Whilst the barber chair is still reserved for a fella in need, the trade is becoming more inclusive for those seeking to make the permanent career shift from hairdresser to barber.
One such lady is Ebony Walsh, who proudly hails from The Barberhood in Sydney. With over 4,200 followers on Instagram, she is definitely earning her title as the
@queenoffades. After seeing that she had cut the hair of the charming Dave Bayley from Glass Animals, I had to get in contact to find a little bit more about what it is like to be a lady barber in a man’s world.
What made you want to get into barbering?
I started in hairdressing when I was sixteen and did quite a few competitions involving men’s hair and fashion during my apprenticeship. I’ve always preferred the barbering side and recently made the swap from hairdressing to barbering full-time.
What is the largest struggle you face in barbering? I have been lucky to not have any struggles, really. If anything, there have been some clients that like to challenge me cutting their hair, just for the fact I’m a girl, and girls can’t cut guys’ hair.
Where do you draw inspiration? Instagram! It’s endless the amount of inspiration you can get from social media. When I see a client, I automatically begin thinking about various elements that could look good and work on the client. Luckily enough, most clients trust me to decide what I think will work on their hair and face. It is nice to know they trust my skills and experience in the industry to cut their hair freely with my own expression.
What is your favourite men’s hairstyle to cut? At the moment my favourite hairstyle would be the comb-over with a subtle part. Although, I like to cut it so the client has a variety of ways to style it, so they aren’t stuck with the one look.
If you could change one thing in the industry, what would it be? If I had to change one thing it would have to be the client’s perspective of a barber. Barbers are often viewed as the cheap haircut, rather than a complete service catering to all men. I’ve noticed the shift, but the perception is still there.
Do you have a favourite product? Right now my favourite is Baxter of California Clay Pomade. It’s a medium hold and a very natural look – it holds up to its name; there is no false advertising. I love and recommend it
There is no denying that the Barbershop is coming back with a bang. With so many barbershops opening, there has been a shortage of barbers with the skills and passion that it takes to make it in this cutthroat industry.
Terrible puns aside, I truly believe that making room for lady barbers behind the chair is a big step in barbershops getting more guys in, and keeping them coming back.
For those unbelievers, let me introduce Maria Long, owner of The Little Barbershop in Woolloomooloo … Proving if you aren’t hiring the skills of the lady barber, she’ll start her own barbershop – and kick butt at it too.
What made you want to open your own barbershop? I’ve wanted to open my own shop for years, because I have always had a vision of how I wanted it. I knew that with the experience I had working around guys for such a long time that I could really make it work. I felt confident that I knew what guys wanted from a hair salon experience.
What is the largest struggle you face in barbering? The largest struggle I face is that there are always new barbershops opening. It is definitely becoming a trend that a lot more guys are more keen to go to barbershops now, rather than the high end boutique salons, so keeping up with what’s going on is important.
What is your favourite men’s hairstyle to cut? The styles that I love to do are short fades – something really clean, tight and fresh. Nothing better than a nice sharp looking haircut.
Where do you draw inspiration from? I draw inspiration from catwalks, magazines and just seeing people on the street and looking at what sort of styles men have. I’m constantly checking out guys’ hair whenever I’m walking around.
Who has your favourite client been? Why? I would say that my favourites are my clients who have been following me around for years. There’s nothing I love more than a loyal client.
What do you love most about the industry? What I love most is seeing all the new trends that come about and meeting different people that all have a different sense of style. Woolloomoolloo is definitely a very diverse area.
Creating new styles and making people feel good about themselves is something I love.
Do you have a favourite product? Why do you love it? My favourite product by far is Layrite Cement. It’s a matte product with amazing hold. It is easy to apply and easy to wash out. Layrite also smells amazing. Cement is one of my best sellers.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be? I think if I could change anything it would be to get the old school barbershops to put their prices up. I feel like barbering has always had the label of “cheap” haircut attached to it. I feel like barbering is a great skill to have and by selling yourself short,it devalues the industry. You have to know what you are worth.