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The Origins of Barbershop Etiquette

Back in the old days, barbershops were the most integral part of men’s grooming. After all, why wouldn’t they be, when they provided men with the most important services. The traditional barbershops had the typical environment with the red and white stripped pillar outside, teakwood interiors, wooden chairs, and the well-trained barbers who expertise their work.

The original concept of the barbershop was essentially born in the Egyptian era. In those times, barbers were known as the barber-surgeons and had to deal with numerous tasks like tooth extractions, blood-letting, drainage of pustules, nail-cutting and other minor surgical operations apart from their regular hair-cutting and shaving jobs. Not just the medical needs, these shops were important places for political issues as well. As time passed by, people thought of freedom and democracy, and these shops became the site for exchange of the moral thoughts. Especially in the Black Society, these shops were places where many political meetings were held because most men visited these shops often. The barbershops hence become a part of freedom history of many countries.

It was after the Gillette Company was set-up in 1901 that these barbershops started declining. During the World War I, the soldiers were given packs of the self-use double-edged razors by this company as they didn’t have access to the barbershops during the wars. Later on, even after the war came to an end, the soldiers preferred using these razors rather than visiting the barbershops regularly. Also in the post-war period, massive poverty struck all parts of the world and there was no room for men grooming. Those who preferred grooming chose the Gillette Blades that were cheaper than their visits to the barbershop. Owing to these reasons, barbershops declined over the years on a large scale. As these shops dwindled, the scope for the traditional and trained men grooming also reduced.

1904-gillette-safety-razorFrom the year of 1992 to 2012, there was approximately 23% decline in the barbershops. In the recent years, Salons have come up which claim to provide men more pampered care than the small barbershops. That doesn’t make sense, as men don’t need such kind of pampering. These salons have cosmeticians, not barbers. Cosmeticians are not well trained in men grooming. They do not know the art of using clippers and single-edged razors. Clippers and single-edged razors are key parts in men grooming. Cosmeticians use the regular scissors that are generally used for women hair. This is the reason why hair-cuts from salons lose their shape in just two weeks. A skilled barber knows only a few men hairstyles but he masters their hair like a trainer taming a lion. He gives your hair the perfect shape using Clippers that prevents your hair from growing into a mushroom a few days after. Barbers also give a neat shave with the single-edged razor that a cosmetician never provides. They provide a nice hot water massage before the shave. The also line-up and the mustache trim are beyond perfect. They also give additional services like the head and shoulder massage with an expertise that a salon can never match with. The hair products at the barbershops are typically the best and unlike mainstream beauty products are only found at the barbershop itself of through an online source.

They do not experiment new products on you. It’s not just about the services, the entire ambiance relates to a man. You get to have a sensible manly talk with the men around as well as with the barber. This also has significance in building up a healthy social environment. More than anything, they are cost-effective unlike the hefty charges at the salon. No matter what, every man must have an experience of grooming at the barbershop. It is something that they can’t get everywhere.

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