Worlds Fastest Haircut – Ivan Zoot Sets New World Records for Haircutting
In the hair care industry, 44-year-old Ivan Zoot is a superstar. He’s the Michael Phelps of barbering. That’s why I was so excited to be invited to be an official witness as he attempted to break three Guinness Book of World Records for haircutting. Not only did he break the records, I watched as he completely obliterated them.
The world record event took place on Friday, August 22 at Rooster’s Men’s Grooming Center in Austin, Texas, and was a benefit for Children With Hairloss, an organization which seeks to make hair replacement available to children with medically related hair loss. Ivan set new records for the single fastest haircut (a layered bob he performed in an unbelievable 55 seconds), the most professional haircuts in one hour (34), and the most haircuts in 24 hours. The earlier records were set at 1:11 for the fastest hair-cut, 23 for most haircuts in one hour, and also 300 for most haircuts in 24 hours. He beat each record by a significant margin.
From 4 p.m. Friday until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Ivan cut hair non-stop (except for seven quick bathroom breaks of five minutes or less). During this time, he averaged one haircut every 4.23 minutes. As I stood watching each haircut for the first eight hours of his 24-hour marathon, I was nearly speechless. As a barber, I average one haircut every half hour, so it was amazing to me that he was able to work so fast. I’m still trying to figure out how he did it without bloodshed. The group gathered to witness the event, and many of the clients were completely dumbfounded by Ivan’s amazing speed. I recall the slight look of terror on one guy’s face as Ivan whizzed around this head. For a moment, I thought the guy might actually cry, but when he got up and checked out his haircut, he was just as amazed as everyone watching. A great haircut in under two minutes.
Of course, all of this would not be possible without a team of nearly 50 volunteers who washed client’s hair, kept the floor swept and the tools clean, and made sure clients were seated and ready. The timing for each haircut started when Ivan made the first cut and ended when he threw down his clippers and ran to the client waiting in the next chair. It was a wild sight — hair flying everywhere as this crazed barber ran back and forth cutting head after head. I’m not exactly sure how he lasted for 24 hours without passing out, but he looked like he had nearly as much energy after hour 23 as he did during hour one. It was truly amazing to watch. Throughout the event, I never noticed him take a single sip of anything caffeinated. I asked his wife where he gets his energy, and she replied, “That’s just Ivan. He’s always like this.” It would be fun to see him with a little caffeine. He might just burst into flames.
For the skeptics reading this who may be thinking, “I could buzz ahead in 55 seconds,” think again. There were strict rules which had to be followed during the event. Ivan was unable to do any buzzcuts, he had to cut at least one-half inch off all over the head, and he could not cut anyone with significant hair loss. No buzzcuts or bald heads were performed during the event. To make the task a bit more challenging, there was also a team of judges (myself included) who had to watch each haircut and make sure it was technically acceptable. Every head he cut met the strict guidelines set forth by Guinness.
When he’s not setting world records, he serves as Director of Education and Training at Andis, a company that manufactures tools for the beauty and barber industry. Ivan will now travel the country and teach barbers and stylists how to improve their technical quality and efficiency behind the chair.
For this barber, watching the World Record event was an amazing thing. It’s not too often I see a room full of people clapping and chanting a barber’s name. To see Ivan stand behind the chair for 24 hours straight and never lose his drive or excitement was inspiring and left me with a renewed passion for our industry.
Will he try for another record? Ivan told me, “After this, I’m never doing another haircut with someone timing me.” Something in my gut tells me that if someone breaks his record, he’ll be back to reclaim his title as World’s Greatest Haircutter. I hope I’m there to watch.
A few years later, I set a Guinness World Record of my own for shaving the most heads in one hour live on NBC’s Today Show, so I’ve had the honor of both serving as an adjudicator for a Guinness event and actually breaking a record myself.