He’s cut the hair of Diplo, the boys from Disclosure and the ‘Tumblr Girls’ hitmaker G-Eazy. Justin Howley, owner of the popular Westons Barbershop in Perth, Australia, recently swung by Singapore to celebrate MÜHLE’s 70th anniversary celebrations. As part of the festivities, the heavily tattooed Howley also gave away free wet shaves to the public for a weekend. We grabbed the man for a quick chat about the rise of the barbering culture, the right way to treat your barber and his thoughts about all these pompadours we see on the streets.
Picture credit: MÜHLE
Seriously, what are your thoughts about men’s hairstyles looking pretty much the same now?
I have to agree although I think beards are starting to go away a little bit now – my customers want to be clean-shaven or just have a short stubble. But it’s the same with every generation. You get a trend that comes in. Everyone follows it. Then the trend goes away and a new one comes. Remember mohawks and shaved heads?
You’ve been in barbering for a long time, haven’t you?
I’ve been a barber for 11 years now, since I was 20.
How has the barbering culture changed in the past decade?
It’s grown rather big in the last three years and gone from an old-fashioned job to one that’s modern and trendy. I suppose more people seem to want to go back in time. They want to buy local produce or purchase handmade goods. I mean, you could use a shaving foam and your own razor if you wanted to but many men now enjoy shaving the old-fashioned way – preparing the skin the right way, hot towels, etc.
What about haircuts?
Masculine shapes – short sides and textured tops – are quite trendy at the moment. It’s not for everyone though. If your face is round, you might want to get your barber to go shorter at the side and more volume at the top for a square silhouette. If your face is square, you can probably soften your silhouette a bit with a rounder haircut. It’s all about making the best of your face shape.
So, which do barbers prefer: “do whatever you like” or specific instructions?
I can’t speak for every barber but personally, I prefer if a customer has a general idea on what he wants for his hair, yet at the same time, trust me enough to cut it a bit different from what he prefers if I think it’ll work for him. Of course, having said that, I’m more than fine with men who come in and just leave it in my hands. I’ve had situations where customers want a certain hairstyle even though I know it won’t look good but I’ll go ahead with their wishes. Always listen to your barbers though. Seriously, they know what’s good for your head shape and what’s not.