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Lindsay Harrison
December 04, 2020

A Bloke's Day Out - Barbershop Closeup

 

Ryman Style Series - 01 - The Barber Experience - Personal Grooming Just For the Blokes

 

Bevis was recently treated to a bloke’s day out by Ryman. A resident at Ryman’s Anthony Wilding Village, in Christchurch, New Zealand. Bevis rolled up his sleeves and welcomed the new experience. Judging by the video of his time at the barbershop, Bevis had a fantastic day out!

 

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A 'grooming WOF'

 

Khol is a barber at The Barber Lounge in Christchurch, New Zealand – and a good one at that. It takes more than just hair cutting and beard trimming knowledge to be a barber. Interestingly, caring about people is right at the top of the list. Anticipating customer needs and helping blokes to feel calm and relaxed while they’re sitting in your chair is just as important as cutting and trimming.

 

“We love people in general, just making them feel good”. - Kohl Izaha, The Barber Lounge

 

Kohl knows that the blokes sitting in his chair are there for some time out, and his service doesn’t disappoint. As Bevis said while settling into a classic barber chair that was upholstered in leather and far too comfortable, “Oh, I’ll go to sleep, too!”.

 

Beyond the leather and luxuries you’ll find at a barbershop, they’re places where men enjoy spending time and ‘hanging out’. Places where barbers and customers can tell yarns, trade banter, and have a good laugh. Barbershops like The Barber Lounge offer a release from the day to day in a space where everyone’s your mate. Often, they’re decorated with wood, leather, and other rustic materials and the attention to detail extends to the tools that the barbers use. Some have basketball courts in their vicinity, others have sport games playing on screens positioned for easy viewing, and many offer a beer for their patrons to enjoy while undergoing their ‘grooming WOF’.

 

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A hot towel


Lulled by the gentle squeak of his leather barber chair, Bevis nearly melted when wrapped in a hot towel with bay rum oil. Its traditional scent filled the room and took many of the patrons back to early barbershop days when barbershops where the norm and bay rum oil was a regular part of the male grooming experience.

 

“We always use the bay rum first. It’s a fragrance that a lot of old school barbers used to implement in their work.” – Kohl Izaha, The Barber Lounge


As Bevis and Kohl yarned about this and that, Kohl got to work giving Bevis a ‘grooming WOF’. Bevis sat back and relaxed as Kohl trimmed, shaved, and gave him a spruce up from head to neck. Incredibly, Bevis didn’t fall asleep, although he wouldn’t have been the first! Especially when wrapped in a calming hot towel, infused with soothing and spicy bay rum oil.

 

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A common reason why men frequent barbershops is for the expertise. Barbers are specialists in men’s hair. While hairdressers are trained in all hair types and styles, barbers tend to specialise in a select range of traditional and modern men’s hairstyles that they do extremely well. Some modern barbers employ artistic flourish when it comes to hair cutting and styling. They can be seen experimenting with creative styles for customers who request them, using their clippers like a paintbrush to carve designs and shapes. But don’t worry, this level of haircut is only provided on request!

 

The benefit of dealing with expert professionals like barbers is that they’ve seen it all. Your barber will be able to talk about different cuts and styles and recommend which would suit you. Hair, beard, or moustache – they have the ability to assess your hair type, head shape, and face shape, then recommend the best option for you. And if you already know what you want, they’re sure to give a first-rate cut courtesy of their in-depth knowledge of men’s hairstyles.

 

But as Bevis discovered, barbershops don’t stop there. In addition to enjoying a haircut from someone knowledgeable in men’s hair, barbershop customers can enjoy a beard trim, moustache trim, scalp massage, and a hot towel treatment. And, of course, the legendary hallmark of a barbershop. A hot lather shave. Yes, like in the movies! A clean shave is achieved by the barber using a straight razor, taking their time to deliver a sharp, close shave. There’s no better finish to a barbershop visit. 

 

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A brief history 


All hairdressers used to be barbers until cosmetology branched off from barbering. Now, hairdressers can be barbers or cosmetologists (hairdressers). Modern barbers tend to specialise only in men’s hairstyles as well as beard and moustache trimming and face shaving.

 

Barbershops have been around for some time. Razors have been found among relics of the Bronze Age (around 3500 BC) in Egypt while barbering services were first performed by Egyptians in 5000 BC with tools made from oyster shells and sharpened flint. At the time, barbers were highly respected individuals and were often priests and medical practitioners.

 

Ever since the practice evolved to feature barbershops – notably in Ancient Greece – they have been destinations for debate, gossip, relaxation, and banter. In modern times, barbershops often look beyond their haircare services to also focus on the wellness of their customers. It’s common for mental health initiatives to take place in modern barbershops with a focus on sharing, talking, and feeling a sense of belonging. They’re fast becoming places where men can bond with other men and openly air their problems, all while sharing a joke and having a laugh.

 

Walk the talk

 

To help you understand what’s on offer at a barbershop, here’s a list of barbershop services and their definitions.

 

Barber: A person whose business is cutting and dressing hair, shaving and trimming beards and moustaches, and providing related services.

 

Barbershop: A place where men go to get their hair cut and beards and moustaches trimmed or shaved.

 

Bay rum oil: A masculine essential oil fragrance featuring bay leaves, clove, allspice, pine, and hints of crushed orange. Originally, sailors rubbed bay leaves on their skin to ward off unwanted odour!

 

Barber’s pole: The iconic red, white, and blue poles you will see outside barbershops hark back to when barbers used to perform medical procedures. The white represents bandages, the red is blood, and the blue stripes represent veins.

 

Common hairstyle terminology

 

Tapered neck: The hairline is faded into the neck which allows the hair to keep its shape. This is a natural finish.

 

Clipper cut: An all-over cut using the same number clipper guard.

 

Short back and sides: The back and sides are cut short with clippers while the top is left longer.

 

Fade: A longer clipper guard on top that gets shorter down the sides, fading into the skin.

 

Textured: The hair is cut to different lengths to create lift with a choppy finish.

 
Thinned out: This is a method for reducing the bulk from the hair using various techniques with scissors.

 

Razored: A razor is used to reduce the bulk from the hair whilst keeping the length.

 

Of course, if you’re not sure how to ask for what you want, simply show the barber a photo of the style you’re after. They’ll know exactly what they need to do to achieve it.

 

Now that you know what to expect, don’t hesitate to embark on a bloke’s day out of your own. Bevis highly recommends that experience. Simply head off to your local barbershop for a ‘grooming WOF’ – and take a mate for an extra laugh. The barbers will be ready to give you a tidy up and trade some entertaining yarns to boot!

 
Special thanks to barber Kohl Izaha, The Barber Lounge, and our perfectly trimmed resident, Bevis.

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