Why I choose a barber over a hairdresser
“Have you considered an undercut?”
I tried to hide my shock at this suggestion. An undercut? My immediate thoughts when I hear the word ‘undercut’ is punks who fight in carparks or characters off Orange is the New Black.
I’m a boring stay at home mum from suburbia and this hairdresser is suggesting an undercut? Was she serious?
But then I found myself saying “OK. Let’s do it”.
Let’s rewind a little and I’ll start by telling you about my hair. It’s crap. Nothing personal against my hair, but that’s the truth. It’s course, thick, grey, frizzy, ugly, and crap.
Now all of those things are partly genetics but 90% is my fault because I simply do not subscribe to anything more time intensive than shampoo, conditioner, skip the repeat. There’s no masks or deep conditioning treatments, and while I do own a hairdryer it’s for the sole purpose of melting crayons onto canvas and creating artwork.
Needless to say, a prima donna I am not.
So when it comes to hairdressers…. well quite frankly they scare the shit out of me. I always seem to get the judgey ones who ‘tsk tsk tsk’ while cutting my hair under protest, making snide remarks about how coarse it is, how the colour needs redoing, and how I would be a better human being if only I’d use a leave-in conditioner.
I would then leave with an expensive product that I felt guilted into buying and feeling pretty darn shit about my life choices. You know how people will only visit a dentist if they are legitimately at serious risk of chopping their own heads off to ease the pain of a toothache? Well for me a visit to a hairdresser was met with the same anxiety filled trepidation as a visit to the dentist.
I took to visiting those walk-in hairdressers in the shopping centres. Regular turnover of staff so if I got an unpleasant one I wouldn’t go back if they were working that day or I’d choose one of the other stores.
I splurged on a visit to a popular salon a few years back to get a makeover. Cost me $265 and I left looking like my 60 year old aunt. The funky haircut and colour that I was hoping for just left me in tears. The entire experience was awful.
Now this isn’t me saying I don’t like all hairdressers. That’s not true. I’ve found a couple of great ones over the years, but I never really enjoyed the experience of sitting in the chair staring at myself in the mirror while trying not to feel like a failure at womanhood for not spending more time with my blow dryer.
But then I found a barbershop and haven’t looked back since. Well to be fair, Adam found them first. While in the army he shaved his own head & face, but since leaving he grew a beard and found himself in need of a tidy up that he couldn’t do himself.
I sent him off to a popular barbershop but they were busy and Adam hates waiting! To ensure he didn’t return home as scruffy as when he left that morning, I quickly suggested another one I’d heard about – Bennett’s Barbershop in the Rising Sun Shopping Centre.
He got home that afternoon singing the praises of this wonderful thing he’d experienced – a hot towel after a head shave and beard trim. He was grinning from ear to ear (with a much tidier beard!) and then said “They even have a loyalty program that can be tracked on an app on your phone!” Yep, the barbershop experience had even satisfied his love for gadgets and technology!
Bennett’s Barbershop isn’t just for the blokes and they welcome women and children in for haircuts as well. Our little one was due for her first haircut so off we went with Grandma in tow to all share in the experience of Pixie’s first haircut. She was given a lollypop and an adorable certificate with some of her hair pinned to it for a keepsake.
As soon as you walk through the door you are greeted with a friendly smile and a cheery “Hello!”. The shop is clean and clutter free with barber chairs along the left, waiting chairs along the right.
The decor is simple and ‘manly’ but pleases my love of all things industrial and recycled – the timber wall is gorgeous! Owner Karen Bennett is one of the nicest people you’ll meet and while we were waiting for our turn in the chair, I noticed how she greeted her repeat customers by name. She has a relaxed, down to earth nature about her that made me feel immediately at ease and she has assembled a fabulous team to work alongside her.
All of the staff are friendly, polite and not at all judgey!
Karen has actually been the first hairdresser to start cutting my hair only to then say “I love your hair, there’s so much of it”. Yep the first person EVER to touch my hair and not immediately feel the need to sell me a product I’ll never use, or make remarks about the lack of care it receives.
There was no negativity, no lectures, no snooty remarks!
If you don’t have an appointment and they are busy then you may have to wait for a while – because they don’t rush. While in most industries this is viewed as a bad thing, at Bennett’s this is a positive. It’s not a production line where they try to push each person through as quickly as possible. When you’re in the chair, you know you have their attention and you don’t leave until you’re happy.
Now back to where this article started. The undercut.
It’d been a bit of a wait this time as they are always busier in school holidays, and being a Friday afternoon before a long weekend we weren’t the only ones there for a tidy up. I find the walk in service works well for me as I never know what I’m doing from one day to the next.
This time I was seated in Fee’s chair. She made the usual comments about the thickness of my hair before suggesting getting out the clippers. Her reasoning was that because there is so much hair, I could afford to lose some without losing the shape of my bob style that I’ve had for a few years.
I’m glad I trusted her advice. It turned out great and I’ve even done a google search on other shorter
Maybe I’ll get the short funky hairstyle that I was aiming for afterall.
I originally wrote the above blog a few months ago and never got around to publishing it. I’ve since been back to Bennett’s for another chop.
Did I go shorter with another undercut? You bet your split-ends I did!
UPDATE ON THE UPDATE:
I’ve since decided to grow out my hair and nowadays I’m rocking hair well past my shoulders. The kids are sporting long locks too, but without a
Above article is author’s own views and individual experience may differ.