Hucknall barber steps back in time for gentleman’s shave

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A Hucknall barber shop is offering gentlemen customers a trip back in time to the days when close shaves came courtesy of a cut-throat razor.

Patrick Pearson, at Susan Peters Hair and Beauty salon, on Watnall Road in Hucknall, launched the service a month ago and hopes to spread the word about the benefits of old-fashioned depilation.

Barber, Patrick Pearson starts the traditional shave for Samuel Pearson.

Barber, Patrick Pearson starts the traditional shave for Samuel Pearson.

Patrick (28), a former prison guard at Lowdham Grange, got the idea after having a hot towel shave in Turkey.

He said: “I have always loved the old-fashioned ways. I thought there’s not many places where people can get a traditional shave anymore.

“Back then you didn’t have the moisturisers and exfoliating treatments we have today.

“This is a way of rejuvenating an old trade and putting a modern twist on it.”

A cut-throat razor is still used, but these days – thanks to health and safety regulations – there’s no chance of having a major artery sliced if you shift position.

Patrick said: “The blade is a safety razor – and the worst you will get is a little nick.

“Years ago it was a big blade sharpened on a strop. Now we change the blade more than once for each shave.”

He believes the habit of visiting the barbers for a haircut and a shave has died out over the last 20 years as people lead increasingly busy lives and no longer find the time for themselves. “There are lots of places for women to go and have a facial and relax,” he said. “But very few places where men can do the same thing.”

One customer, who last had a traditional shave in 1970, fell asleep during the treatment – so relaxing was the process.

Patrick said: “It’s like a therapy session. One shave a month is enough to keep the skin smooth.”

Patrick’s process begins with a warm welcome and a cup of tea or coffee, then a hair cut and a hair wash, followed by steaming to open up the pores. Pre-shave balm is then applied and a hot towel is used to soften up the skin.

The close shave actually involves three separate shaves – each one featuring smooth, continuously gliding strokes – which take off two layers of dead skin. The third pass is a ‘sealing shave’ with relaxing oil.

Patrick was taught the craft by Sid Sottung, an American barber who was trained by Vidal Sassoon and relocated to Nottingham.

He described the course as “very intense as there’s a lot to pick up”, but one for which trainees travel a long way to attend because of Sottung’s reputation. He believes 90 per cent of people who suffer from ‘sensitive skin’ is the result of poor shaving technique. So Patrick also offers tips on the best way to shave.