The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

Old-fash­ioned bar­bers with a hip­ster twist are tak­ing over sub­ur­ban shop­ping cen­tres.

CALL it the In­sta­gram ef­fect or call it the rise of the fash­ion-con­scious hip­ster, but the bar­ber has be­come trendy again.

Tra­di­tional bar­ber­shops are un­der­go­ing a resur­gence, com­plete with twirling red-and-white poles, hot tow­els and men in aprons wield­ing cut­throat ra­zors.

Once, male cus­tomers who wanted more than a sim­ple hair­cut were forced to go to women’s sa­lons that catered to males on the side.

But now such cus­tomers are hap­pily pa­tro­n­is­ing ded­i­cated men’s bar­ber­shops which are spring­ing up like mush­rooms.

And the new breed of bar­bers have upped their game, of­fer­ing ser­vices such as eye­brow wax­ing, hair colour­ing, beard trim­ming and main­te­nance, skin care and sham­poos, ac­com­pa­nied by a cof­fee or beer. De­mand for bar­bers has be­come so great that the TAFE NSW Cer­tifi­cate III in Bar­ber­ing, first of­fered in 2016, is now avail­able for study at 21 lo­ca­tions across the state.

And about 81 per cent of bar­ber­ing stu­dents are men.

A ma­jor driver of the bar­bers’ pop­u­lar­ity surge is im­age-con­scious In­sta­gram­mers. “There was a pe­riod where WAGs (wives and girl­friends) were send­ing their men to sa­lons, but now the bar­ber shop is see­ing a resur­gence,” Hair­dress­ing and Beauty In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive San­dra Campitelli said.

“Men are also spend­ing more on their look.

“We have got an edgier, younger, male, tat­tooed de­mo­graphic com­ing into the pro­fes­sion than what we had pre­vi­ously.”

One of the busi­nesses rid­ing the bar­ber­shop wave is the fran­chise ManCave.

Start­ing with a sin­gle shop in Oran Park six years ago, it has grown to eight sites around Syd­ney, in­clud­ing Mi­randa, Bur­wood, Chatswood and Rouse Hill.

Rouse Hill ManCave’s owner So­heyl “Sam” Kho­rasan, who switched from a tra­di­tional hair­dress­ing sa­lon four years ago, thanks so­cial me­dia for his suc­cess.

“With the pop­u­lar­ity of so­cial me­dia we are find­ing a lot of peo­ple want to look their best for In­sta­gram pics,” he said.

“An im­por­tant part of that is a hair­cut.

“We have also ex­panded to of­fer eye­brow wax­ing be­cause a lot of peo­ple were ask­ing about it.”

Google searches for “bar­ber Syd­ney” have been con­sis­tently in­creas­ing since July, 2013, and reached a peak in Jan­uary, 2018.

Sam Kho­rasani gives An­dre Machado an eye-catch­ing hair­style at ManCave Bar­ber Shop in Rouse Hill. Pic­ture: Sam Rut­tyn

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