A LOCAL barber is aiming to prove he is head and shoulders above some cut-throat competition as he bids to be named Scotland’s Best Wet Shaving Barber.
Mako Ahmed, 38, of Elm Row’s Venus Barbers, will be representing Edinburgh in a contest which will see him demonstrate his shaving skills inside a boxing ring.
Once thought to be a dying profession, wet shaving has seen a recent resurgence in popularity, with the number of British barbers offering the service – performed with a traditional straight razor – jumping 50 per cent in the last year.
The sudden boost has been put down to the rise of the “meterosexual” male and the added pressure to always look good that has been heaped upon the snap-happy Facebook generation.
Mako, whose comes from a family of barbers and has been cutting hair and shaving faces since he was 17, said: “When I saw the advert for the competition I knew I had to enter, so I asked one of our regulars if he would mind us filming his next appointment. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to show off my wet shaving skills and show the country I’m a cut above the rest.
“We’ve got a growing core of customers who keep coming back for our wet shaves, but I’m always looking for opportunities to expand our business even further.
“A wet shave really helps you look and feel your best, and many customers tell me they find the process very relaxing.
“I am passionate about my trade and want to use this competition to build my reputation as one of the best wet shaving barbers in Scotland.” Should he make the cut and win the regional heat, being held in Manchester on March 24, he will then go to the national competition to battle it out to be named The Best Wet Shaving Barber in Britain.
Mr Ahmed said: “I plan some interesting things I’m going to do with my shave at the competition, but it’s a closely guarded secret at the moment. It would be amazing to represent Scotland at the national final in Wales in May.”
The regional final will see Mr Ahmed judged on criteria such as preparation, razor technique, after shave routine, health and safety and efficiency. But in the final, an extra twist will have the shavers on a knife edge, as they compete in a special “speed shaving” tournament, held inside a boxing ring at Barber Connect 2014 at the Celtic Manor Hotel in Wales.
Mike Taylor, director at the British Barbers’ Association, said: “The competition promises to be not only a celebration of the most creative and innovative of British wet shave barbering, but also a showcase of the growing global reach and talent of the UK cut-throat shaving industry.” As well as being named Britain’s Best Shaver and winning £3000 worth of grooming products, the winner will also star in a shaving commercial for leading brand, The Bluebeards Revenge, who organised the competition with The British Barbers’ Association.
Nick Gibbens, marketing manager at The Bluebeards Revenge, said: “We connect with the funky, young new generation of barbers who are the future of the industry. We aim to inspire these youngsters and create a legacy on the back of a re-birth of the almost lost wet shaving barber skills.”