How To Choose The Right Barber

February 2017Words by Mr Alfred Tong

Mr James Dean in a barbershop in New York, 1955. Photograph © Dennis Stock/Magnum Photos

“A good barber should be the calm in the eye of a storm,” says Mr Stephen Powell, who started the London barbering school, Total Barber, 12 years ago. “You should be able to go to him when you’re hungover; have some hot towels put on your face, face creams, a coffee, and boom, you’re ready to go. I’ve been the best man at four different weddings because I’m a barber. I’m like Batman’s butler – dependable.”

All the more reason then, to choose the right one: “Men don’t think much about their hair and expect miracles. It’s usually bang-bang and you’re out. I’ve been barbering for 30 years, and realised that the quality of barbers is quite low, so I thought it would be a good idea to train people up. I aim to ensure people from all walks of life get a good start in the industry and we give free courses and reduced courses to people from difficult backgrounds.”

Inspired by barbering, past and present, CUT Festival: The Art of Barbering, which runs from 24 February to 5 March, at various east London locations, shows just how much choice there is when it comes to barbers, and why it’s vital to carefully choose the one that’s right for you.