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How Safe Is Your Face From The Barber? Part 2: One Barber’s View

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Me and Jess Stern at Stag Barbershop

[Comment from mantic59: I showed the post about Kenny’s recent barber shave to several professional barbers.  This response is from Jess Stern of Stag Barbershop (the place where I gave a presentation about shaving last year).  Her comments follow.]

Hello Mark!

After reading the story and thinking about your questions, here are my answers. BTW, I read that story to my barbers and some of my customers and we were all terrified.

What should a customer expect?

The customer should expect that the barber is skilled in this area of expertise. If the barber hesitiates even the slightest bit, tell him/her no thanks. The customer should also expect a smooth face with little to no irritation upon leaving. A proper shave includes but is not limited to the following : Prepping the skin with pre-shave oil if needed, lather and steamed towels, 2 passes of the razor (one with the grain, the second across if needed), a cool towel to soothe the skin, aftershave balm or astringent depending on the season/skin type, a dab of talcum powder to reduce shine.

What questions should a customer ask before the shave?

What type of razor are you using? How long will a shave take? What types of products do you use? Do I need to do anything during the shave (e.g.-move my face to help you out? FYI-the answer to this should always be no).

What kinds of information should a customer convey to the barber?

This is an interesting question, Mark. Only because it is not the customers job to tell the barber this info but the barbers job to ask. These questions being: if the customer has ever had a professional shave before, has sensitive skin, is prone to bumps/ingrown hairs, shaves with, across and/or against the grain, has any moles/scars, products the customer is using-preshave oil, shave soap/cream, aftershave balm or astringent etc.

What is the attitude of the barber towards shaving a customer?

The barber should be confident, relaxed and let the customer know the steps taken during the shave before the shave begins. This way the customer knows what to expect and can lay back and take a nap if he likes.

Are customers disappointed if the barber uses a cartridge razor to do the shave?

I personally have never used a cartridge razor on a customer but I would think the answer to that would be yes. To me, it is similar to using a clipper with a guard, they can easily do this at home. At Stag our haircuts are done clipper over comb and our shaves with a Jatai Straight Edge Feather Razor. Both take a lot of time, skill and patience to do at home and are worth paying for in a barbershop/mens salon.

Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

7 thoughts on “How Safe Is Your Face From The Barber? Part 2: One Barber’s View”

  1. Jess is an artist! I walk away after one of her shaves feeling like I could take on the world. All the ladies at Stag know what they are doing and it shows.

  2. If Wausau were closer to Milwaukee I would let Jess give me a shave anytime. I agree with everything she said.

  3. If I lived in that area Jess could shave me everyday.
    “aftershave balm or astringent depending on the season/skin type”
    I know you have covered this in a video but what about the season. Balm in cold months for moisture and astringent in summer when the skin isn’t so dry?

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