Where are the hipster barbers in north-central Massachusetts?
July 22, 2015 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Tell me about your excellent barber in the greater Gardner/Leominster/Fitchburg area who keeps up with current trends! Criteria: Knows what the hell I'm talking about when I tell them I'm trying to achieve a "slicked back undercut".

I know I'm late to the trend, but I've spent most of this year trying to grow my hair out so I can go full-on, old-fashioned Jimmy Darmody/Arthur Shelby; long, uniform, and somewhat unruly on top and super short on the sides. I've only encountered *one* stylist who knew exactly what I was after (she was surprised that I knew what to ask for) but that was very early on, she's since left that salon, and I don't have any contact info for her.

At every other place I've tried since, I get blank stares when I say "undercut" or "slicked back undercut". So I'll say something like "I'm just trying to grow it long on top, and trim it short on the sides so I can eventually slick it straight back", which results in some variation of them leaving it mostly alone on top in front, but still trimming it towards the back and one side, I guess assuming that I want to keep parting it even though I explicitly say that I want to get to the point of slicking it back.

SO, I usually wind up with an OK haircut, but never much closer to the one I'm after. I know I should print out some photos and bring them with me, and I'll start doing that from now on... but having someone who just knows what I'm talking about in the first place would instill a lot more confidence.

Wow, what a lot of words for such a silly question! Here are a few more:
  • I keep saying 'barber' because I do love a good old-school manly man barber shop if the clientele and/or proprietors aren't a bunch of misogynist/racist jerks, but I'm happy enough to go to a salon.
  • I would also also consider the Amherst/Northampton corridor. I've heard nothing but praise for Matt's Barber Shop in Amherst, but every time I stick my head in the door the wait is over an hour.
  • I would also consider southern NH (Keene/Marlborough/Jaffrey/Rindge.) Failing other recommendations, Faded Times Barber Shop is next on my list.
  • Bonus points if they don't do that thing where they rush through the haircut, brush you off, remove the cape and then ask if it looks OK.
posted by usonian to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (4 answers total)
My recommendation would be to print out several photos of what you want, making sure to include the style shown from various angles, to a high(er) end salon where women also get their hair cut. It will be pricier than a barbershop, though you'll probably still pay less than ladies pay for their cuts.

Most people who work in salons have been trained very well and can translate what they see in a picture to a cut on your head. They're also going to make sure you're happy with the cut before they take off the cape.

Variations on this style are super popular at the moment (eg), so it's also likely that people who work in salons are already familiar with it.

It's also really likely that bringing a lot of photos to a barbershop will also result in getting the cut you want, but I am a lady and don't get my hair cut in barbershops so I can't really speak to that.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 5:18 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not saying that barbers aren't also trained very well, but I think that hairstylists who work in salons get so many different requests that they're probably a bit more versatile in what they can achieve. Plus, the clientele has higher expectations. The last time that I got my hair done, my stylist straightened the hell out of my hair and then spent a good few minutes making sure that my hair was even. Until eventually I just said, "I can never manage to get my hair this straight; no one will notice if it is a little off" because I just wanted to go home.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 5:24 AM on July 23, 2015

If you're willing to travel to Northampton, I imagine that Glamourama would be a good place to check out. It's a salon, not a barber, but a lot of the stylists specialize in masculine haircuts, so I have no doubt they'd know exactly what you're looking for.
posted by sonmi at 8:45 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Final update from the OP:
So, last week I finally found the barber I've been looking for: Prestige Barber in Gardner, Massachusetts. There was a bit of a language barrier but the barber who cut my hair knew exactly what I was talking about when I asked for an undercut and showed him some photos. No blank stares or hesitation. He nailed it, and it was possibly the most thorough haircut I've ever had... I was probably in the chair for 20-30 minutes. The place has a good vibe, more barber shop than salon but not in a clich├ęd "Sports memorabilia and Sopranos posters" way. It's clear that both the customers and the barbers take their haircuts seriously.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:42 AM on December 5, 2016

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