Campus Haircutters

The Gazette sat down with student hair stylists Sarah Diamond, Alex Anderson, and Miyuki Baker to talk about their craft.

Sarah Diamond ’13

DG: How did you develop your interest in haircutting? Where did it all start?

It started in boarding school. At the end of the year a friend of mine from California asked me to cut his hair, because he hadn’t cut his hair all year and he said that his mom would flip out. So I cut it and did a horrible job.

The next year he asked me to cut his hair again, for some reason, and it turned out way better. After that lots of people started asking me to cut their hair, and then there were like 40 kids in high school whose hair I cut whenever they needed it.

DG: Why did your friend ask you to cut your hair?

He was my best friend and there wasn’t anybody else. It was the first time I cut hair and after that I went wild.

DG: How did you start cutting hair at Swarthmore?

When I got here I just told people I cut hair, and now I cut the whole track team’s hair and [the hair of] other random people.

At first it was free and I didn’t charge anybody, but then when it got to 5 or 6 haircuts a week I didn’t really have time. So now it’s $5 per haircut, which I feel bad about because I don’t like asking people for money.

DG: How did you develop the skills? How did you practice?

I do a lot of art and I did a lot of face-painting and theater make-up.

One of my good friends back home in Miami, his parents own a salon, and I asked them for tips for styling hair because everyone’s hair is really different. A lot has to do with the texture, thickness and the direction your hair grows and you want to think about that when you’re cutting somebody’s hair.

It was easy to practice because 15 year-old guys they don’t really care that much about how their hair looks. There were two boy dorms in each side of my dorm and I cut everybody’s hair.

Since I didn’t charge any money for it people were totally willing to let me do it.

DG: What are the ingredients for a good haircut/what makes a good haircut?

It depends, different people want different things. If someone looks in the mirror and they think they look good, then it’s a good haircut. If they’re happy with it, it’s a good haircut.

I also hate hair on the neck. I never let anyone have neck hair. I despise it.

DG: Would you call haircutting a hobby of yours, or are you considering pursuing it in a serious manner?

I actually looked into going to cosmetology school but it’s a 9 month program. I’m not going to drop out of four-year college to take a cosmetology course but I really like cutting hair. But I’m currently not looking at a lot of career options, and given my interests, I can see myself working in a salon for a while.

DG: Would you share with us a few your best hair maintenance tips or insider secrets?

A couple of things: don’t let your hair grow for more than three or four months without trimming it, and layered hair is always a good idea.

Also being able to cut your hair is very liberating. People freak out if you cut, like, more than an inch of their hair, and I think that they need to be a little more open to change.

Sometimes when you do something like that you realize you look and feel way better.

DG: If you had to choose one person whose hair stands out-on campus or a celebrity-who would you pick?

A haircut I’ve given that I think is a really great haircut is Jessie Cannizaro’s. I think Jessie Cannizaro looks great and I think I cut her hair really well. I think part of it is her attitude towards hair. She works with whatever she has really well.

Rupert Everett in the 90s had a great mane of hair and he’s hot too.

I also figured being hot makes your hair looks better.

Alex Anderson ’13

DG: How did you develop your interest in haircutting? Where did it all start?

I started in 11th grade when people always were just like “oh you look like you need a haircut” and I thought, I could pay 30 dollars for a haircut or I could just start cutting my own hair.

For a while I had some interesting haircuts but you learn from all of them.

I got better at cutting my own hair, eventually my friends started asking me to cut their hair, and now it’s a business.

DG: How did you develop the skills? How did you practice?

I practiced on myself. You need a couple of mirrors so you can cut the back of your hair and the side of your hair really easily.

It’s a matter of having enough subjects to practice and a strong enough visual understanding of how hair should look. It’s about finding how hair interacts with facial shape and what would look best for the person.

DG: How did you start cutting hair at Swarthmore?

The first time I cut hair here was when on of my friends in the hall was just like, “you can cut my hair.” Then I think these crazy designs that I would do on my friends’ hair popularized my haircuts. For example, most recently, I made the ‘hello kitty’ design on Eddie Zhang’s and Yashi Kashyap’s hair.

DG: What are the ingredients for a good haircut/what makes a good haircut?

Most important thing, I would say, is something that matches your face well. A lot of men also want something low maintenance: it’s an option if your hair is really damaged. I think, though, leaving enough hair to show its natural beauty and what it can do on its own is a really nice thing.

For a good haircut, you need good transitions between lengths and you want everything to look intentional.

DG: Would you call haircutting a hobby of yours, or are you considering pursuing it in a serious manner?

This is a hobby and it’s like side income. It’s almost like an art project for me.

DG: Would you share with us a few your best hair maintenance tips or insider secrets?

Let’s start by combing your hair because not everyone does that.

Girls: don’t burn your hair. If you straighten your hair to look good, it’s not going to look good if it’s burnt.

Also find the right products for your hair. Rather than always shampooing your hair, it’s probably better to use conditioner more frequently.

DG: If you had to choose one person whose hair stands out-on campus or a celebrity-who would you pick?

I like my hair! When people ask “who’s Alex,” most people are like “well he’s the kid with the triangular hair!”

I find that a lot of women who come to me usually like Rihanna’s haircut.

Miyuki Baker ’12

DG: How did you develop your interest in haircutting? Where did it all start?

Back in high school I had really long hair, and my mom kept telling me I should cut my hair. So I went to the salon and someone cut my hair. As it started getting longer, I had to cut it again but I didn’t want to pay to go to the salon. So I started cutting it myself. My mom had always cut my hair and her own hair, so I figured I could cut my own hair.

DG: How did you start cutting hair at Swarthmore?

When I got to college I continued cutting my own hair, and my friends asked me to cut theirs. I thought it was a nice thing to do for your friends. Sometimes I put cool designs at the sides of their head and that’s where it all started.

DG: How did you develop the skills? How did you practice?

I was doing all of my friends’ hair for free and thus got practice. Because I got so much practice it became easier for me and I treat it now as just another art form.

DG: Would you call haircutting a hobby of yours, something you do out of interest for it or are you considering pursuing it in a serious manner?

It may be something I do as a side job, I guess.

DG: What are the ingredients for a good haircut/what makes a good haircut?

I like to give edgier, more interesting haircuts. I have the most fun when I get to do something interesting. Hair can change the way people perceive you, so I love it when I get to cut long hair really short or give someone a cool design, because it changes the way they are perceived.

DG: Would you share with us a few your best hair maintenance tips or insider secrets?

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like putting product in their hair. I think a good haircut is the key to having good hair.

DG: If you had to choose one person whose hair stands out-on campus or a celebrity-who would you pick?

I always like Alex’s haircuts because they are always so geometric and fun! I also did a really cool design on Sean Thackurdeen and I think that turned out really well.


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