The Scent of the Barbers
by Nick Hogan
The barbershop is a necessity for some, social interaction for many, and a ritual for most. Like all rituals, there’s a selection of sights that accompany the experience. The conversation between barber and customers, the sharp metallic snip of the scissors, and the buzz of a well-executed fade. Then there’s the comfort of friendly faces and the familiarity of the decor, the chrome barber chair and leather seats - it feels like home.
However, it’s the smells of the barbershop that are truly memorable, the ever-present scent of barbicide - astringent, metallic and almost medicinal. There’s no mistaking where you are when you smell it. Also the scent of the leather barber chair that has a masculine edge that’s an essential part of the experience, and which envelops you as you take your seat. I’m always struck by nostalgia when visiting the barbershop, as the scents I’m experiencing are likely extremely similar to those experienced by my father and grandfather, a tradition that’s become timeless.
As each snip of the scissors reveals a version of me I’ve not seen for several weeks, each swipe of the clipper exposes a sharper and more refined version of the man I once was, just a few months ago. Along comes the fragrant light mist of a sea salt spray, followed by the styling product. The intoxicating aroma of a fresh cut.
Now comes my favourite part, the shave. The warmth of the wet towel feels like the closest a gentleman can get to hitting the reset button. Your pores open up as your stresses fade away, it’s as therapeutic as it is a ritual. The shave cream is generously applied by brush. It’s creamy, delicate and luxurious on the skin. The razor dances across your skin, taking no prisoners, as any hair who dares to be in its way are removed with ease, revealing a fresh and youthful face.
The experience is topped off with a splash of cologne, refreshing and invigorating, never has your skin felt better than this very moment. The citrus notes convey cleanliness and freshness, the new you. A glance in the mirror, and a tip to the barber, it’s good to be back. A trip to the barbers is a wonderful thing, I deeply look forward to the opportunity to return.