Sep 03 2015

Deirdre Novella

They say that behind every great man is a great woman—and that holds especially true when it comes to the female barbers and hairstylists who have men in their chairs every day. Since so many guys put their hair…and beards…in these ladies’ hands, we asked them to share some top grooming tips and tell us how they got into the business of making guys look good.

Badlands Salon and Barber in Brooklyn, New York, is a perfect blend of just about everything—from the rustic and friendly atmosphere to the myriad high-end services that are offered. Any dude can walk in for a fade and a face shave and walk out with an updated yet easily maintainable look. It’s a place for everyone, and as owner and stylist Deirdre Novella explained, the crew at Badlands can clip, cut and color your coif into whatever it is you’re looking for.

Do you consider yourself a men’s groomer, barber or stylist?
I consider myself a stylist. Even though I have a lot of experience in men’s cutting and grooming, I leave the face shaves to our master barber, Gaby. I know how to do a shave, but I specialize more in men’s fades and longer shapes. Gaby taught me face shaves, and I taught her men’s scissor cutting. I train my staff in clipper work.

Grooming is the styling part that comes after the cut—it’s where you put the product in and teach your client how to achieve a desired look. A barber is a master at face shaves and edge-ups. Barbers usually do little to no scissor work; they mostly use clippers. A stylist is trained in all aspects of cutting and styling men’s hair and is proficient in scissor and clipper work as well as color and chemical processes.

How did you get your start in the industry?
After I got my Cosmetology license, I immediately went into the New York City fashion industry. I started assisting on shoots and fashion shows, which I did for about eight years. Then I went back to hair school to get more cutting skills and barber training, which led me to open a salon and barber shop.

What drew you to your current Park Slope, Brooklyn, location?
I moved to Park Slope in 1991 when I was in art school, and since then I've lived in many different Brooklyn neighborhoods. My favorites are Park Slope and Fort Greene. There is a very laid back yet sophisticated style here—the people are low maintenance, but they still want to look edgy. There is a surprisingly great cross section of people here, and I like to be able to service everyone—all genders, ethnicities and styles.

And watch out for our second location, coming soon…

What cuts are the Brooklyn guys requesting lately?
Right now the men are all about a clean, tight fade on the back of the neck and the sides while leaving the top long and slicking it back with pomade. It’s a great look because it’s cool, but it’s still clean. It can be dressed up and worn to work or dressed down to wear anywhere else. Pompadours are another trend right now, and, of course, guys are very into growing their beards.  

Why would a guy want to make Badlands Barber their spot?
Oh, there are a lot of reasons. For starters, we have excellent customer service. We have great stylists and we use the most high-quality products. I think that Badlands will be giving you the best cut you’ve had in a long time. We also have good music playing all day – everything from punk rock to heavy metal to electro.

What is your favorite part of the barbershop culture?
I love that guys are so low maintenance. As long as you give them a high-quality, clean cut they’re happy. Also, they don’t chat much during the appointment, which is definitely different than cutting women.

You mentioned that fellow Badlands master barber Gaby taught you the art of the face shave. What else have you learned since you opened up shop in 2012? 
The biggest thing I’ve had to learn is probably how to manage a team of stylists. Most hair stylists have big personalities, and with that comes a lot of drama. The most important policy that I have enforced at the shop is kindness and professionalism—never bringing a bad mood to work, never talking bad about a co-worker or client and no negative gossiping in the back room. It keeps everyone happy and professional. The number-one thing that can bring down staff morale is negativity.  

What is your favorite cut to give?
A fade.

What is one grooming tip that every guy should live by?
Wash your hair every day and don't be afraid to use a hair dryer!  

What guy would you love to have in your chair?
That’s a hard call, either Prince or Morrissey.

What do you do when you’re not styling?
Hanging with friends is really important to me. I love going to the beach and spending time in the woods of upstate New York. 

By V76 by Vaughn

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