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Wet Shaving and Combing

Posted by admin on December 10, 2012

Article for the Manitoba Club

 

Written by Lesley Weeks

 

 

Wet Combing and Wet Shaving

 

Rumor has it there is a new technique on the seen!

 

That is about as far fetched as it gets, wet combing and wet shaving has been around since human haircutting became the fashion!

 

Think about it Groomers!!  Would you blow-dry your hair prior to “wet-combing” it!  Of course not, as you want your hair to be full and fluffy with each strand separated.  Well the same goes for our animals!  If you want the best blow-dry in the world with less stress on the animal, please wet comb the fur.  You will find that it will save you time and will give you the results that you are looking for.

 

The same goes for wet- scissoring.  After you have combed out that head, scissor it up then blow dry – MAGIC you will not see any scissor sins on the face!  This is not new news, the Show and Professional Stylists have been doing it forever!  Whether it is a full face on that Maltese or a shorter “puppy round head”.  Get with the program and begin to wet clip and or scissor those faces.  You will be so pleased with your results. 

 

Wet Shaving:  So that matted mess comes in and you are groaning!  Bath that little “Devil” and wet shave him down.   You will find it is less stressful and with wet fur as you can actually see the skin, and with a wet coat you will no longer have blades that heat up and burn the skin!  Now, don’t you think that is a good safety feature to being using?  Plus there are added benefit to wet shaving, when you dry the coat after all is done, you will have more length left than if you shaved it dry, your Blades do not dull as fast as there is less friction as the coat is wet! That translates into a happier client, less stress for the animal, greater safety for the pet, healthier for you as you are working on clean coat and a huge cost savings on blade sharpening.  The added bonus for your own health is so important; the animal is clean that you are working on, the wet hair is hitting the ground, and you are breathing in far less dander.  Your shop stays cleaner; you are blowing less hair around your shop.

 

All of you groomers know how to groomer this article is not to teach you how to groom but how to sharpen up your skill set; now what you have to do is start to think outside the box.  Try it on a matted dog and see for yourself.  Save time, stress and energy on both your body and the animal’s plus it is much safer as you see the skin.

 

This method will save a huge amount of clean up!  This will save the individual groomer working out of a client’s home valuable time in the clean up, not to mention a happier client.

 

Puppy Cut example 1

 

Animal Condition:  Bichon 4 years old was placed in a puppy cut with an A comb three months ago.  Coat on the spinal area in good condition, however the head is tangled but those legs are very tangled if not completely matted. 

 

Client request:  Same as last time please. (they are hoping you don’t scold them as they know it has been way to long for what they really want for the end result)

 

Groomer steps to fulfill request:

 

Bath the Bichon – twice may be needed as he is very dirty

 

Crème Rinse the Animal

 

Rinse the Animal very well

 

              Wrap in towel and take to table

 

              Place towel on table

 

Cut and grind the nails (easier to do when softened by the bath)

 

Clean the ears

 

HEAD:  Typical Head or Shorter Version – Select the best option based on length required:

 

              Wet comb the head using both wide tooth comb and the assistance of a Mat Breaker of 6 tooth Mars Rake.  Small sections are worked at a time to ensure the fine tooth comb can go thru.  Wet Scissor your head shape.

 

or

 

              Should the client wish a shorter under-jaw – clip the under-jaw with a 3F blade prior to wet combing.

 

or

              Should the client wish an overall shorter head, wet clip using 3F Blade the entire head, cheeks and ears.

 

or

              Should the client wish a larger head and if you are in luck you may be able to shave the head using an A or E clip on comb with a 40 blade for ease on your Wahl Arco Portable Clipper. 

 

SANITATION:

 

Clip the groin and rectum area with a 9 or 10 blade.

Clip the eye are with a 9 or 10 blade as you normally would if the coat was dry.

 

BODY:

 

Wet shave the body with a 3F Blade including the underbelly

 

 

LEGS:

 

Wet shave the front legs with a 3F Blade

 

Wet shave the hind legs with a 3F Blade

 

WETCOMB:  When all body work is done wet comb the remaining coat including the tail.

 

WET SCISSOR: 

 

Scissor off excess feet hair as if you were rounding in.  Check your head, scissor as required.  (trust me you will get better at this with practice).  Wet Scissor your tail.

 

BLOW DRY

 

Blow Dry the coat as you normally would with a High Velocity Drier.  Perhaps using a stand up drier for the head if you feel more comfortable with this procedure.  Quick comb out to ensure all tangles are gone.

 

FINISH WORK

 

Scissor work finish as you normally would, OR you can use your Wahl Arco Portable with the 12mm comb and a 10 -30 blade under the clip on comb (depending on the thickness of the jacket) to reclip the areas that you used your 3F Blade.  I personally prefer the plastic comb as I find it gives a better finish than the metal combs do on a curly coat.

 

Tidy Scissor your body and head as you normally would.  You will find that the more you practice this technique the faster you will get as your confidence will be building with each animal you work with.

 

You will see that the more you set clip and scissor the more natural you animal will look and the fluffier he will appear.

 

Final Note:  I personally find the animal is much more comfortable being wet combed to get the tangles out.  Plus you can see where they are so you ensure they are all out, and if you are working with assistants you are able to verify so much easier.  There is less stress for the animal as wet hair stretches; there is great safety as you can physically see the skin and where you are clipping; the use of the wild slicker brush in the hands of so many groomers is gone, thus reducing the risk of Brush Burn. 

 

Example 2Total Body Shave due to client request or heavily matted

 

Client request:  Save as much as you can. Round Puppy Head and save the tail, please!

 

Animal Condition:  Severely matted or Client wishes it very short but still save as much as you can.

 

Groomer steps to fulfill request:

 

Bath the animal– twice may be needed as he is very dirty

 

Crème Rinse the Animal

                             OPTION :  If the animal is extremely matted or has a heavy undercoat you may wish to proceed directly to  wet clipping and then give a final rinse.  Sometimes the crème rinse will aide in the clipping process to make it easier.

 

 

Rinse the animal well

 

              Wrap in towel and take to table

 

              Place towel on table

 

 

Cut and grind the nails (easier to do when softened by the bath)

 

Clean the ears

 

HEAD:  Typical Head or Shorter Version – Select the best option based on length required and or overall condition of coat:

 

              Wet comb the head and ears using both wide tooth comb and the assistance of a Mat Breaker of 6 tooth Mars Rake.  Small sections are worked at a time to ensure the fine tooth comb can go thru.  Wet Scissor your head shape, with time and practice you will get better, however if this is your first time wet scissoring, rough cut in your lines, and be determined to work at this technique.  The more you do it the better you will get, just like in the beginning of your grooming days.

 

or

 

              Should the client wish a shorter under-jaw – clip the under-jaw with a 3F blade prior to wet combing.

 

or

              Should the client wish an overall shorter head, wet clip using 3F Blade the entire head, cheeks and ears.

 

or 

 

              Perhaps the animals head is a total mess, wet-clip with 5F or 7F  you will still get more length remaining than if you clip the coat hair dry. 

 

SANITATION:

 

Clip the groin and rectum area with a 9 or 10 blade.

Clip the eye are with a 9 or 10 blade as you normally would if the coat was dry.

 

BODY:

 

Wet shave the body with 4F, 5F, or 7F Blade depending on the severity of the matting include the underbelly

 

 

LEGS:

 

Wet shave the legs with a 4F, 5F, or 7F Blade depending on the severity of the matting.  If you get lucky you might even be able to shave the legs with one blade lower than you did the body.  Example you shaved the body with a 7F and were able to get a 5F through the legs, or various variations. 

 

If inside of legs are very tangled use a 7F or 9 blade to get through the mats.  Please remember to always clip in the direction of hair growth.  Look at the way the hair grows on the inside of the back legs, you will see that you may need to angle your blade just a little to ease the procedure.

 

You may also find you must do the same thing over the tops of the feet due to mats that your original blade choice would not work through.

 

WETCOMB:  When all body work is done wet comb the remaining coat including the tail.

 

WET SCISSOR: 

 

Scissor off excess feet hair as if you were rounding in.  Check your head, scissor as required.  (trust me you will get better at this with practice)

 

BLOW DRY

 

Blow Dry the coat as you normally would with a High Velocity Drier.  Perhaps using a stand up drier for the head if you feel more comfortable with this procedure.  Quick comb out to ensure all tangles are gone.

 

FINISH WORK

 

Reclip the body with one blade up from what you used when you wet clipped.  Example:  Wet clipped body with 5F – reclip the dry coat with a 3F or 4F Blade.


Always use one blade lower than you used in your wet clip.

 

Scissor up as you normally would do to make the finished look.

 

Final Note:  I personally find the animal is much more comfortable being wet-clipped than dry clipped. Plus you can see where you are clipping as the skin is visible.  There is less stress for the animal as wet hair stretches; there is great safety as you can physically see the skin and where you are clipping.  Wet combing is the best choice for all animals prior to drying as the use of the wild slicker brush in the hands of so many groomers is gone, thus reducing the risk of Brush Burn. 

 

 

It is my hope that you will start to see the benefits of Wet Combing and Wet Clipping.  Open up your minds, use your creative talents, safe your energy, and see more outstanding results.

 

REMEMBER:  Dry your blades and oil them at the end of the day.  This should be done even if you only dry clip.  Most Groomers fail to do this when maintaining their equipment.  Bonus with Wet Clipping, your blades stay sharper longer as dry hair dulls them faster.

 

 

Some of you groomers saw my demonstration on Cats back in May of 2012, remember the wet combing! 

 

Try it on your dogs; you will reap the benefits!

 

Thanks and happy and safe grooming,

 

Lesley