At the age of 21, I poked out my left eye. While the surgeon saved my eyeball, the eye is different now in that I can only see in 2D. My inability to have any depth perception has affected me significantly. So I had to adapt and make various adjustments. Because of my injury I avoided eye contact for years. But at the time, it didn't matter to me because I worked in a tool and die shop and didn’t have to make a lot of eye contact.
But then I lost my job at the plant. I sat in my car in the parking lot for maybe five minutes before realizing it was time to scratch my long time itch of becoming a hairdresser. So I did it! I went to school and became a hairstylist. While in school, there was a cutting class by Vivienne Mackinder during which I was allowed to assist her. She used this wonderful tool: the JATAI Feather Nape & Body Razor. She created beautiful texture in all her cuts and spoke of not just cutting hair but also of sketching and drawing.
I graduated and got my first job at a high-end salon working under Barsoum Bashar, my mentor. I learned so much from this man, but most of all, purpose! I knew my place was not doing color, keratin or just doing what most hairdressers do. Within six months of working there I began seeing the same thing over and over again, long sections of hair in the crown. This would always attract my eye to the top of their heads. I had finally become comfortable with eye contact, but now my eye was being drawn away from theirs and instead fixated on the top of the head. The hair was taking away from the person. I wanted to change the experience, particularly for short haired clients.
Once I noticed the hair whorls, it was all I could see. But I decided to never fear a hair whorl again. I chopped the suckers off! By keeping the front of the hair longer, it drew the eye away from the back of the head and focused it toward the front. Eye contact was easier as there was now a focal point. It worked, but I noticed clients were returning every three weeks. It felt too soon. How could I get more longevity out of my work? I used texturizing shears the way I was trained to. I blended and removed weight the way I was trained to. But there they were every three to four weeks back for another cut. Most hairdressers would be cool with this, but I was not. I wanted to provide value to my clients. I was charging premium rates so I wanted to give premium service.
The same problem areas would arise: the parietal ridge and the back hair whorl. I began to think of the meaning of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I looked at my texturizing shears and it just clicked. I was blending but that was creating the problem. The hair that was cut was creating lift. But how would I remove hair from the scalp without cutting my clients, and still give a great cut? If only I could draw out weight with a pen. That was my lightbulb moment. Remembering Vivienne talk about drawing and sketching, I immediately grabbed my JATAI Feather Nape & Body Razor
and drew on paper. No cut. Then my arm. No cut. And then my head. I didn’t cut myself but it removed hair. I hit the ground running. I began drawing into cowlicks, whorls, and into the parietal ridge and the results were awesome. Then I simply combined the focal point technique with the razor and it all felt right.
Suddenly, my clients came in every six to eight weeks. The value I was giving turned into a massive influx of referrals. I really did not think the focal point technique I developed was all that special; I simply wanted to do better for my clients. One day, a fellow hairdresser named Marisa commented about my clients grow-out. I gave the credit to the razor, but she disagreed with me. Marisa asked me to teach her this technique which I did. She also encouraged me to name it. We named it on the road from the ABS hair show in Chicago: The Focal Point Technique!
You can see how I do the Focal Point Technique on JATAI Academy's Education CONNECT
. But basically, it consists of three main parts and is used to cut very short hair:
- Creating a focal point by cutting the hair very short at the crown which gradually becomes longer toward the front. The front becomes the focal point for the eyes
- Cutting the hair at the parietal ridge for better blending so that the haircut grows out nicely. This extends the life of the haircut and adds more value to your haircuts
- Using the JATAI Feather Nape & Body Razor to seamlessly remove weight like a pen. This tool is preferred over the Styling Razor or Plier Razor because it’s small for greater control, has guarded blades so you won’t cut yourself or your client and you can easily hold it like a pen for drawing and sketching.
We opened our own business because of this tool. Marisa married me. I can't give the razor all of the credit for that one, but I do have a big black Harley because of it. The JATAI Feather Nape & Body Razor
, Vivienne Mackinder, Barsoum Bashar, Marisa Reinhold, and all of my wonderful clients have given me the greatest life I only could dream of.
This is my before and after look using the Focal Point Technique. You can read more about it here