Male grooming is on the up and us Brits are jumping on board the barbershop bandwagon, spurred on by immaculately turned-out red carpet regulars such as Bradley Cooper, Daniel Craig and Christian Bale. A recent study shows that more than half of males admit they’re vainer than ever before, whilst a staggering three in four men say their early morning grooming routine has doubled in length in the past decade.
In the last ten years the male grooming industry has exploded from a handful of fledgling businesses in London - fruitlessly attempting to persuade men to take more care with their appearance - to a multi-million pound industry responsible for an abundance of male-only grooming products, along with barbershops and salons adorning towns and cities throughout Britain.
The rise of the barbershop is arguably the most exciting aspect of the flourishing grooming business . Gone are the days of awkward, mundane chit-chat, leaving the barber’s chair with an itchy neck and going home with the same short back and sides as the rest of the town, regardless of what you asked for. The modern-day salon is a Mecca for men, a gentlemen’s club where you can relax, have meaningful conversations and detach yourself from the hustle and bustle of life in a world dictated by time, mobile phones and business meetings. To top off the whole experience, you’ll depart a new man with a dashing haircut, smooth cut-throat shave or perfectly shaped beard and moustache.
With this in mind, we thought we’d share some of the finest grooming establishments Britain has to offer. If you've never experienced the delights of the new-age barbershop, take some time to visit one of these havens and join an ever-increasing number of well-groomed, dapper gentlemen.
Edinburgh & London
Priding themselves on expert barbering, the award-winning Ruffians delivers super-stylish cuts, proper shaves and an outstanding experience. Upon entry, you’ll be greeted with a dram of whisky or fresh coffee and given some time to take in the bespoke interior of Scottish oak cutting desks and Belfast sinks whilst browsing an iPad by the fire. Once suitably relaxed, you’ll be seated and, depending on your chosen service, go through a consultation with a skilled professional who’ll listen, guide and work his magic to ensure you will leave happy.
Offering haircuts, cut-throat razor shaves, moustache trims and beard tidies - as well as a whole host of own-brand products - in their Edinburgh and Covent Garden locations, we’re sure your first visit to Ruffians will not be your last.
‘Ruffians earns top marks across the board’ – New York Times Style Magazine
London (Shoreditch, Soho, Covent Garden, Spitalfields & Sloan Street)
Establishing its first barbershop in London’s creative hub of Shoreditch, Murdock has flourished into a vast grooming empire with no less than six boutique salons in England’s capital. Not resting on its laurels, the now iconic Murdock has produced an expertly crafted range of products for your hair, beard, moustache and face which are available from stockists around the world - a true testament to the quality of their own creations and, as a huge advocate of the Murdock Beard Moisturiser, I can't disagree.
Intent on reworking the masculine luxury of the city’s Victorian barbershops, Murdock creates a sanctuary for gentlemen to discover their dapper potential with the help of highly skilled and knowledgeable artists based in a rugged, manly environment. Whilst supping on a whisky or craft beer, you can choose from a number of luxurious services and treatments. However, if you want our advice, we would urge you try out one of the traditional wet shaves, featuring exfoliation, pre-shave almond, bergamot and orange oil and hot towels. A truly relaxing experience with remarkable results.
Savills Barbers – Sheffield
Attracting businessmen, tattooed greasers and everyone in between, the award-winning Savills Barbers aims to preserve the ago-old craft of traditional barbering by mixing techniques that have been handed down through generations with an added, contemporary bite. Owned by the moustached - and not to mention exceptionally dapper - Joth Davies, Savills’ interior oozes Americana-chic with its antique hot lather machine, National cash register and a century-old Theo A Kochs porcelain barbers chair.
With a range of walk-in treatments – along with appointments with the Master Barber – your Savills experience will start with a friendly consultation to decipher exactly what you want. If the skilled stylist does not think this would suit your face shape or hair type, they’ll be sure to let you know and work with you to create something that will work just as well, ensuring you will depart looking sharp and feeling a million bucks.
Close Male Grooming
Manchester (Northern Quarter, Chorlton & Whitworth Street)
Now with three shops around Manchester, Close claims the title of the first truly bespoke male grooming experience in the city. Created by Alex Shore after an inspirational trip to Australia, Close Male Grooming specialises in luxury haircuts, hair colouring, traditional cut-throat shave, facials and Indian head massages for the discerning, cosmopolitan gentleman.
Spotting a gap in the Manchester market and keen to take advantage of the metrosexual boom, Close also offers a range of clinic treatments from peels to facials and manicures to waxing. These treatments, coupled with a dashing new haircut, shave or beard trim, provide a totally unique experience in a northern city steadily embracing the male grooming culture.
(Written by Lewis Cook)