As a typically broke college student, Deonta Muhammad really didn’t want to have to shell out $20 for a haircut every other week.
So, he bought himself some cheap barber supplies at Walgreen’s and started practicing on himself. It wasn’t long before his cousin saw that he was learning, and bought him a nice, professional barber set.
He spent time reading and watching videos to study hair cutting, and continued to practice on himself to improve his skills.
“I just became infatuated with cutting hair,” Muhammad said.
It wasn’t long before his friends started asking Muhammad for haircuts. He said no at first, but the summer after his freshman year of college, Muhammad did start cutting the hair of his brothers and cousins.
During his sophomore year of college, Muhammad relented and had created a small clientele of about 10 people, charging $7 per cut. His clientele was a few friends and people he had met on campus at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
It was his junior year that Muhammad got more serious about cutting hair. As an RA with his own room, Muhammad was able to expand his clientele and raise his prices to $10 per cut. By the end of the school year, between his duties as an RA, his class load and cutting hair, Muhammad didn’t really have time to keep going to his regular job.
During his fourth year at school, things started to expand like crazy. He made a website and quit his job that year. And during his fifth year at school, he found himself cutting hair from 8 am until 8 pm on days he didn’t have to go to class. In addition to his website, word spread via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, helping him keep up a pretty steady clientele.
After graduating, Muhammad joined the Mid-States team in October 2017 as a full-time project detailer, so he doesn’t have as much time for cutting as he used to. But, he still cuts the hair of his family, some friends, and even some of his high-school aged brother’s friends. It’s maybe 10 cuts per month.
While Muhammad has a pretty professional setup, with a barber chair, cape, barber caddy, combs, razors, sanitation products and more, he would still like to go to barber school and get his license.
“One day, I eventually want to own my own shop,” he said.
Muhammad considers himself a perfectionist, something that has carried over into his hair cutting. His favorite client is a first-timer who hasn’t really been to a barber and doesn’t know what a good cut looks like. Muhammad likes to watch the person whose hair he is cutting have that transformation and react to it.
“With a good haircut, a lot of people focus on the lining, but I also focus on the blend,” Muhammad said. “No matter how good the lining is, if the blend is no good, it’s a lousy haircut.”
Check out some of Muhammad’s latest cuts on Instagram @full_klip4.