In recent decades, beard care has become a key business for Middle Eastern hairdressers in the Western world. Old-fashioned barbers had long ago fallen out of fashion, shunned by customers in favour of electric razors. That’s in contrast to the Arab world, where the barbershop has for generations been a meeting point for men of all ages.
It’s one of the trends of recent years: among men in the West, wearing a beard is cool again. As the beard has become something of a status symbol, barbershops are celebrating by reviving almost forgotten techniques in hair care, and the best bit? In these nostalgic salons, men can still be men.
Now, new barbershops are springing up every week in the world’s capital cities, basing themselves on old-school salons with marble basins and antique leather chairs. Perfect examples are Freemans Sporting Club Barber in New YorkCity and Barber and Parlour in Londons trendy Shoreditch. After all, every good or aspiring hipster needs somewhere where they can keep their hair in shape. The rising number of customers is something of a success story for the hairdressing industry.
These barbershops are about more than just a good haircut and a quick shave, however. For men, they are places of aspiration. It’s all about the overall experience: the sensation of piping hot towels, for example, which open up the pores to make shaving gentler on the skin. Or a deep skin massage, or the painstaking oiling-up of the beard hairs, or the classic: a professional shave with a naked blade.
Nicole Wheadon was one of the first in Germany to recognise this trend and opened up a traditional, retro-feel barbershop on the ground floor of her Berlin beauty concept store, Wheadon.
The initial idea was to make a perfumery which would be just as inviting for men as it is for women. The result was a beauty concept store offering the full range of contemporary services: a quick spa, an old-school barber and a shop offering high-quality products, manufactured cleanly and fairly by small and medium-sized companies. So her store is also the first address in Berlin to buy high quality beard care products. New Companies like Berlin based OAK offer forgotten essentials like a classc beardwash or a beardbrush to groom yourself in perfection.
The concept works because men have discovered a passion for cleaning, creaming and preening without fear of losing their masculinity. After all, the beard is the accessoire du jour and more and more gentlemen are dedicating themselves to the task of keeping theirs in good shape.
Our shoot with actor Steve Devonas proofs, how cool and sensual a treatment at a barber shop nowadays can be. So much more than just a quick shave….
Special thanks to Wheadon Berlin, Steinstr. 17, 10119 Berlin.