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What is a Barbershop Shave?

Recently I have gotten back into full wetshaving and watching new shaving videos. This got me to thinking, what do people come to expect in a Barbershop Shave? The reason I ask this is because there is a shop in my hometown that has a shaving service, but they use safety razors as well as straight razors in the shave service. I have never heard of this and want to know what you guys think a shaving service should be.
 
I think of it as a shave by a (hopefully) skilled barber with a straight razor. Not a shavette, or a DE. Unfortunately I’ve only gotten a couple that I really enjoyed, and more than that that I was kindof underwhelmed by.
 
I only've had two barbershop shaves, one in a fancy barbershop, guys with handlebar mustaches and tatoos, cheap whiskey while I wait, hot towel, shavette shave and neck irritation... never going again.
The other one was in an old barbershop, old barber with pencil mustache, no whiskey but good shave with a SR, massage with alcoholic lotion... might return...

Cheers
 

BigJ

Ambassador
For me a ‘barbershop’ shave is what you used to be able to get in my hometown: hot towels, hot lather, straight razor, Clubman splash and talc!! (Occasionally, my Dad would splurge and I could watch.)

You can still get this experience at high-end shops in London. Truly, something to savor!! :a29:
 

KQY61

Contributor
Hi,

My local barber here in Lillington, NC still uses a Straight. I don't get a face shave, but he uses it with hot lather (from an Oster LatherService machine) to clean up the back of my neck after a haircut. Nice. :)

Problem is, he is only open on Fridays as he is semi retired. Still, well worth waiting longer between haircuts if I miss a couple Fridays because I'm too busy to make it on the days he is open.

Stan
 
There’s no standard. My first was done with a Gillette Mach 3 and left me feeling like I had no shave at all. I felt cheated. The barber said it was all about reduction and made several passes. It still felt like a good beard was left behind.

My second was performed with hot wet towels, two passes and a shavette. I think for sanitation purposes you’ll see more of this than straights?


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Chef455

Now with chrome-free nuts!
Contributor
Hot towels, warm lather and a straight razor. Research it first. Ask before you buy. If your barber reaches for anything other than a straight or shavette slam on the brakes and have a conversation.
 
I would expect it to be a hot towel treatment with a preshave, straight razor shave and some kind of post-shave (AS balm).
IMO, if you want the best shave of your life and want to look your best for some special occasion, it can be a good thing.
 
I think a true traditional barber shave has to include a hot towel or several hot towels on the face. Perhaps a layer of lather between hot towels. Then relather before the shave.
The shave (at least 2 passes) should be a real straight stropped before the shave with maybe the strop hanging on the side of the chair like I remember as a child.
Unfortunately today I think for health reasons barbers in the USA are relegated to using shavettes.
After the shave is another hot towel then cold towel followed by after shave and or balm.
 
A barbershop shave has always been with a straight razor. I’m lucky where I live has a great barbershop that specializes in shaves. The shave lasts about an hour with hot towels, shave oil and facial massage.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
The best shaves of my life were performed by barbers back in the day when most good barbershops did a fair number of shaves. With straight razors of course. As others have already said, the experience is quite impressive. It's been a very long time, but I can remember the quality of the shaves.

Actually, what I just wrote about is part of the reason I'm here on B&B. It's also a big part of why I shave with the straight razor; I became convinced of its potential. At home. Self administered. No chair.

A woman I know has been a barber for a very long time. She told me nobody gets a shave because the time required is so long and thus the price is impressively high.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
The best shaves of my life were performed by barbers back in the day when most good barbershops did a fair number of shaves. With straight razors of course. As others have already said, the experience is quite impressive. It's been a very long time, but I can remember the quality of the shaves.

Actually, what I just wrote about is part of the reason I'm here on B&B. It's also a big part of why I shave with the straight razor; I became convinced of its potential. At home. Self administered. No chair.

A woman I know has been a barber for a very long time. She told me nobody gets a shave because the time required is so long and thus the price is so high.

Happy shaves,

Jim
I agree 100% that shaves these days are over priced. I’m lucky that the barber I mentioned is a good friend. I don’t know how much they charge near you but here it’s $55 for a face shave and $45 for a head shave.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
I agree 100% that shaves these days are over priced. I’m lucky that the barber I mentioned is a good friend. I don’t know how much they charge near you but here it’s $55 for a face shave and $45 for a head shave.
I think it's about that price here. I'm not sure it's over priced given the time it takes.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
i had a pro shave in vegas. i too was underwhelmed.
i enjoyed the process hot towels and all, but it was a DE shave, and not that close, it was however a comfortable shave. thing is i dont think you will ever get a shave as close as you shave yourself, only you will know optimum pressure for face/ beard. i'm told that barbers in my state can not use straight razors on sanitation principle. think brushm razor strop..... i am still looking for an old schoool barber, that knows how to use a straight razor, where i can bring my own razor/ gear. Shavette/DE shaves here start @ $35
 
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Old school barbershop shave with a proper straight razor is the only 10 / 10 shave I've ever had, every thing else only gets 9 / 10 max.
 

quijas23

Contributor
Would anybody agree with me that Barbers lack skill these days with the straight due to using the disposable blades on the straights (don't know what to call these)?
In my opinion, the few that I tried (one in OC and the other here in the bay area) seemed to be scraping my skin (ie blade was too high off my skin). I think this because when I brought in my personal blade they dulled it after one shave.
It seems like the disposable straight is more forgiving and allows them to practice straight work with less skill (besides the whole sharpening side).
 
If you want to watch a YouTube video given by a classic old school Italian Barber doing an old fashioned shave Check this out. However it’s in Italian.
 
I only've had two barbershop shaves, one in a fancy barbershop, guys with handlebar mustaches and tatoos, cheap whiskey while I wait, hot towel, shavette shave and neck irritation... never going again.
The other one was in an old barbershop, old barber with pencil mustache, no whiskey but good shave with a SR, massage with alcoholic lotion... might return...

Cheers
You just gave me an idea for a new business. How about a barbershop with barbers that use straight edge razors, hot towels, massage, alcoholic aftershave lotion, good single malt scotch and a nice cigar while you wait. And even better, barbers that actually know what they are doing when it comes to using a straight edge. No irritation. Big comfy leather chairs. You come out of there feeling and looking like a million bucks. Ah, forget it. No one would pay enough for such an experience.
 
I appreciate the feedback from all of you. I myself expect when I pay for a shave, especially at the rates they do it today, to be a straight razor with the works. I am paying for the classic experience and the skill of the barber in question to perform with a straight, not for a simple cart shave I can do myself! How that can even be called a shave is pretty lame in my opinion. Straight or GTFO is my motto on this subject.
 
You just gave me an idea for a new business. How about a barbershop with barbers that use straight edge razors, hot towels, massage, alcoholic aftershave lotion, good single malt scotch and a nice cigar while you wait. And even better, barbers that actually know what they are doing when it comes to using a straight edge. No irritation. Big comfy leather chairs. You come out of there feeling and looking like a million bucks. Ah, forget it. No one would pay enough for such an experience.
Sorry for raining in your parade but somevody stole your idea... Here are many barbershops just like the ones you imagine and people pay plenty for haircuts and shaves... just they don't use SR, the barbers aren't skillful in shaving, the Single Malt is blended, the leather is PU Leatherette and no smoking allowed... but yeah, they pay a lot for the other things... Guess you can have it all...
 
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