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