Need Haircut Tips? This Master NYC Stylist Is Doing Zoom Lessons

Terri & Sandy's lockdown idea for Xavier Cruz

Combs, clippers, a cereal bowl and unbridled enthusiasm. That's all you need to give a rad haircut to your spouse, partner, kids or parents in lockdown, right?

Wrong!

Unless you've studied styling, you could probably use some practical instruction from a pro. For instance, someone like Xavier Cruz, renowned stylist and owner of men's grooming boutique Barba in New York's Chelsea district. 

Working with creative agency Terri & Sandy, Cruz has launched "Quarancuts Virtual Hair School," for folks who want a kicky quarantine 'do. Via free guided haircut sessions on Zoom, Cruz—who typically charges up to $175 for his services—will show you exactly how it's done. Just DM the dude on Instagram for an appointment. Cruz will also air Quarancuts sessions on IGTV, so others can learn from his expertise (and your ignorance).

Grammy-winning Broadway star Billy Porter enrolled as Cruz's first student, giving husband Adam a trim in the clip below. Spoiler: They're all shameless cut-ups:

So, remember: If you're using electric clippers, try a sweeping motion. Don't just dive-bomb the blades into your partner's head!

Those who can cut it get diplomas:

Below, Cruz and Sandy Greenberg, co-founder and CEO of Terri & Sandy, buzz about the project:

Muse: Where did the name Quarancuts come from?

Sandy Greenberg: We wanted one word that would grab people's attention—something playful, yet completely recognizable as relevant to the current situation. These are cuts for a world that's in quarantine.

How'd the idea come about?

Greenberg: While Zoom has many benefits, it can be profoundly embarrassing to hit "video" when you feel unkempt. There's been no shortage of funny comments thrown around relating to all of our unruly hair situations. We're also constantly hearing and reading about so many outside instances of home haircuts gone wrong, so a light bulb went off.

Barba is a long-time client of ours, and we've always done very culturally relevant and impactful work together. We saw this as the perfect opportunity for Barba, and specifically Xavier, to play a role in helping people get through these times, knowing that even one little gesture can wind up making a big difference. We brought the idea and the name, Quarancuts, to Xavier, who is conveniently married to our creative director J.P. Gomez, and he was immediately on board. Then the rest just started flowing. Xavier began figuring out how to make it work from a logistical standpoint, and how he could get some of his celeb friends and clientele involved to help spread the message.

Meanwhile, a team of about six creatives at Terri & Sandy worked fast and furiously to create branding elements and launch assets for Quarancuts. We wanted the campaign to be super insightful but also witty because, right now, we all need a good laugh.

Who's the target audience, and how are you sharing those ads?

Greenberg: While Barba is a men's grooming boutique, Xavier felt he wanted to provide this service to anyone who needs a haircut, or is willing to give or receive a haircut. The campaign will run in paid and organic social, with the bulk of assets on Instagram and IGTV, as well as across YouTbe, Facebook and Barba's own website. Clips from each Quarancuts session will come to life in the form of IGTV episodes and before-and-after pictures.

How many lessons can you do per day?

Xavier Cruz: I'll likely average two per day, as some people will require more time for explanation than others. It also depends on the cut. Fades would require more time as opposed to a simple military one-length, or something more in depth like a layer cut.

And how long would each session last?

Cruz: That would vary per participant, and whether they get it right away or not. So, it could be anywhere from 30 minutes to upwards of 90 minutes.

Do you share the basics in each lesson, or base the sessions more on people's specific DMs?

Cruz: This is no different from when a client comes into Barba for the first time. There's no planning their cut ahead of time, so a basic consultation would happen right before we start. My only questions to them ahead of time would be, "Are you doing this on your own, or do you have someone in quarantine with you that I will be guiding?" and "What types of cutting tools are you working with?" Some may only have scissors, while others would only have a clipper. Then, there are those who only have beard trimmers. That's when the fun begins.

What are the biggest mistakes people make, or worst misconceptions they have, when they try to cut their own hair—or a partner's hair?

Cruz: People should keep in mind that it's not going to be perfect, but it's better than wearing a hat 24/7. No one is judging you on your skills, and it may not be as difficult as one would think. Be patient and have fun.

Why do this for free, especially with the salon closed right now?

Cruz: True, it's my time, but I'm not actually doing the work. I'm blessed with many things in my life, while others suffer emotionally and financially. This is also a time where I feel we all need to be connected. I cannot put a price-tag on making someone smile. I want everyone to feel handsome or beautiful, even under these circumstances. And for that one hour or so, maybe we forget about what's happening in the world around us.

Can you talk about being away from the shop, and are you making any comeback plans?

Cruz: Without a doubt, these are the most trying times for me. I miss my team. I miss my clients. I miss greeting my salon every morning when I open my doors and flick those lights on and say, "It's gonna be a great day, Barba"—which I say every day. I don't know how this will end. I guess it depends on how you perceive it. I'd like to think it could be the start of something incredible. I'm not one to give up so easily. We will come back stronger and better than ever.

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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