The Grooming Rules of London’s Top Barbers
The Grooming Rules of London’s Top Barbers

The Grooming Rules of London’s Top Barbers


Whether you’re a regular at your local Ruffians or your mum’s still cutting your hair, there’s always something else you can learn about wet shaving or looking after your locks. Read on for some need-to-know wisdom from three of the best barbers in the land…

Do Your Research

“When you need a cut, it can be tempting to rush and book into any old barber, forgetting about styles and trends. This often ends up in a haircut you don’t like. To find a great barber, do your research – look online and ask friends for recommendations. When looking online, see if a barber’s aesthetic appeals to you and search their bio and Instagram to see what their speciality is. A good barber should listen to what you want – and what you don’t want – and come up with a plan. Take a picture of something you like, as it can be tricky to describe haircuts in words.” – Charlie Cullen, men’s hair specialist 


Know What To Ask For

“Get to know the most popular, classic styles. These include: the undercut, a hybrid style worked by the likes of David Beckham that’s distinguished by the contrast between the shaved sides and a longer top section; and the tousled cut, a low-maintenance style that’s increasingly popular. This short, tapered hairstyle is clean and sharp around the sides with texture on top, which gives it a tousled effect. There’s also the flow cut – a medium-to-long style that falls backwards from the front, and when shaped regularly gives a care-free, beach vibe – and the iconic buzz cut, which brings attention to facial features.” – Fadi Rachdi, barber at Neville Hair & Beauty at Bulgari Hotel


Don’t Shampoo Daily

“One of the biggest mistakes is washing your hair every day. Your scalp produces natural oils that are moisturising and beneficial to your hair. If you shampoo too often, this will strip the hair of these essential oils, which can lead to irritation. Depending on how active you are, shampoo every two to three days for healthier, better hair.” – Charlie 

“Use hair product sparingly. Overuse can lead to hard, crunchy hair and dandruff.”

Try A Salt Spray

“This is the most used product in my kit. It doesn’t leave the hair feeling crispy and is a great – and simple – way to create a wavy texture, especially if your hair is longer. I’m a fan of embracing natural texture and a salt spray is a great way to do this. While sea salt spray isn’t made with sea water, it does mimic its effects. It absorbs excess oil so your hair lifts itself up and separates for nice definition and texture. It also offers light hold and even works as a primer so you can blow dry your hair into style.” – Charlie 


Disguise Thinning Hair

“If you’re struggling with a receding hairline, avoid a combover at all costs and keep hair on the shorter side. The longer your hair is, the more transparent it can look, which will only highlight the thinning or loss you may be experiencing. Chat to your barber about Toppik’s keratin hair fibres, which are a great way to mask thinning hair. Simply pick the shade that best matches your natural hair and gently apply to the head like salt and pepper for an instantly fuller appearance.” – Charlie 


Be Open To Advice

“Men tend to reach for the first products they find as opposed to seeking out the correct product. What works on a friend might not necessarily be the product for you. Always ask your barber for advice – the right styling products will help you get the best from your cut long after you’ve left the salon. Just go easy and don’t overload the hair with product – overuse can lead to hard, crunchy hair, as well as hair loss, damage and problems such as dandruff.” – Fadi 



Don’t Dismiss A Hairdryer

“Don’t underestimate the importance of a good hair dryer. The ghd Helios is the best on the market. A great hairdryer does two things for your hair: first, it gives you extra volume; second, the heat locks in whatever styling product you’ve applied and makes it more effective.” – Tom  


Take Your Time When Shaving

“The secret to a great, clean shave is to soften the beard using warm water. This will open the pores for a cleaner result. The next step is to lather up with a good-quality foam to prevent unwanted cuts. Then, use a sharp blade to shave – finding the right razor for your skin is trial and error. Repeat the process for a very clean effect. Always splash the face with cool water post-shave to soothe the skin. The best time to shave is straight after a hot shower. Always ensure you change your blade frequently (never shave more than three times with the same blade) and avoid alcohol-based aftershaves – stick with balms instead. Acqua Di Parma’s razors get my vote – they’re easy to use, don’t block easily with stubble and look great in the bathroom.” – Fadi 


Tread Carefully With Sensitive Skin

“Whether you’re prone to breakouts or have sensitive skin, it’s about getting the basics right. Make sure you’re using SPF every day, drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet – it’s basic, but it makes a difference. If your skin is prone to redness and dry patches, find a product range that suits your skin and stick to it. When it comes to breakouts, don’t shave over spots as this can spread the infection and make it worse. Cleanse and tone the skin daily – check out the IS Clinical range – and consider trying LED blue light therapy, which can kill bacteria, improve skin texture and reduce oil production to stop breakouts in their tracks.” – Tom Harrigan, head barber at The Ned 



Use An Alum Block

“Regarded as the original aftershave, alum is a mineral stone that contains natural antibacterial properties to soothe the skin after shaving. It’s ideal for sensitive skin and skin prone to small cuts and irritation. Run an alum block under the tap and rub onto the face after shaving to tighten the skin and close pores. If you have any nicks, this may sting a little, but the antiseptic and healing properties will quickly soothe and heal.” – Charlie 


Save Dry Shaving For Emergencies

“For a clean finish, it doesn’t beat a wet shave. Dry shaving should be a last resort if no other option is available, although it can be useful to do after a wet shave to smooth out the skin. The problem is electric razors are tricky to keep clean, which can lead to rashes and skin irritation. If you prefer dry shaving and don’t enjoy a wet shave, use very light pressure and be meticulous about cleaning and sterilising your shaver. Braun and Moser both do great electric razors, but these shouldn’t be used as your main razor.” – Fadi 

“Never shave more than three times with the same blade.”

Invest In 5 Key Products

“A decent facial cleanser is essential to keep the skin free from bacteria and healthy. IS Clinical is a great range – its Cream Facial Cleanser gets my vote as it’s powerful yet non-irritating and builds up the skin’s resilience, which is ideal if you shave frequently. A manual scrub – like Le Labo Basil Face Scrub – will improve skin health. Pre-shave oil is worth a try if you want a closer shave and to reduce your chance of nicks and cuts – The Ordinary’s cold-pressed argan oil is a good product. A good shaving cream is another must, as is a facial moisturiser that contains SPF.” – Tom 

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