Barbershops: The Spa for Dudes

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

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It sounds crazy, but my nail salon is always full of men. I can’t quite figure it out; do I live in some futuristic bubble where guys have finally realized its OK to get their eyebrows waxed and nails buffed? I’m all for the grooming. But even better? The growth of traditional straight shaves and barbershops that cater to an elevated class of men.

I recently accompanied my boyfriend to this first straight shave at NYC’s Neighborhood Cut and Shave, a Greenwich Village staple for guys that come in looking scrappy and leave looking dapper. I was interested to see the culture of the shop from the inside and see how it compared to the culture of female haute hair boutiques like Dream Dry. Did they gossip? Discuss the merits of Malin + Goetz face moisturizer? Smoke cigars while someone trimmed their eyebrows? Fact: I saw a man get his eyebrows trimmed. I also saw a ‘manly man’ profusely thank his barber for being so accommodating to his specific hair requests. It was weird. At the same time, it was just like female-only hair spots. Only there was whiskey. (Jealous!)

Shops like Esquires of Wall Street and Truman’s have been polishing up the men of New York for years, but growing interest from younger generations in the old-fashioned grooming style has helped keep the shops open–and produce a market for new ones.

HARRY’s, a razor company started by one of the co-founder’s of hipster eyeglass company Warby Parker, (and developed in partial response to Millenials’ interest in pricey places like The Art of Shaving) opened Harry’s Corner Shop in late October 2013. Guys can stop in for a cut and shave, pick up HARRY’s products, or stock up on essentials like Hanes Tees and Public Supply notebooks.

The latest barbershop in town is going straight to wear men gravitate, with a trusted name to back it. GQ has partnered with Fellow Barber and Barclay’s Center (home of the Brooklyn Nets) to open a pop-up barbershop, officially open for business this Friday. The partnership is just another example of brand extensions going on in the magazine world, and shows that style and class are not going anywhere anytime soon, even if suits are a thing of the past.

Photo Credit: New York Daily News

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