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What have you learned from barbers?

I was thinking about starting a new thread with this, but thought it would be an appropriate addition to this thread. *Disclaimer* - I have no affiliation with "the holy black" or any vendor and I hope it's ok to direct traffic to their site for this resource.

So, I stumbled across a 100% free downloadable version of the Standardized Barber's Manual (published by the Associated Master Barbers Association of America). The claim is that this was originally published in 1866, but the Copyright is from 1911, and this particular edition appears to be from 1925.

The free download is available here: 278 Page Antique Barber Manual by A. B. Moler 1866 - https://theholyblack.com/products/278-page-antique-barber-manual-by-a-b-moler-1866

It's a joyful read! I love the style of writing from this era and the common sense advice. There is a LOT of shaving content! The manual is 278 "PDF pages" - and my page references here relate to the PDF page numbers and not the actual page numbers in the manual. So with that, here are a few highlights for your reference:
  • A global-historical perspective on barbering, including shaving, going back to ancient times on pages 27-28
  • Origin of the Barber Pole on page 30 (I had no idea!)
  • Selection and description of tools, including:
    • Razors on pages 33-39
    • Hones on pages 40-41
    • Strops on pages 48-49
    • Lather Brushes on page 51
    • Shaving Mug on page 51
  • Missing the beginning of the section on honing and stropping on pages 54-58
  • But the most interesting part for me is Lesson 3 - Shaving on pages 59-85
    • Lather Consistency on page 69
    • How they recommended holding the brush (including brushing motion and where to place your fingers) on page 70
    • Hot towel face prep on pages 71-72
    • Post-shave recommendations on pages 81-82
So - lots to "learn" from these traditional barbers (to tie this into the thread and thread title). I'm new here, so maybe this is all well known, but thought I'd throw it in here just incase any of you are interested in the free download.

Shave well!
Not so much about shaving, but I remember my barber telling me to be sparing with the heat on my hand-held hair dryer -- the high setting, if used too long, can damage your hair.

Someone here mentioned the old barber trick of massaging the soap or cream into your beard with wet fingers. I do that on each shave now.
i did the shave-and-learn at trumpers in london a few year ago.
excellent master barber.
enjoyed the shave and discussion.

Have you ever gotten any advice on shaving from barbers?

Was it useful?

Would you take your son to a barber for instruction on how to shave?

What, if anything, did you learn?

Or did you teach the barber a thing or two?
My sister-in-law has been a barber for about 40 years, she told me to map my beard and only shave xtg one pass with minor touch up. She also said she was not taught a 3 pass shave in barber school around 1980, the straight razor shaves she gave me were always ccs and never with hot towels.
As a kid in Brooklyn, patience and when to keep quiet when the phone rang (he was making book). And lastly, where to find the best gentleman’s calendars (there was Marilyn all her glory on that red bed).:eek2:
I've literally learned nothing from my Barber chatting his butt off about random things, and I love him for that.
I have never been to a barber for a shave (just the thought of having someone else touch my face makes my toes curl...)
Since I discovered the buzz haircut style I stopped going to one entirely. Bought a $60 clipper some 10 years ago and payed it off three months later. :biggrin1:
That is all I can say about my interactions with barbers.
Hmmm, I've found a decent barberette locally and enjoy going there. Nice haircut and pleasant conversation.

As far as a shave, every single time in the past 20 years or so has been a disappointment and I no longer search for or want a new barber to try. Every time has been poorly done and/or resulted in getting nicked. Not for me any longer.
I have found barber in uptown Charlotte NC who gives a wonderful hair cut while using a straight razor for about 70% of the cutting of hair. Great guy; I stop in every time we're down to see the grandchildren.
The barbers I remember my Dad taking me to when I was a youngster are long gone in my area. The options available to me now I barely trust to trim my head. No way I'd allow them to touch my face. It is a lost art form. I envy those who still have legitimate locations to visit.
I stopped tipping when he put up his price for a traditional SR shave to USD 2 early this year. Outrageous!

Where you live, SR shaves are a bargain. Here in the Chicago area, there are only a few barbers that even often shaves because the liability insurance premiums are astronomical. I checked out one website that stated straight razor shaves (including the hot towel) were $60. Another website said "close shaves" were $45, but did not state whether they were straight razor shaves or whether hot towels were used.

Of course, when they say straight razor shaves, they mean using a shavette, not a traditional straight razor. Due to health regulations, use of a traditional straight razor is strictly prohibited.

Another issue is that due to COVID, you are currently required to wear a face mask. I have not figured out how they can give a shave while your are wearing a face mask.

Besides they use an Oster lather machine rather than a real brush and soap. Of course, since they cannot reuse a brush for another client, they either have to do that or use a cheap Chinese boar brush.

My barber used to give straight razor shaves years ago, but he quit doing so when insurance premiums skyrocketed. Thus, I would not ask my barber for advice on shaving. I could probably teach him a thing or two. At home, I think he shaves with a cartridge razor.
they are useless and expensive always peddling their overpriced products. I cut my own hair and shave my own beard today's barbers are a bunch of bumbling morons. Perhaps in the olden days pre 2000 they were nice guys but now I'd rather do it myself 100% of the time
i did the shave-and-learn at trumpers in london a few year ago.
excellent master barber.
enjoyed the shave and discussion.

very nice now THIS is what I expect from a barber nothing less if I ever am around that area I would not mind treating myself at such a fine establishment
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