From the latin, barba, meaning beard, the humble barber was relegated to the back streets in the noughties by our metrosexual surge to embrace our feminine side and the more ‘directional’ hairdresser. The stripey barber’s pole was replaced with smooth-as-a-baby’s-bum manscaping and too much hair product in our quest for modernity.
Left - Pankhurst London's Bentley Barber Chairs
Now, the tide has turned. The return of sharp and defined men’s hairstyles and the fashion for full beards, that require the skilled hands of the barbershop, has meant a whole raft of new openings to fulfill this new demand.
Hannah Wilcox, Director and Founder of the British Barbers Associations says “Men are walking out of the unisex, sometimes more feminine environment, of hairdressers and are walking into the barbers. They are beginning to understand that barbers have very different techniques to hairdressers to create the styles in fashion at this current time.”
Yearly events like Movember have made men think more about facial hair and the different looks they can create with it. Moustaches and beards have become a style cliché that doesn’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon. The fashion for facial hair has also pushed the reintroduction of more classic and masculine haircuts. These tightly cropped or shaved styles require more maintenance and only truly look good when freshly cut.
“Where hairdressers promote a cut every 6-8 weeks, barbers suggest every month, to maintain the shape and style of the haircut. The cost in a hairdresser's is normally a lot greater and also more time consuming and restricted to an appointment system, where as the barber shop is a lot more free flowing for those running shorter on time.” says Wilcox.
The return of the barbershop sees the end of our dalliance with the feminine and our rediscovery of traditionally groomed masculinity. When the barbershop is good there is nobody better. Here is TheChicGeek’s picks of the new openings;
Aveda Pop-Up Barbershop - Holborn
To celebrate London Collections: Men, the Aveda Institute in Holborn is launching a pop-up barbershop. Discover a haven of gentlemanly calm amid the hustle and bustle of Men’s Fashion Week. It is open to everybody. Treatments include haircuts, wet shaves and facials.
Date: Saturday 15th June – Tuesday 18th June 2013 Time: 9.30am – 5.30pm Location: The Aveda Institute Covent Garden, 174-177 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7AA
Pankhurst London - Soho
Pankhurst London have moved to a new home on Soho’s Newburgh Street, just off Carnaby Street. The Pankhurst team offers modern cuts and traditional wet shaves in an environment as elegant as the bay rum and lime scent of their eponymous products.
Right - Pankhurst London's Mad Men style Johnnie Walker whisky waiting room
Sit back on the custom-made Bentley Mulliner leather barbers’ chairs or relax in the Johnnie Walker Blue Label lounge. Meticulously designed by owner Brent Pankhurst, who previously worked as the barber at Alfred Dunhill, the new shop is a Mad Men style male sanctuary in Soho.
Pankhurst London barbershop, 10 Newburgh Street, London, W1F 7RN
Genco Male Grooming – Notting Hill
The Portobello Road salon is the 3rd Genco salon - the first is in Chiswick, the second is a concession in the CityPoint spa in Moorgate. Their approach is pretty simple. They hire really good staff, pay them well, inspire them and give them a good working environment. They then put them through a training course to sharpen up their traditional barbering skills - for example they are taught how to do fades using clippers properly, and they work hard to get their finishing skills up to precise standards. They then teach them how to do traditional shaves and beard trims.
Genco Male Grooming, 280 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London W10 5TE
Ted’s Grooming Room – Marylebone
The fifth of Ted Baker’s Ted’s Grooming Rooms, the Marylebone branch offers everything from a quick beard trim to ‘Ted’s Full Service’ using their own range of grooming and styling products. They also offer a Turkish shave which involves a mini flame thrower to get rid of those niggly hairs in your ears and nose.
Mr Rizzo – Covent Garden
Named after Signor Agnello Rizzo, a humble Italian whose adventurous trip to England back in the early 1940’s found him always immaculately dressed in Savile Row tailored suits and slick hair and moustache. He soon became known in London for his flare, charisma, and inimitable style – many say he became Italy’s first ever English gent, always addressed as Mr Rizzo rather than by his first name.
The team behind Mr Rizzo seek to reinterpret male grooming for the modern gentleman by championing classic British style with timeless Italian flare and creative design. The minimalistic salon design and spacious surroundings are complimented with finest Italian ceramic flooring, traditional British walnut grooming stations and dark leather upholstery. They offer everything from a tailored haircut to an invigorating hot towel shave.
4 Upper St Martins Lane, London
Sharps Barber – Fitzrovia
Under the mantra ‘Maintenance Matters’, Sharps Barber’s trademark is their vintage barber chairs, retro design and high-quality services, whilst at the same time serving barista-grade coffee. They even featured a New York style pop-up food residency last month.
Offering a relaxed environment with premium services at accessible prices, Sharps continues to provide an alternative to unisex hairdressers and budget ‘chop-shops’ under the watchful eye of Rory MacParland, a.k.a. Mister Sharps.
For quiffs, moustaches, flat tops and beards, short, long, curly or no hair at all, the Sharps Barbers have the skill and experience for any guy’s taste or style. Sharps Barber and Shop’s services include - Wash, Cut & Style, Beard & Moustache Trim, and the renowned “Sharps Shave”- a traditional 45-minute 3-hot towel 2-direction straight razor shave, guaranteed to leave any man feeling prepped and looking sharp.
9 Windmill Street, W1T 2JF
Lacoste L.12.12 Noir
The latest addition to the L.12.12 range of fragrances named after the famous Lacoste polo shirt. Noir is a woody aromatic said to be inspired by the intensity of warm summer evenings and the timeless elegance of the above polo shirt. A classic fougere fragrance containing top notes of watermelon and Egyptian basil along with a heart of lavender and verbena. A dark chocolate accord along with cashmeran, coumarin and patchouli are revealed in the base.
This fragrance features a patented new technology – Cyclodextrin – an innovative molecule which encapsulates the fragrance ingredients and reactivates them when it comes into contact with moisture on the skin.
TheChicGeek says “This is surprisingly good. The fragrance has an attractive warmth that is mellow and refreshing at the same time. This is one of those fragrances that men will enjoy wearing. While there is nothing revolutionary here, it is a good example of a mass produced fougere fragrance.”
Best For – Young, Sporty Dad
Lacoste L.12.12 Noir - 100ml - £47
Uomo by Ermengildo Zegna
Developed by Spanish perfumer Alberto Morillas, Ermengildo Zegna’s new Uomo fragrance combines classic ‘Zegna Bergamot’ – grown at the label's grove in Calabria - grassy vetiver and cedarwood with a shot of violettyne captive - an intense violet extract.
TheChicGeek says “This is a fresh, citrus fragrance with just a hint of the violet. The initial, top hit of fragrance is really clean and slightly addictive while the dry down does disappoint to a mediocre vetiver/woody base.”
Best For – Dapper Dad
Uomo by Ermengildo Zegna - 100ml - £60 - Exclusive at Boots
Salvatore Ferragamo Acqua Essenziale
Inspired one of the four elements – water – Acqua Essenziale contains notes of mint and lemon tree leaf along with heart notes of geranium, rosemary and cascalone – a molecular aquatic note. The base of patchouli and vetiver, alongside Helveltolide – a new floral musk. The nose again is Alberto Morillas.
TheChicGeek says “This has a unusual but attractive synthetic smell. The cooling of the mint and cascalone is there, along with warmth of lavender. It’s pleasant and masculine and a definite reminder of water, but I think a fragrance needs a little more personality if it is to standout in today’s crowded marketplace.”
Best For –Holiday Dad
Salvatore Ferragamo Acqua Essenziale – 100ml - £58
DSquared2 – Potion For Man Blue Cadet
A follow-up to the original Potion by fashion duo DSquared2, Blue Cadet is an aromatic, woody fragrance with key notes of bergamot, mandarin, pine, blue hemlock, cedarwood and musk. Created by perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui.
TheChicGeek says “This has a cooling metallic smell whose woody and fresh heart of pine leaves and various other forest ingredients are lifted by the citrus top.”
Best For – Gay Dad!
DSquared2 – Potion For Man Blue Cadet – 100ml - £54
Aramis Perfume Calligraphy Rose
Aramis’ new Perfume Calligraphy Rose is the latest in a collection focused on Harrod’s Middle Eastern customer. Containing intoxicating rose absolute, this is an ingredient which isn’t as feminine as you would first think – Click here
The fragrance opens with golden accents of saffron, combined with wet honeysuckle petals, energized by the modern freshness of oregano leaves. To reveal the wild beauty of the Turkish rose absolute, the luxurious heart develops captivating vapors of myrrh and styrax, contrasted with a layer of French lavender. The background creates an aura of mystery and irresistible seduction: a soft hypnotic veil of labdanum and musk is combined with the tantalising power of ambergris and olibanum to create a delightful trail of undeniable magnetism.
TheChicGeek says “This isn’t for shrinking violets, nor is it too overpowering that it’s unwearable. We’re seeing more and more of these style of fragrances, so it will be interesting to see whether it makes it into the mainstream. For those who like something a bit exotic and rich, this should do the trick.”
Best For – Exotic Dad
Aramis Calligraphy Rose - 100ml - £115 - Exclusive to Harrods
Bulgari MAN Extreme
Bulgari MAN Extreme is an update of the original Bulgari MAN fragrance. It is a fragrance that melds Mediterranean freshness, a heady woodiness and an oriental touch, said to evoke Rome’s vitality and strength, according to the blurb.
An aroma of vegetal and zesty top notes such as pink grapefruit, Calabrian bergamot and cactus pulp that create a tingling olfactory experience, one that bursts with energy. At the heart, a distinctive floral masculine vibe released by a fusion of white freesia, Guatemalan cardamom and vegetal amber, accented by a luminous trail of reassuring earthy notes such as balsa wood, Haitian vetiver and Laotian benzoin that add an oriental warmth and radiance to this special scent.
Another one produced by perfumer Alberto Morillas, he says “At the heart of this is cardamom, which I personally watched grow, and that gives the fragrance a white, immaculate, and very masculine dimension. When integrated into the fragrance it instantly evokes the openness of a landscape that stretches out into infinity. Masculinity requires a slightly ambiguous strength so we chose freesia because of its freshness, unconventional appeal and the immediate clarity it brings. The challenge of this fragrance was to find a new freshness in this quintessential Bulgari signature”.
TheChicGeeks says “The floral here has a cold freshness which lends itself towards the masculine. Thumbs up Roman Emperor style for this one.”
Best For – Gladiator Dad
Bulgari MAN Extreme - 100ml - £60.00
Yves Saint Laurent – L’Homme Libre – Cologne Tonic
This is limited-edition, woody-aromatic fragrance, created by Olivier Polge, opens with sparkling notes of Primofiori lemon, carried on an aquatic wave spiced with a shiver of pink pepper. The heart contains violet Leaves and aromatic basil. The heady, woody imprint of L’Homme Libre is a subtle alliance of Haitian vetiver and leather, highlighted by the clarity of Cashmeran wood and immaculate musks.
TheChicGeek says “This has a lovely refreshing greenness. The violet heart is softly mellowed on the dry-down to warm leather and vetiver. A very easy fragrance to wear.”
Best For – Everyday Dad
Yves Saint Laurent – L’Homme Libre – Cologne Tonic – 60ml - £35 - Exclusive at Boots
The MTherapy Beauty system is said to combat the signs of aging by rejuvenating and regenerating the skin through the use of non-invasive nourishing technology. Breaking the indoctrination of beauty treatments requiring 2-hour pre-booked salon sessions to receive results, MTherapy can be used at home.
Inspired by Mesotherapy, the simple 2 minute treatment feeds multi-skin care ingredients into the skin through the use of controlled vapour. The process, following six years of research and clinical trials in Paris has proven to dramatically reduce the signs of aging after only a few sessions. This is a major advantage compared to most creams and serums because the steam enhances the penetration of the ingredients.
Aimed at people - 30 years upwards, the MTherapy anti-aging technology aims to refine enlarged pores, decrease lines and wrinkles and bring a new radiance to the face whilst naturally ‘plumping’ it up. With visable changes even after the first use, to gain the best results, users are encouraged to use podlets twice a week for four weeks, reducing to once a week for around another ten weeks. To maintain results the pod should then be used intermittently with frequency varying according to the individual.
Simon Luel, Chairman of the MTherapy Group, says “We’re extremely excited about the launch of MTherapy. The treatment suggests the beauty industry is moving in a new direction. It's a spa like treatment that can be used repeatedly at home to achieve great results. Our research and clinical trials have been so positive that we have decided to fully guarantee the results after four weeks of use.”
How it works - The MTherapy Beauty Pod’s programmed cycle first releases natural ingredients designed to prepare the skin, cleansing it and temporarily opening pores. This is a mixture containing active organic antiseptic properties, which includes lavender, camphor and tea tree oils renowned for their cleansing and repairing qualities. Added are extracts of helichrysum, useful in the fight against aging and also copper and zinc, known for their renewing and healing effects.
- With the skin prepared; the Beauty Pod and Podlet then deliver the key elements of the treatment. This is a compound rich in anti-ageing ingredients which include multivitamins, minerals, plants essential oils, spirulina, arnica calendula and lilium candidum alongside hyaluronic acid.
Two minutes after the start, the pleasant soft vapour clears, the machine starts to clean itself and you are free to go about your day.
Research carried out by Laboratories Lysedia, Paris, independently verified and published showed 71% of people noticed an excellent result in skin brightness and 57% noticed a good to excellent result in skin's hydration, tensor effect, wrinkle size, pore size, skin texture amd sebum.
TheChicGeek says "This machine is really simple to use. Plug-in, fix the clear funnel on to the front and then place one of the pods into the bottom of the machine. The machine pierces the holes in the pods. The light turns from red to blue as it is heating up. You place your face near the end of the funnel and receive the two treatments of steam. The whole thing is really quick and lasts about 2 mins.
"The first burst of steam cleans the face and opens the pores, while the second delivers the treatment. This form of treatment makes sense and it definitely feels like it works. Your skin feels healthier from the inside, if that makes sense? It feels fresh and cleansed. The steam smells of essential oils and isn't an unpleasant experience. The only negative I have is the cost. I can understand the price of the machine, but 4 pods for £60, makes that 2 min. treatment cost £15. Which for a home treatment is fairly steep. I think for this to work, you have to compare it with spa prices and also the convenience it offers by doing it in your own home."
The Pod steamer is sold with a pack of 4 podlet treatments for £269.
Each box of 4 podlets will be sold for £60. With a buy three get the fourth free, launch offer.
Just down a narrow alleyway, off Mayfair's fashionable Dover Street is the Illuminum Fragrance Lounge. This quiet, minimal interior is home to Illuminum's range of 32 original fragrances. On your Illuminum fragrance experience you will be presented with a selection of glasses, each of which are infused with different Illuminum fragrance.
Left - Inside the lounge
This is a fantastic way to discover a scent as the amount of molecules is not as high as on freshly scented blotters which could easily overpower your very delicate sense of smell. The base note of a fragrance emerges on our skin after a few hours and is a note of the scent which lasts the longest.
The fragrances are split in 4 groups; Citrus, Oud, Musk and Floral. If you let the sales person know what type you prefer, they will bring over a selection for you to try. You can walk in, but it's best to book. Give yourself an hour for something you will wear, hopefully, forever.
Right - The fragrance are sprayed on to blotters inside brandy glasses and then you smell the heart and base notes inside the glass
TheChicGeek says "There is something to be said about being away from the noise and rush of the department store or perfume shop when choosing a fragrance. You need to concentrate without distraction. When I first heard about the Illuminum Lounge I thought it was somewhere where you created your own fragrance. This can be an extremely overwhelming task and you can end with something of a dog's dinner of a scent. So, it makes sense that all the scents here are full formed by experts and you are given the time and space to select. Made in Walthamstow, Illuminum's scents use quality ingredients and for the sizes, the prices aren't ridiculous.
The Beethoven is playing, you're in a minimal, Kelly Hoppen-type interior, so it has something the Clockwork Oranges about it all. But, this is part of the fun, enjoy it. It can seem daunting at first and you may feel you're under pressure to be clever, but go on gut instinct, and just choose what you like.
The Vaporizer collection contains 15% perfume and the Haute range contains 30%, the fragrance will change over time, so it's good not to rush. When you start to narrow the selection down, you then spray on your skin. Then hopefully, after that, you'll know what you like and that's your selection. I went for the Black Oud, which changed to a dry down smelling to me like rosewater. It was interesting because I wouldn't usually wear an Oud fragrance. But, like everything, we should always be openminded."
Left - What would Anthony Burgess pick? More Illuminum scents on display
Illuminum - Vaporizer Collection - 50ml - £70, Haute Perfume - 100ml - £150, Limited - 100ml - £400