Some matters of personal grooming — nail clipping, shaving, and a basic skincare regime — can easily be done from home. Others, however, should really be left in the hands of the professionals.
But out of the raft of salons in the city, which is the best? Fear not, we’ve done the hard yards for you and have condensed our top picks into this handy guide to the best in the barbering biz.
From retro-cool barbers where a visit comes with a glass of whisky or an ice-cold beer, to trendy venues offering everything from facials and scalp treatments; read on for our roundup of the best grooming joints in town.
Kicking off with some new kids on the block, 5000BC is the brainchild of Jimmy de Jesus and Tay Basham. Don’t be fooled by their recent opening though, the Sydney locals have a wealth of experience and have been cutting hair and sculpting beards for decades before striking out on their own.
Managing to rack up an impressive five-star review from over 100 reviewers on Google, the team is quickly growing a cult following for their attention to detail and relaxed service.
They offer shaves, shapes, and fades of all descriptions in lux industrial settings, all served with a complimentary tipple on the side.
Speaking to The Latch, Jimmy told us that 5000BC’s approach is what sets them apart; “we really focus on the consultation and making sure everyone gets exactly what they want.”
He’s not wrong. In the hour or so we spent getting a very attentive beard sculpt, much of that time went into determining the length, style, shape and face of the beard. We couldn’t have been happier with the results and the friendly duo’s banter made the time fly by in an instant.
Highly recommended for a quick refresh, a re-style, or a pre-weekend shape up. You’ll be in very good hands at 5000BC.
The Barbershop, Barangaroo and York Street
Ponder this statistic: the average man shaves an estimated 20,000 times in his life — 20,000 times! And yet, for something so integral in our day-to-day routine, for the majority, we’re not actually told how to do it properly.
Shaving is the bane of many a man’s mornings, a tiresome chore that is rife with pitfalls (think bumps, ingrown hairs and nicks), so perhaps it’s unsurprising that there are so many men sporting shaving rash and ingrown hairs walking our streets. If your home shave isn’t passing muster, then it might be time to rejoice in the benefits of a traditional cutthroat razor shave and let a skilled craftsmen ply their trade on your jowls.
Having already wowed with its ‘barber meets bourbon’ cool speakeasy on York Street, The Barber Shop team have brought their decades of experience in the hair game to an additional location in Barangaroo. And — as with the original — this venue pays homage to the barbershop of yesteryear. As such, you can expect class hallmarks such as a palette of dark woods and white tiles intermixed with cabinets displaying antique barber equipment, and plush, retro leather chairs.
Picky punters can select from a menu of haircuts that includes everything from fades and buzz cuts to beard styling and more. But it’s the traditional hot towel and cut throat razor offering that’s really the star attraction. Blanketed with hot towels, lathered up with warm shaving cream, and inhaling enticing aromatics, lie back in a recliner while a master barber gets to work. Throw in an expertly made martini, dram of whiskey, or G&T courtesy of the in-house tiny bar and you’ll float out on cloud nine.
Adilla Barbers, Double Bay
Nestled in Double Bay, Adilla is the creation of the adjacent (and highly lauded) Adilla Colab hair salon. Focused on modern and contemporary cuts, the team crafts some of the most dapper ‘dos and freshest fades this side of the Harbour Bridge. But, most importantly, Adilla is the barber version of Cheers. A chop shop where everybody knows your name, or they soon will.
Here, the emphasis is on the entire look of a customer, rather than just the haircut, and the team of expert trained barbers will take the time to learn your likes, dislikes and hair habits, to make sure they nail exactly what you’re after.
Catering their services to the modern man, the contemporary fit-out sits in easily with the salubrious surroundings. But there’s much more to this venue than good looks. The team here have cut their teeth at some of the world’s best barbershops and, as such, pride themselves on delivering the goods.
Aside from the usual suspects, there’s a string of cool add ons, including colouring services, traditional hot towel shaves, which include a facial massage, and even waxing to tidy up stray nose hairs and unruly eyebrows — trust us, a unibrow is never a good look for anyone — all paired with a whiskey or an ice-cold beer (both free). And for seriously dapper dudes there’s the house favourite, the ‘Escape’ package.
Popular with regulars, this hero service includes a haircut, wash, style, beard trim or shave, professional steam facial (guaranteed to deep clean and to leave your skin glowing) and the aforementioned waxing. Solid cuts, good conversation, and a stiff drink — what more could you want?
Unoit Barbers, Darlinghurst
When it comes to pampering, women seem to have the bulk of the fun, but a new grooming outlet is determined to readdress this balance. On a mission to “to re-invent the barber and beauty experience”, UNOIT is the newest venue on the barbershop block.
Positioned on the border between Surry Hills and Darlinghurst, this ambitious unisex salon pairs the services of a traditional barbershop, with cutting-edge skin treatments, for both men and women. The brainchild of two long-serving industry professionals, this one-of-a-kind, one-stop-shop appeals to the male gamut with customers spanning from the ‘weekly trim’ types, through to these looking for an indulgent wet shave and massage combo,
A real fresh take on men’s pampering customers can choose from a service menu that includes award-winning haircuts, keratin smoothing, colouring, beard shaping, deluxe cut-throat shaves (which include exfoliation and pressure point massage to finish), Powermix treatments (customised to target specific hair and scalp concerns) and signature shiatsu massage and hair-detox treatments. You can even up the grooming ante by visiting the resident aesthetic team who offer everything from laser hair removal to advanced skin treatments.
But perhaps the creme de la creme service — and one that encapsulates both the UNOIT experience and ethos — is the Boss Experience. A premium package that includes a haircut, deluxe shave and mini facial, shampoo and hair detox, scalp and neck massage in the lie-down shiatsu lounge, plus an actual made-to-measure custom shirt from renowned local tailor, Oscar Hunt.
Spa Q Barber Shop, CBD
Ongoing lockdowns and COVID-related restrictions have seen our collective anxiety levels surge. So, anything that helps alleviate some of this backed-up stress is welcome. Enter QT’s Barber Shop and spaQ.
A go-to for VIP gents, this hidden spa in the heart of the CBD is a real male grooming Mecca. Slickly designed and offering a top-to-toe range of experiences — all geared specifically towards blokes — the space is divided into old school barbershop and modern-day, urban spa.
Kitted out with antique leather barber’s chairs, customised services range from the no-nonsense traditional wet shaves, haircuts and beard trims, to targeted facial treatments. And for an added bonus, every customer gets a glass of neat Chivas Regal on the house. Whether you’re after a classic cut or a rockabilly transformation, no hairstyle is out of reach for the team of cut shop pros. But wait, there’s much more.
Expert shearing and hot scented towel shaves aside, the adjacent spaQ offers a plethora of skin TLC treatments for discerning men. For time-poor types, the Fast Eddy Men’s Facial is designed to take your skin from lacklustre to polished in under 30 minutes, while the more comprehensive hour-long Supernatural Men’s Facial is a multi-action restorative treatment created for men that’s designed to reduce pigmentation and wrinkles caused by sun damage, enhance skin firmness and elasticity, and to lift, firm and help diminish lines and wrinkles. The ingenious facial includes a deep cleanse and exfoliation, specially selected face mask, and a deeply relaxing scalp, hand and arm massage. Add to this an inclusive session in the spa’s hammam steam and ice room, and you’ll go from drab to dapper in a flash.