Hi Paw Naturel lovers,
I am Lisa Hart and I have been grooming for over ten years; I specialise in Asian fusion grooming and have won classes at the British Dog Grooming Championships, Supergroom, Strictly Come Grooming and the champion class at Groomasia 2018. I would love to share some hints and tips on how I create my Asian styles with the help of Paw Naturel products…
Paw Naturel create amazing quality, completely natural products that have transformed my Asian grooms; I am happy in the knowledge that all the products are safe and kind to my clients skin and coat and are made especially for pets with sensitive skin… the other added bonus is all their products are also vegan.
Asian fusion grooming is becoming very popular in the UK with more and more customers requesting these adorable styles. Asian grooming is the art of making a pet look cartoon or toy like, or, as the Japanese would say, kawaii (cute); some popular styles include the famous donut muzzle, exposing big eyes and exaggerated flares. Below are some tips on how to recreate these styles and to add your own flare and creativity in the salon.
The most important part of Asian inspired grooming for me is preparation and ensuring your coat is completely clean, dry and free from tangles. I start by diluting my chosen Paw Naturel shampoo 20 to 1 with warm water (you can dilute all Paw Naturel products up to 32 to 1) and I apply this to a dry coat and massage well for up to 5 minutes paying close attention to the muzzle to ensure the shampoo reaches the skin, I also love the fragrance of the products! Skip pre-rinsing the dog before shampooing when bathing as this helps to ensure you do not over dilute products and that they reach and clean the skin well. Rinse well ensuring all suds are removed from the coat and proceed to shammy the dog dry to remove excess water, I do a quick blast on Asian grooms to remove further moisture but I do like to stand dry my Asian grooms well to stretch dry the coat as much as possible. Paw Naturel fine slicker brushes are perfect for separating hair and stretching straight while drying on low heat. Drying is my most important stage in Asian style grooms ensuring the coat is dried in the direction I want to scissor like drying the muzzle area up and out throughout drying, I do this with both my fine slicker and the Paw Naturel fine to medium comb, the fine pins aid in stretching and angling the coat to create a perfect donut. I like to make sure all areas of my dog are totally dry from tip to root and this will give you a better finish on your finished groom. While drying I will also remove any small tangles with a dematting spray to avoid damage to the coat, I remove tangles only with a brush and comb to gently remove the matting with least possible damage.
Next comes styling, my main tips are using the correct equipment and choosing your style in advance. Have a good idea of the style you wish to create and work out how this style will mix with the dogs coat and body shape. For Asian grooms small curved scissors and a fine comb like the Paw Naturel one above are essential, ensure you comb constantly throughout the styling process. Other equipment will depend on the coat type you are working on but I would always recommend a good pair of blenders, I love the Geib blue breeze 42 tooth blender as this gives the perfect soft finish for Asian grooms. If you are working on mixed texture coats then chunkers such as the P&W spartan help soften the finish of flared legs and the Eve Somers 23t blender/texturizer can be a great aid in perfecting that soft Asian look on drop coats and wool coat faces.
Asian grooms have some general rules such as the donut muzzle being the correct shape and in portion to the dog’s head size. Also, all four flares should have the same circumference to ensure balance but otherwise general rules of shape correction are left behind in Asian grooming to make way for super short bodies and exaggerated flares. However Asian styles should still show balance and symmetry, these are actually very important factors of Asian grooming.
Bodies are generally clipped on blades ranging from #10 to #4f depending on coat type but the body can be scissored on wool coats if you need to add extra shape to the body and you want to be a little more creative in your design. In the image below I scissored Vegas the Poochon all over with chunkers to add in shape then straights to finish.
Leg styles are very dependant on the type of coat you are working with; drop coats such as Maltese, Yorkies and Shih Tzus look great with full length flares achieved by clipping tight to the top of the elbow and scissoring a large bevel around the foot without taking length off the actual leg, hair will be free flowing from elbow to floor. This can be achieved quickly by running you hand down the dog’s legs and over the foot to a fingers width over the pad and scissoring flat with straight scissors. Once the foot is placed back on the table you will have the start of a flare and will just need to tidy edges with curved scissors.
I create scissored flares by talking my leg tight around the elbow first usually while clipping the body, then using curved scissors, create a large round foot, even with large flares I still like to keep pads clear and to not have a lot of length past the toe nails still using the nails as a guide to start my flare but coming wider on the sides of the foot. I then scissor in a triangle shape when viewed from the front of the leg taking the hair very short at the top of the leg then joining my line to my existing foot shape, pretty much the same as you would a cylinder leg but on an angle pointing outwards to the foot. Chunkers can be helpful in creating better shapes than normal edge scissors and will add more flare to your design.
Once your body and legs are complete you are ready to create the main feature of all Asian grooms… the head. Head styles are generally the main feature and vary from smooth heads to bobble heads, shaved ears to mushroom heads, whatever style you choose there are a few general rules that can help you create the donut muzzle which is a must for all Asian styles.
The basics of the muzzle are that the size of the muzzle is in balance with the rest of the head.
For a drop-coat or topknot style your muzzle is no wider than the outside corners of eyes and is a upside down D shape, this works well on breeds like Yorkies and Maltese or breeds that do not have a large stop area where you need to scissor hair to create the shape of the top of the muzzle.
To create this look you shave all hair from the outside corner of eye on a #10 or the blade you use on the body to top corner fold on the inside of the ear (think poodle style) then the outside corner of eye down to the hard black whiskers found on either side of the cheek and on the centre of the chin (think Schnauzer beard). This creates the start lines for your donut and leaves the hair on top of the head to be either scissored or tied up. Shave underneath the nose on a #30 or #40 blade to expose pigment the width of the nose and also a small section on the bottom of the bottom lip, this creates your starting point to scissor your muzzle shape up and around. See the Maltese image below for an example.
If you have a lot of excess hair on the muzzle first comb straight out and scissor straight up to the outside corner of eye to remove bulk and set in your widest point of muzzle. Then comb hair down and scissor from the clipped area below the nose in a curve following the line of the lip to then join the widest point you have just set. The hair on top of the muzzle is just combed sideways and left full length; as on most breeds that suit this style you do not need to scissor in the top of the muzzle to cover the bottom section of the eye. Now blend the hair at the very front of the muzzle back so that the hair does not fall forward when wet. Last you remove the hair from the chin area, do not trim this first as you have nothing to hold while setting in your lines. This area can be clipped on a #7 to #4 but I personally feel this area looks better and you can achieve a nicer shape by scissoring with small curves in to a half moon shape that joins to the widest parts of your muzzle. Finally blend hair at the front of the muzzle back and round to stop any ‘fall down’ when wet. This method achieves the Maltese style seen below.
Donut muzzles on wool coats and drop coats with longer muzzles such as Schnauzers require a little more styling and scissoring, like Esme seen below. To create a classic donut muzzle from a longer style it is advised to remove excess hair before the bath so you can get lift and a smooth finish while stretch drying the area, to do this imagine the muzzle to be a rectangle with the nose in the middle of the rectangle and brake the muzzle down in to four sections as seen in the diagram below. To do this scissor 4 lines before bathing to set in the start of your shape, two lines straight just outside the outside corner of the eye or in line with the width of your head/ears to set your widest points and then one line straight across below the chin, you do not need much hair here and this can be taken almost to the chin, just leave yourself a little hair to hold to steady the head while trimming the rest of your muzzle, finally set in a line on top of the muzzle level with the inside corners of the eyes straight across, this will be your longest point on the top of the muzzle.
After bathing and stretch drying remove a small line of hair in the stop area but only the hair directly in front of the corners of eyes and a small line across; if you take too much you will lose too much hair on top of the muzzle. On longer nose breeds you can afford to take this line slightly lower down the muzzle to ensure your donut is also an oval from above or else from certain views your muzzle may appear to be more of a triangular shape.
Now you can then work on each section of the muzzle; your widest points should be now set in place so you do not want to remove any hair from these areas. I normally shave under the nose, the width of the nostrils, at this point with a #30 or #40 blade. I then curve up and round from this point on the lip following the line of the lip to my widest point to ensure no hair drops below this line as this will make the expression appear sad when what we are trying to create with Asian grooming is a smiling, happy expression.
Next curve from under your chin to the widest point on each side of the face ensuring you always scissor upwards as this will create stability to the style and hold the donut shape in place (see diagram). Next, repeat this action on the top two sections of the muzzle following the line between your inner corners of eyes and again your widest point always scissoring upwards, you should now have the basic donut shape which should be in balance with the head due to the lines set before the bath. From here comb and scissor many times to perfect your shape without moving your 4 widest points. I do this with my fine tooth blenders. Repeat until you are happy with your shape and finish.
My Muse Esme <3
I hope the above hints and guidelines help you create the Asian grooms of your dreams but remember one of the best things about Asian style grooming is learning and experimenting; you can be creative and add your own touch with collars, bows and even colour. My personal favourite is adding blusher to the cheeks of your donut using a blow pen and I also love curled ears which I create using small perming rods and either a good dog hair spray or moose then leave in until fully dry. Finally, do not forget to take adorable pictures of your creations.
FB/IG: Lisa Hart Grooming.