Our Menswear Editor, Mark Applin reports on his haircut and shaving experience at Regis Salon, Debenhams Oxford Street.
Getting your haircut and shaving. Two things, that since an earlier age, I approach with dread.
The thought of letting a stranger loose on your head with a set of electric clippers and a pair of scissors also used to send me into a state of panic. And don’t get me started on having someone with a cut-throat razor slicing around my neck.
So, when I was asked to go the experts at Regis Salon in Debenhams, Oxford Street, I accepted with some trepidation.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My stylist for this session was Humphrey, an expert with more than 30 years experience. He started out in his father’s barber shop and that confidence oozed from the moment I met him.
So, my beard was first. Humphrey applied a (very) hot towel to open up my skin’s pores. He then applied oil which protects sensitive skin like mine. To firm up the skin he applied shaving gel then gave me the closet shave I’ve ever experienced (Twice. Once up and down).
Then finished with a cold towel to close the pores before adding shaving balm to calm the skin down and to prevent it from enflaming.
Humphrey used a shaving stone and shaving strap. He said: “I find out whereabouts you’re sensitive, and if you are then I’d apply some oil to protect it.
“I started out with a shaver’s blade and have been using one for about 30 years. It’s pretty basic but you must learn how to use the shaving stone and the shaving strap – a shaving stone helps to sharpen the knife itself.
“Shaving straps are used for re-aligning the fine teeth of the shaving knife and not as a cleaning implement to wipe any residue off the knife. They are usually made of leather. “
He added :”Thirty years ago I was using soap and water, but with so many products now men’s skin has become more sensitive so it’s finding the right balance to suit you.
“Now the average man gives the average woman a run for her money with the amount of products in the bathroom.”
Humphrey’s Top Five shaving tips:
- If you wet shave, not every day but every three or four days.
- Use a hot towel. It can make a big difference.
- Get plenty of foam on and have a good shave. Twice. Up and down or whatever you’re comfortable with – most men have sensitive skin under the neck as the hair tends to grow in a different direction.
- If you do it properly, it should take about 30 minutes, then apply a cold towel, flannel or just cold water
- Use a shaving or cooling balm. Your skin will really appreciate it and you’ll notice it too.
How long did it take until you were proficient? I started at my dad’s barber shop. At college you were trained on a balloon. If it went ‘pop!’ it went wrong.
How many times did your balloon ‘pop’? Never (!)
I’ve been at Debenhams since Oct 12 but I’ve been with Regis for 34 years, so I’m almost part of the family.
I find, especially, with men, that talking about sport is the big conversation starter. Not many people talk about the weather anymore.