In these tough, recessionary times, opening a joint that offers $65 shaves seems a bit crazy, right?
On the contrary, says Noel Naguiat, who recently opened Mankind Grooming Studio near Richmond and Spadina. “When are you the most stressed?” he asks. During these tough financial times, he says, an escape from the stresses of life is all the more imperative. “Our mandate here is to pamper the guy,” he says. “Instead of spending that money on a trip to Vegas, spend $65 here.”
Naguiat, who still works as an art director at an ad agency, defines Mankind in opposition to traditional salons. The fuschia accents and emasculating muzak have been replaced with muted colours, a wood bar, giant flat panel TV (Sportsnet on lock, natch) and 1953 Takara Belmont barbershop chairs, complete with built-in cigarette lighters.
But the service – that pampering Naguiat mentioned – is the key. Which is why a haircut, for example, is not just a haircut; it also involves a scalp massage, paraffin hand wax and hot towel (“Alpha Male,” $45). And that $65 shave? It might seem exorbitant, but Mankind masterfully elevates the mundane to the sublime; you’re paying not just for a shave, but for a (very) brief vacation. Thus, your face is prepped with two rounds of hot towels, slathered with a barrage of Gentlemen’s Refinery products and finely sliced with a ninja-sharp Feather straight razor blade. You come away looking – and feeling – five years younger. How can you put a price on that?
Mankind Grooming Studio for Men, 477 Richmond St. W., 416-551-1113.