Barber shop tips, culture and resources

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Tips to maintain sick hair:

-Find your don barber
-Save their phone number
-Go to them bi-weekly
-Never go anywhere else until they leave

I can’t tell you how much I used to hate going to the barber as a kid. Bi-weekly (or monthly) trips to the barber shop on Coral Way and 90-something ave next to the Subway and spanish CD store. Not only would I have to wake up early as hell on a Saturday, but I’d have to stay waiting in line with tons of Spanish-speaking old guys talking about the Marlins, Yankees and/or los singaos from next door. (these days that doesn’t sound as intolerable as it did at that age)

Not to mention, my haircut range was limited to a “One and zero” or a “three and two”. I was young and hadn’t explored what I could do with my hair and these viejitos weren’t exactly the best at fades. So most of my childhood was spent with very unsatisfied hair cuts.

cuban-barbershop

And 10-year-old me, in general, did not appreciate any of this at all. And, given the choice of going back to that spot, I’d still go with my current shop.

So why at 25-years-old do I absolutely love/need to go to the barber shop on a regular basis? For the first time in my life, I actually really dig getting a shape-up or skin fade.

luke-newman-and-steve-purcell-of-uppercut-deluxe-talk-about-the-grooming-culture-and-style-in-australia-1

There’s been an unspoken renaissance in dorky dudes like me, who used to care less about how they looked, and actually started giving a damn about how they presented themselves in public. I have natural curly, borderline-nappy hair. And in my college phase, I could give two shits about how my hair looked… so naturally I let it grow to stupid heights. (If I stretched my front curls down, it would reach my nose tip, at one point… think At The Drive-In as a visual reference).

At_the_Drive-In

But at some point in the last three years, I’d see guys with my hair doing some interesting cuts. Pomps, flat-tops (not Kid n play, but more like a modest Norris Cole), high fades (which I’ve hated since I was a kid). I’d see these guys flexing cuts like this, and I think to myself… damn how tight would it be to flip the script on everyone’s notion of what my hair looks like, and just get something anti-Ryan. A real proper-looking haircut that embraces how I’ve always thought men’s hair should look like, but always avoided because “whatever, dude”.

I think this evolution had a lot to do with my trip to London last year. It exposed me to so many different hairstyles, all very manageable given my nappiness.

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These above being the most impressionable of all.

I don’t think I was the only one who got into getting haircuts either. The barber shop I go to has dudes my age from all subcultures waiting in line, shooting the shit just like those viejitos from the barber shop I went to as a kid.

Videos like this one below pop up on Hypebeast and I Am Other.

I’m getting real selective about what pomades I like (Suavecito always, for the smell alone. Lay-Rite is cool, too). There’s really no explanation for why I’m so into getting my haircut, and the barber shop culture. For a good year, I was visiting the shop on a weekly basis… as opposed to years before where it would be twice in one year.

I’ve got my barber’s number (actually multiple) saved on my phone.

photo-essay-west-african-barbershops-3

I don’t know how to explain it… sometimes it’s best to leave the analysis at the door and just sit down, and join the conversation. Don’t think twice about it… barber shops aren’t to be analyzed, especially since it’s always been a very organic experience among men (and women, too). It is what it is. As long as you’re looking good, who cares.

Also here are some cool barber shop/grooming links & resources:

A photo essay of West African barber shops
Suavecito pomade
Uppercut Deluxe
My barber’s t-shirts (shouts to Hamlet and the NY Barber shop crew)
LayRite pomade

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