Photo Courtesy of Natalie Live
There are many women who patron barbershops, but most natural hair content has not catered them. Today there are curly girls wearing tapered cuts, undercuts, and fades. If you’re considering a shorter look, you should know what to expect when getting their hair cut with clippers and how to maintain your hairstyle at home. We spoke with one of the best barbers in Chicago, Theresa Shelby of The House of Mother Theresa, and asked her a few questions.

What should women expect when getting their hair cut with clippers?

Shelby: “Communication and understanding are very important in the relationship between the barber and client. When you're getting a haircut with clippers, you have to be exact and detailed about the look you're going for. Once the hair is cut at a certain length, there's no turning back. If you don't know the correct lingo i.e. tapered look, faded look, against the grain, with the grain, it's best to come with a picture of the style you want so you and your barber can be on one accord and the look you're going for can be achieved.”

It doesn't seem to be a common practice to include shampoo in the service. Why is that?

Shelby: “From my experience working in the barbershop, I've witnessed that most barbers don't include a shampoo with the service because it takes up too much time in the process. Most barbers want to make the most money in their day, and adding a shampoo will take up the time from them cutting more heads. However, all barbers learn in barber school that shampooing the hair is part of the haircutting service. It should be included in every cut. The hair needs to be cleaned for sanitation purposes and to give the best quality cut. When the hair is clean it is easier to cut off and gives a more precise haircut.”

Is there any preparation needed before the appointment? If so, what should they do to prepare?

Shelby: “In preparation for each haircut, it is best that the client comes with their hair washed, blow-dried, and combed out.”

What should clients not do before their appointment?

Shelby: “Hair should be product free before any haircut appointment. That includes grease, oil, leave-in conditioner, or anything that could weigh the hair down. Your hairstylist should be able to provide all the conditioning and nourishment your hair needs after the hair is cut to the desired style.”

How do you maintain a short style at home and avoid breakage with excessive picking or styling?

Shelby: “The best way to keep short hair maintained at home is to keep it well conditioned and to use a bonnet or scarf every night to avoid breakage. A good leave-in conditioner and head massage every other day will keep your scalp stimulated and moisturized to maintain healthy, strong, and manageable hair.”

How would you treat razor burn on the neck or around the hairline?

Shelby: “I've never experienced razor burn with any of my clients firsthand. However, any antiseptic, such as witch hazel or peroxide, should work in the healing process for minor cuts and burns.”

How often should you visit your barber?

Shelby: “My suggestion would be every two weeks or monthly to keep and preserve a good hairline. This keeps the hairstyle intact, in good form, and manageable. But, it's really the client's preference.”

How do you treat dandruff or any scalp condition with short hair, as it is more visible?

Shelby: “There is a product I use called Lucky Tiger to help tackle dandruff and scalp conditions like psoriasis. It works for most of my clients. But, it has to be applied daily to see the best results from the treatment.”

What is the best nighttime routine for short haircuts?

Shelby: “The best nighttime routine for short hair is a good scalp massage with a leave-in conditioner before you tie your hair with a silk scarf or bonnet.”

Now that you know what to expect, your next visit to your barber should be smooth sailing.

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Read next: Women and the Barbershop: What to Consider before Your Appointment and How to Find the Right Barber in 5 Easy Steps