Get a bad haircut and you're marred for a month, if not longer. According to J.P. Mastey, the grooming guru behind Baxter of California, a haircut should be an easy, relaxing experience—a ritual that results in a better you every six weeks. So when the brand decided to open their own barbershop two years ago, they made a place you'd want to come back to. "It's everything you expect to find in an authentic old school barber," says Mastey, not some slick chop house. Here, he offers pointers on what to look for in a quality barbershop.
"You don't need flatscreen TVs or free beer to appeal to discerning guys. Our shop's not a lounge or a spa, but it is an environment where guys feel at home."
"Cheap gels are a warning sign. Quality products show that the barber sweats the details. We carry signature Baxter products along with retaW, a line of body products from Japan as well as classics like Dr. Bronners, London's D.R. Harris."
"Proper chairs that are both classic and comfortable are definitely an added luxury. I've been collecting early 20th-century porcelain Koken "White King" models for years and restored them for the shop."
"He should listen to what you want and be able to interpret that into a cut. He should also have a tidy area and make you feel comfortable. I enlisted Jason Simao of Freemans Sporting Club fame, who prefers real scissors to clippers. That gives hair more shape and depth."