The Barbershop Shave -A lost art

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BullGoose
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The Barbershop Shave -A lost art

Post by BullGoose »

I went to my local barbershop for a haircut and figured as long as I was there, I might as well get a shave. Unfortunately, the experience was not exactly what I had in mind. The barber used a shavette and warmed goo from a shaving cream dispenser. Donning a surgeons mask and gloves, he gave me the once over with the shavette and then pulled out what look like a palm sander kinda like this


Image

He really put a lot of elbow grease into the sander but I was still left with a rough face as well as irritation. Not exactly what I had in mind. :x
Last edited by BullGoose on Thu May 05, 2011 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sam
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Post by Sam »

Phil, they say there are only two places in Memphis that still have straight razor shaves, not with shavettes. There was one place that did it that did Elvis's hair cuts, at 2nd and Madison (Jim's Barbershop if you are local) and I had a facial (eucalyptus and menthol rubbed into the face, with a scalding hot towel applied like 3 times before the shave, and then the shave lather machine and straight razor), haircut, shoe shine and nail work done for $25 total, but that was about 20 years ago, or more. A judge talked me into it, and it was worth it. Long Friday afternoon, chatting away with tons of people, killed like an hour.

If I find the one place they say that does it near Peabody and Cooper, I'll go again, but only if it is a true straight razor. Otherwise, I'd rather save the dollars.
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Post by BullGoose »

This was the first time I had a barber give me a shave and I did it on a whim. I dropped my car off for service when the dealership opened and did not have time to shave in the morning. I had a bit of time to kill waiting for the car so popped into the barbershop. At least the shave did not cost much...only $10 for the haircut and $8.00 for the shave.
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Kyle76
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Post by Kyle76 »

I believe AIDS and resulting health regulations have killed anything but disposable-blade shaves in US barbershops. That means the closest you will come to a straight razor is a shavette. But no soap and brush? That's outrageous!
Jim
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Post by bernards66 »

Phil, I don't know where you've been, but most US barbershops ceased offering shaves many years ago. The few that still do almost always use those dreadful Shavette style thingys and often they don't know what they're about either. I pursued this motif for years and only managed to get one real straight razor shave ( but he used a Latherking machine for the lather ) and one lather done with proper cream and a shave brush ( but he did the shave with a Shavette ). There have been posts by a few gents who have managed to find shops that did the whole deal properly but it is clearly VERY rare. Suppossedly there is a new shop in NYC that is on the case but I've not had an opportunity to stop by there yet. Most shops will just try and fob you off with, "..it's illegal..", but it really isn't in many places. They just don't want to bother and/or don't really have the skill to do it. I've only had a handful of good barbershop shaves while I was pursuing this, and many more bad ones. I've pretty well given up the hunt unless I can get over to Europe.
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Post by RazoRock »

nothing wrong with a disposable blade straight... but it better have the "FEATHER" name on it 8)

My Barber uses the Feather RG folding handle with a Pro blade; the shaves are amazing... Phil, I smell up-sell opportunity :D
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Post by SmallTank »

RazoRock wrote:nothing wrong with a disposable blade straight... but it better have the "FEATHER" name on it 8)

My Barber uses the Feather RG folding handle with a Pro blade; the shaves are amazing... Phil, I smell up-sell opportunity :D
Agreed!

ST
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Post by Squire »

As a cautionary if a barber says 'its illegal' that tells me he doesn't know how.
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Post by Jupiter »

In the late 80's, early 90's, I had the pleasure of enjoying my first barbershop shave. It was an old established barbershop with plenty of experience. My barber used a straight blade that he stroped up, a boar brush and Williams soap. I also remember lots of hot towels and finishing up with Clubman a/s.
I tried going back a few years ago but they told me they use disposable blades now.
The last barbershop shave (different place) I received will probably be my last. It was the worst shave ever, a disposable with next to no prep, a latherking and a small scar to show for it.

Just wanted to share some old memories.

Question: Do you think old time experience and disposable blades might bring better results.

Mike
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Post by bernards66 »

Mike, Maybe in rare instances, but in my experiance, not usually. Razors like the Shavette are just pretty crappy period. They show way too much of that very thin DE style blade just hanging out there with no sort of guard whatsoever. This set up just invites razor burn and the blade is usually not that stable either. The Feather ACs are, of course, better, but few places use them. And the one in these parts that does, well they use some thick goop as a pre-shave which pretty well negates the superiority of the AC anyway....and they are hyper cautious. I had no razor burn or other irritation there, but the shave wasn't very good either. Personally, I've spent about all the money and energy on this that I intend to. If I'm going to spend any significent amount of money I expect a real cutthroat razor stropped and used by someone who is really good at it, and to be lathered up with a brush and quality cream or shave soap. If that's not the way they do it, then I'm not interested. As I said, the next barbershop shave I get ( if there is a 'next' one ) will probably have to be in Europe.
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Gordon
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Post by SmallTank »

Floyd's Barbershops here in Los Angeles all use str8 razors..pretty cool I think!
I assume they use barbaside as the disinfectant

ST
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Post by BullGoose »

SmallTank wrote:Floyd's Barbershops here in Los Angeles all use str8 razors..pretty cool I think!
I assume they use barbaside as the disinfectant

ST
I do not know about other regions of Los Angeles but the Floyds in Hermosa Beach uses a Shavette and not a straight.
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Post by RazorRamone »

Anyone that has not had the luxury of a true old fashioned barbershop shave needs to add this to their "bucket list".

I too have all but given up on seeking a barbershop shave. Years ago I had the pleasure of being on a guy's fishing weekend in Northern Canada; feeling completely hung-over in a small town and followed my friends in to see "Nick The Barber". ("Nick"... great name to go see a fellow for a shave.)

An elderly Ukrainian man with thick glasses that reeked of rye and Aqua Velva, was an artist with the straight edge. LatherKing, hot towels, ice splash, bay rum, everything was perfect.

Sadly, Nick The Barber is no longer around.

Described by someone with better writing skills than mine, it was one of those moments that would have made for good reading in a GQ article.
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for sure

Post by malocchio »

Squire wrote:As a cautionary if a barber says 'its illegal' that tells me he doesn't know how.
..............most "barbers" today are more "salon artists" than real tonsorial barbers...the "barber college" in my area has not taught the art of a straight shave in many years....however,there is a growing number of non-barbers and a few real barbers in the san francisco bay area that are giving real straight shaves with old fashioned vintage cut throats....sadly,the average price is fifty bucks...for something that lasts only 2 days,I will have to pass...for the price of 3 shaves you can buy a gorgeous vintage razor and get free instructions by many capable teachers on youtube !
Image

Image
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Post by mantic »

This is a timely thread for me since I just got back from Las Vegas, where I got a "spa" shave at the Wynn. Why yes, as a matter of fact I *did* make a video about it: Advice From A Barber (caution, its a long video).

Some observations relevant to this thread: the resort's most experienced barber has 14 years of experience. He went to a barber college in California because there weren't any available in 'Vegas at the time. He used a Shavette-like razor and although he wielded it well the first pass was a tad uncomfortable. It was clear he was uncomfortable with "real" lather and used a "salon" brand product line for the balance of the shave.

I need to find a barber with some true "old school cred" to make a video with. :cry:

--Mark
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Post by WBK »

I was lucky enough to get a real straight razor shave from an old barber in 2005. It is what opened my eyes to what a shave should be like!

The funny thing is I didn't even expect it, just went in for a cut. After he was done with the cut, he put some hot lather on my face... I hear him stropping behind me and I'm sure my eyes grew wide as he came at me with the straight. :lol: He was fast and real good, a true artist! I couldn't believe how good my face felt after that (I always had trouble shaving with lots of irritation). That was just what they did at that old shop, a shave and a cut went together for all of $13.

Sadly, he retired two weeks later (at 80 he sure earned it) and the other guy there didn't do shaves. But I thank him dearly for that enlightening experience, it was really life changing for me. I agree a proper barbershop shave should be on your bucket list, a shame it is so hard to find a good one.
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Post by mikeny278 »

Not many barbershops around me do shaves, but a couple of days ago I went to a place and my experience was disappointing. I think he was using a shavette made in Pakistan, and after doing a WTG pass he went ATG or a slight XTG/ATG pass everywhere, with a lot of blade buffing technique. It was very scrapy/scratchy and borderline painful. I normally just go one pass WTG, and occassionally WTG and then XTG, but I have not tried ATG wetshaving in years. He got me to BBS in most areas, but at a price. My chin area and neck have had all kinds of red spots for the last couple of days now. I was hoping to try to maintain the close shave he gave me, but I had to take the last day off of shaving because I did not want to shave over irritated skin. During the shave, he told me I have sensitive skin. I would think that might warrant a change in technique, but I guess not!

I think I would have been better served by better prepping. He used cold lather with a shaving brush, and I had one hot towel. Also, a WTG-XTG pass would have probably helped before going ATG on me, but I figured he may know what he is doing. Needless to say, I will not be doing this again, but I am interested in going to Truefitt sometime to see how the experience there compares...
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Post by Squire »

Best of luck Mike. I was fortunate to have access to first rate old time barbers when I was young but that era has passed.

Those guys were good at shaving with an open razor because they had the skill and the opportunity to practice that skill. Even if a current shop offered a modern version (shavette, that sort of thing) of the traditional shave, at today's prices the barber (barbette?) doesn't have the volume of customers either to hone their skills or keep them sharp.
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Post by brothers »

Mike, you can do it yourself much better. Sorry to hear you had a negative experience.
Gary

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Post by matt321 »

I usually find the stuff that comes out of those lather machines to be pretty nasty! :x
Last edited by matt321 on Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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