racking up a class on or whatever.

They’re vacuuming up information and education so that when they do get back to where they need to be, their little feet are hitting the ground running. That might be taking a class on how to edit a video, for example. How to edit fifteen-second pieces for Instagram or whatever that's going to grow your business. It might be business education. That would be number one. Do something that scares you. That’s healthy.

A lot of us do find comfort in learning new techniques but maybe not so much like, “The world is changing and I need to adapt to it. I'm scared to adapt but I need to start taking those steps in that direction.” One of those like you're saying might be, “Now is a good time to start working on my Instagram strategy.” “Start coming up with a plan.” “Start learning how to edit video and take better photos so that when I do have clients again, I'm already a leg up.”

Coming back to what we were saying, my crystal ball is not 100% accurate but we've been in such an era of long elbow-length hair. I know a lot of hairdressers who quit after 2, 3 years because it’s hard on their bodies welding that hair all day long and they don't want to be blow-drying monkeys. They want to still have a career when they're 40 and 50 years old and not be in a wheelchair. They want to have an element of creativity alongside their earning potential. We mentioned that the opposite to elbow-length hair is hair that's abominable length. Opposite to pretty commercial color, which will never go away. Adding in the color, the fun colors, vibrant colors and whatever, that's coming around.

The other thing that is coming around too is we've been crucifying texture for such a long time. Either chemically or electronically killing texture. Coloring hair to be straight or to be curly is like chalk and cheese. Styling hair to be straight or curly is like chalk and cheese. Certainly, cutting hair to be straight or curly is chalk and cheese. We don't have to go to university to realize, “What's coming down the road is texture, volume, hair that’s beautifully colored that's maybe got curl to it.” That curl might be from a product, a color, a haircut, electricity or a perm, I don't know. It might be from all of the above.

I would invite people over this period to do things that scare you. Look at the class that is focusing on texture on curly hair. Maybe you're not familiar with that or you are, I don't know. Take a look at that because that is something that's cool. It's different. It's coming down the road. One of the key things is whenever it arrives, whatever it is, we want to be ready. We want to be on the front side of the curve. We want to be surfing on the front of the wave, not on the back of the wave. We want to be paddling before that wave hits so when the wave comes, we've already got momentum.

It's all about the momentum. That's why you got to start now to make sure that you are ready. You're already going. You're already at 100 miles an hour so that way you can have that exponential growth. You were saying about textured hair, a lot of hairdressers are afraid of textured hair, everything from kinky curly to even styling curly hair, wavy hair. That's why it's just easier to, “Let's just hit it with a flat iron,” and, “Straighten it out.” It's something that we are comfortable with. It's in our comfort zone but when we see that image on Splashdown, on our page, American Salon or these big media publications where we're looking at this incredibly colored and styled curly hair. It’s showstopping. We need to be looking for that showstopping change to focus on in our uncomfort.

Something that's interesting that's happened. I've got a lot of friends that are African American. I've got a lot of friends that are naturally curly hair. I've got a lot of friends who are business people who are told in the workplace to be businesslike or to be beautiful, they have to have straight hair. You know as well as I do by that a young girl who's psychologically at 3, 4 years old is told by society that she's not beautiful because she's got curly hair. The advertisements that she's looked at, they're all people with straight hair.

Something cool is always coming down the road. When it does arrive, we want to be in the front of the wave, not at the back.

She's not necessarily told that curly hair is not beautiful. It's there. That woman is 24 now, for example and for the last twenty years, she's been electronically and chemically straightening her hair. She comes in and says, “I want my hair cut.” We start heading into a conversation with her hair and she said, “My curls are ugly,” and they are ugly because she's beaten the living daylights out of those curls for twenty years. They're tired. They're exhausted, dehydrated and beat.

For 5, 6, 7 months, she's not been on a date. She has not been to the office. She has not been in restaurants. She's not been out and about. Something amazing has grown out of the top of her head. Out of those roots has grown 5, 6, 7 months of virgin texture, virgin curls. When I say virgin, what I mean is she's not beat the curls. All of a sudden, there's something coming out of her hair that's gorgeous. It is a nice curl, a pretty curl. It's a feminine texture, for example. As hairdressers, we've got an opportunity to seize the moment with that woman. Give her color, a haircut, products, styling tips that are based around celebrating who she is rather than that woman trying to be someone who she's not. It’s an opportunity.

It's all about helping them tap into their inner beauty as well. If they can feel more comfortable and more confident in who they are without having to completely manipulate themselves to try to be that person in the magazine every time, there is that finding that freedom and being ourselves. You and I are finding that it's a freeing feeling. We want to be able to give that to other people.

I mentioned doing something that frightens you. Some months ago, I did something that frightened me, Ryan. I did it for the first time. I contemplated entering NAHA. I've never done it. I've never entered NAHA and I don't know why I've never done it. I won't get into that.

It scared you?

It did. It scared me because I thought, “What if people don't like what I enter?” I then started researching, “People that have one, what have they won with?” I then thought to myself, “I don't care what people have won with. I don't care if people don't like what I'm going to enter with. I don't care if I don't win.” What I do care about is putting something forward that's a statement. In this particular instance, it's a statement about textured hair. I'm entering cutting with African American hair. I'm not entering hairstyles. I'm entering haircuts. I feel passionate about entering with something that's not had her neck stretched. The cheekbones are not alien-like popping out of a face, the hair is cut with a mouse and the hairline is perfect. That's not what I'm entering with.

The reason I'm not entering with that is I think curly hair can be cut as opposed to styled, beaten to death and blow-dried straight. Hairlines are feminine. Something that's irregular and something that's not perfect is pretty. More importantly, I also wanted to enter something that's fun and got a strong statement, at the same time, that's going inspire another person to do curly hair and to cut it and not beat it to death. If that can inspire that person then my entry into NAHA has been worthwhile. Ryan.

Have you done that? Have you submitted it? Amazing. When is that going to happen? Because it was matched up with the ISSE show. Am I right?

I think you're right, Ryan. January is when they're announcing the finalists. March is the actual final and it's aligned with the ISSE, the Long Beach Trade Show. Goodness only knows whether it will be face to face, virtual or whatever but that's the plan. Coming back to this thing of doing something that scares you. I could have picked looks that perhaps were more akin to what won in the past. I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to sell out. Particularly coming out of COVID with competitions, we need to celebrate things in competitions that can connect back to Mrs. Smith going to a salon and seeing something on Instagram or in the front window and going, “Wow, I love that color.” “I love that haircut.” “I love that style,” or whatever. “I'd like that, please.”


That should be a big part of why we are doing these competitions. I joined Wella years ago and one of the assignments that I had was to look at Wella International trend vision. It went down the same route with ITVA, along the lines of, “Let's make and celebrate these winners.” Ultimately, let's have this come back to business. Let's have this come back to butts on seats. I'm not just saying this because I work for Wella but I am incredibly proud that Wella has pivoted and gone down that route of shifting what it is they're doing with the competition. Some cool looks are winning and some amazing colors are winning but to one degree or another, there's a movement away from competition being won by Adobe as opposed to the competition being won by a tint brush.

You were afraid to get started. Did that fear go away?

I have to be transparent with everybody reading. Because of COVID, I wasn't allowed by the company that I worked for, Wella, to do hair. The period where you would have been doing a shoot, the period where you would have been doing a collection or whatever it is that you're entering into NAHA, I was on lockdown. I wasn't allowed to get with the photographer and models and do what you normally do for an entry. I tapped into the stuff that I've done in the past. I narrowed it down to three black girls. I've done those three girls for over seven years. The oldest photograph was more than seven years old. The newest photograph was more than three years old. They were done in three different cities. Two of them I've done on stage in front of an audience.

The common denominator was they were all curly, they were all haircut, not hairstyles. I would invite your readers to think about what I've said. There's a big difference there. The common denominator as well was Nick Berardi did all three photographs. What he was able to do was he was able to make the background look similar with all three looks. They looked like they were from the same shoot when in actual fact, they were three different cities, three different occasions. None were shot with competition in mind. He made them similar. The people reading can go to @HairMoody on Instagram. Each one of the three, I put them up individually. I’ve got the before photographs up and then I did a post that was all three together.

You can share those ahead of the NAHA competition, right? There are no rules that say you can't share those prior?

The rule is you can't share other than 2020 because of COVID. What NAHA said is, “We're not expecting you to go and do a shoot. Use something from the past.” This has already been on Instagram and Facebook, thousands of people have seen this stuff because I did it years ago. They said, “You're allowed to do that this 2020.” NAHA has been amazing. They have been so supportive and fantastic in the sense that they've allowed people to enter with stuff that's not exclusive to the actual competition, which is wonderful in COVID times.

One question I had for you. It's cut versus style. Although I can grasp what you mean by that, isn't styling also an important part of the haircut itself? How do you differentiate the two?

The background that I've come from is Sassoon. A great formula that is in my blood is if you've got X amount of time to do someone's hair, try if you can to start that 75%, 80% of that allocated time cutting the hair. I'm making up these figures, they vary between individuals but 20%, 25% styling the hair. The opposite to that is that customer, for whatever reason, we spend 20% of our time cutting their hair and 80% of the time styling their hair, electrically manipulating the hair. The one thing that was drilled into me from the outset is the measurement of what you do is not how they leave the salon. The measurement of what you do is what does she look like when she gets out of the shower?

When she does it herself because if they can't replicate the look that they left the salon with, they're not going to be a happy customer.

Do something that scares you. It’s healthy.

The trick to that is not just connecting from a suitability standpoint. What does she do for a living? It's not a matter of connecting with suitability wise, how wide is a face or how big is a nose and it's not connecting with her with what's her wishes. What length does she want her hair? It's also connecting and speaking to her hair and designing a haircut that speaks to her hair type. Her ethnicity, the density of hair, the color that's in her hair. Speaking to the health of her hair, not everybody has great hair but formulating a length, a shape, a haircut and the technique that comes together with all of those. When she gets out of the shower, she's still got her haircut rather than the hairstyle.

Which would go out the window especially if it's raining and they leave the salon and then boom, wet hair, done, your work is erased.

Having said that, there are some women in certain parts of the country that want to wake up every morning and they don't have anything to do. They want to spend three hours in front of the mirror doing their hair.

I had a client. She said she would wake up at 4:00 in the morning, style her hair for 2.5 hours before the kids woke up. I’m like, “Alright.”

Go at it.

You have fun with yourself. That's not how I want to spend my mornings. I'd probably shave my head. One last thing I wanted to touch on. You talked about how the actual scissor itself isn't nearly as important as the hand position because the scissors are in our dumb hand but there is so much pleasure in using a nice pair of shears. Pulling your fingers together and watching the hair hit the floor, that's that nice blade on the hair. You have this shear design with Mizutani. I want to talk about that. Is this the perfect shear? Do I need a pair?

You're asking the wrong person.

I'm asking the right person. You're not going to put your name on something that you don't believe in.

I've worked with about five different Japanese manufacturers over the years and developing scissors for Vidal Sassoon. Shortly after I joined Wella, I was approached by Mizutani, which is a Japanese scissor company. They said to me, “We've got these scissors, could you give us your feedback?” They sent the scissors and I've tried them. I said this and that, I don't like this but I like that. This process went on for about a year of several different pairs of scissors back and forth. Finally, they turned around to me and said, “Would you like to work with us and design a Stephen Moody/Cut Craft pair of scissors?”


I said, “Sure but I work for Wella, I can't work for you.” They said, “No, that's not the intention.” I went to Wella and I said, “Do you mind if I do this? They want to put my name on there for marketing purposes.” Long story short, Ryan. It took almost two years and 25 prototypes back and forth between Japan. A good friend of mine, Josh DeMarco, who is in Philadelphia, has worked with these scissors and he coined a phrase. He said, “One pair for all hair.” They're an amazing pair of scissors for cutting just about any hair. I got to be dead honest with you. I'm a big fan of one pair of scissors and twenty combs. I cut hair with my comb. I don't cut hair with my scissors. A lot of hairdressers have got twenty pairs of scissors and one comb.

Whatever is clean.

These scissors cut hair for the craft. They’re incredibly ergonomically balanced. I've never had a pair yet that I've had to send back because they’re defective. I've worked with many manufacturers. There's one downfall to the scissors and I'm going to be dead transparent with you. It’s not the price. The downfall is I’m positive there's a little man sitting on a dirt floor in Japan, cross-legged, making six pairs of these every day. They're not mass-produced. It’s glass half full and it's glass half empty in the sense that they're amazing. The quality, the finish is all handmade but they just don't make many. I tried so hard to get 50 for the studio in Moscow, 100 for the Wella studio in Paris and whatever. No, we can't do that.

It sounds like it's like the Lamborghini of shears. They only make a certain amount of those every year.

Ryan, I’m going to give everybody reading the inside track on the manufacturers. I only know this because I've worked with many. What happens with scissor manufacturers, they hit on something and they are all handmade made in Japan from beginning to end. It's low production. Bit by bit, sales ramp up. What they do, they start to source the steel from China. They outsource the polishing and the finishing to Taiwan. Instead of making 1,000 a year, they're now making 20,000 a year and the quality does that. Mizutani is a pain in the butt because they don't make many. That's the negative. The positive is once you get a pair, you're going to love them. Lastly, they're high quality and they're not expensive, $700, $750 or something.

That's reasonable. If I was reading this and I wanted to get a pair of your custom shears, how would I go about doing that?

@HairDeMarco is the Instagram for Josh DeMarco. He has the US distributor program. If you're reading from Canada, I'm sure if you google Mizutani Canada, there’ll be a different one up there. For full transparency, these are not my scissors. They belong to Mizutani. They sell them, they warrant them. I just simply designed them.

You worked for two years to make sure that they fit your needs, which is what I love, as the quote is, “One pair for all hair.” That's perfect. That's such a great selling point too. Because you think you need scissors for this, this and the other. You need to have 7, 8 or 15 pairs of scissors to be a true hair cutter, a lot of people think that but not if you have one pair that you can do everything with based on your talent, experience and the amount of combs you have.

Ryan, my advice would be to get 1 or 2 pairs of scissors that you're happy and comfortable with. Spend $200 on comb and you’re done. All the other money that you would have spent on additional scissors, take a cut craft class. Learn how to cut hair as opposed to just buying scissors after scissors. I've been cutting hair for 40 odd years and I'm still learning. I am still learning things that are new and different. That is an ongoing journey. That will be my advice, save your money and invest the money in yourself rather than investing the money in a leather holster with twenty pairs of scissors.

Where can somebody find a great cut craft class? Go to Wella Ed?

Yeah, All the Virtual Education. There isn't any studio, face to face education listed for obvious reasons. In 2021, that's going to change. The classes that I teach are four days. They're in Toronto, New York and Calabasas in this neck of the woods. I also have my colleagues as well within Wella where we go into salons. We do education inside of salons as well. We don't just do education with Wella customers. I've done education for people who carry Aveda, for other manufacturers. We're happy to share our message. Whether it's sharing the color message or the cutting message with customers and non-customers alike. Those who are reading this blog, if you are a customer of Wella, we love you. If you're not a customer of Wella, we still love you.

That’s a good message for our industry, in general. Thank you so much for being here. You're such an icon in our industry. You inspire millions of people worldwide and you inspire me daily. Thank you for being here.

Back at you, Ryan. Take care everybody and stay well.

Important Links: