Men’s hair care and beauty has a long history. Barbers were in evidence as far back as ancient Egyptian times with evidence of bronze razors and other male grooming products found in burial sites. The Greeks and the Romans were also great advocates of male grooming with plenty of evidence to suggest that they took great care over their personal appearance. It was common for Roman men to be totally clean-shaven – presumably to distinguish themselves from the uncouth barbarians at the outer reaches of the empire. The Spartans were famed for their long hair which they kept oiled and tied up in times of battle.
During the seventies and eighties, barber shops declined. A lot of men changed over to salons to get the latest fashions that their music idols were wearing, or simply didn’t cut their hair at all. With the rise of the hipster, we are seeing a barber revival though as smart haircuts and the ancient art of beard topiary is once more back in demand. I was in Melbourne recently on holiday (the home of the hipster) and there are barber shops on every corner it would seem and men without finely kept beards were thin on the ground. There were some great examples of male personal grooming all over the city.
I for one am glad about this revival. I love the smell of a barber shop, all the lotions and ointments that get put on the face and the general feeling of being pampered but not in too girly a way. Though many would disagree with me, I say long live the hipster. The more men are free to express themselves via their hair, the better life will be for all.