Maloney’s Barbershop : The Fine Art of Shaving

Julian Maloney from Maloney’s Barbershop: All of us adults shave – some their faces, others just their legs and a few their private bits too but how many of us allow or even pay someone else to do it for us?

Yes, waxing is a foundation service in the beauty industry and, done by a qualified beautician, it’s really effective at removing those unwanted hairs.

But now the cut-throat face shave (using a straight razor) is on the rise, a uniquely male service which can be a great point of difference for any business involved in the grooming game.

Dating back to prehistoric times, men have been scraping hair off their faces with sharp flint, then steel, and now the space-age Quattro five blade shaver.

Like any good hairdresser or barber, I observe global trends, and the current ‘slow’ movement harks back to a desire for hand-made, one-off, personal experiences.

We all want to slow down and switch off from our busy days, and a Barbershop shave is a perfect chance for a bloke to sit back and relax. 

This doesn’t need to be an expensive service; at $50 – $60 per shave, a groom and his grooms men can get that little something special for the wedding day done at a Barbershop, plus haircuts and maybe a beer or coffee thrown in for under $400.

How would that compare with the cost of three bridesmaids and the bride getting their hair, make-up and nails done, not to mention the champagne!

Now I wouldn’t recommend picking up a cut throat razor, buying a badger brush and some Italian shaving cream and just getting stuck in.

Remember this can be a bloodsport and, while it’s nowhere near as painful as waxing (it’s actually painless), there is a process that needs to be followed along with good health and hygiene practices.

These are all covered by unit standard 19807 – The Fundamentals of Wet Shaving. 

Here is an overview of the Maloney’s Barbershop process for a wet shave.

•Invest in a quality shavette and blades – we use Feather brand from Japan.

•Like any treatment, begin with a consultation including checking the client’s hair patterns and skin, plus talking to him about how close he wants the shave (i.e. one pass or two).

•Get the client comfortable in a semi-reclined position with a head rest to elevate the chin.

•Use a quality pre-shave lotion such as Proraso to soften bristles

•A piping hot damp towel (we use the good old microwave) is wrapped around the face and pressed against the parts to be shaved – focus on moustache and chin where the hair is coarsest.

•Apply a good shave cream (we use Suavecito or Proraso) with a natural bristle brush that’s been soaked in hot water. Lather vigorously to raise the hair for easy shaving.

•Follow a methodical order of shaving such as that in the diagram. Stretching the skin firmly is a must. Mastering both the freehand and backhand strokes takes time but being able to use both will make your shave easier and you will have to move around less. Wipe your blade clean on a towel or paper towel after each stroke and reapply or re-moisten foam as needed.

•Clean any foam and bristles off the face with a sponge or warm towel. If you are doing a second pass, apply another hot towel, replace your blade and repeat the process above – this time going across (or against, if the client wishes) the hair growth direction. We use a shave oil instead of foam on the second pass, as it allows you to see the direction of the hair growth better.

•Finally clean the face with a warm towel and apply a post-shave balm such as Bluebeard’s Revenge.

•Offer to tidy neck and eyebrow hair as a finishing touch.

•Dispose of your blade and sterilise your shavette, brush and any other equipment used. 

Ensure you follow strict hygiene procedures as there may be the odd blood spot or nick.


Photography: Andre Kong  Sue Maloney