A trip to Huckle the Barber – Old Street’s premier temple of gentlemen’s hairdressing – promises hot towels, excellent advice and, of course, cool vibes. Director Chris Ward tells us about architects, hair trends and how bearding up is a lifestyle choice.
In the 10 months you’ve been open have you seen a rise in the amount of guys coming in for a premium facial hair experience?
Absolutely, but it’s been happening for four or five years. Gents are starting to look after themselves a lot more, especially in this affluent area. There’s been a of lot sharper, cleaner haircuts recently. People don’t always want the barber shop conveyer-belt so we take our time over things. We have a consultation like you would do in a women’s hairdressers. We’re a midpoint between a barber’s and a salon. We do other stuff that’s more premium too, like giving out craft beers from local breweries [right now it’s Redchurch]. Every single client has a hot towel whatever service they’re getting. We also change our artists gallery every six weeks and we do music sessions with local bands. They come in and get their hair cut before they play.
Wow, you seem busy. Sounds like you’re running a lifestyle brand!
We’re trying to bring back that local barber shop feel. The barber’s shop used to be a communal place for gents to come in and have a chat in a relaxed atmosphere. We also have comedy nights to try rekindle that.
What kind of men come in for beard pampering?
We get all sorts! Architects, lawyers, accountants, musicians, actors, models and people in advertising and media. Anything goes, it’s no longer a trend thing. It’s something that people from all walks of life are doing. You get the lead singer of a band walking in and wanting the same haircut as the architect that just walked out.
What’s popular with your clients right now?
With beards, I think bigger the better at the moment. A lot of the trendy guys are going as big as possible. The short, sharp look is also big. The Mad Men thing – grade 1, with a weight line – is very popular.
What are your tips and tricks for Bearded London readers?
Your beard really needs a trim every two weeks! The rule of thumb is don’t trim above the adam’s apple. Keep it clean underneath the neckline and on the sides. Don’t let any fluffy bits come out. Condition your beard with a conditioner or oil. You always know when you need a beard trim when the hair comes over the top lip and you can give it a chew. And remember, you can have a big beard but it doesn’t have to look scruffy.
Peraso Pre Shaving Cream, £10
“Good for softening the beard and excellent for after shaving too. Smells a little like Vicks but it’s very nice!”
Baxter of California Super Close Shave Formula, £16
“Baxter is our luxury range – they made the first SPF moisturiser for men in the sixties. It was for all the surfers in California.”
Beard oil by the Nomad Barber, £20
“The Nomad Barber is currently travelling the world, on no money at all, cutting hair, raising money and writing a blog. ”
All products available in Huckle the Barber, Old Street, London.
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