Mankind Grooming Studio: Toronto’s Best Shave

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.

Comments

5 thoughts on “Mankind Grooming Studio: Toronto’s Best Shave

  1. Funny that this article came out today as I went to Mankind on Friday – was my first time and they got me in for a last minute haircut – I went on recommendation by friends. Place was cool looking, staff were beyond friendly and I was awed by the size of the TV – every guys dream setup. As for the haircut, the experience was great – After seeing all the women in my life pamper themselves it was nice to have a little time spent on me. April wielded her scissors and I walked away with the best haircut I’ve had maybe ever. Don’t expect to be in an out in a flash tho, enjoy the experience and relish in the moment, something that us men don’t do enough of these days. Mankind is my new spot when it comes to my hair – I highly recommend it!

  2. I went for a cut with April about two weeks ago, definitely the best stylist I have had in a long time. She gave me a wax hand dip and a hot towel treatment on my face. I was so relaxed.
    Amazing!!!!!

  3. I went there for a shave a couple weeks back. The staff were super -friendly. The concierge chick is super hot. Even the owner came up and shook hands and helped out with parking. I thought this was very cool. The actual shave wasnt as good as i thought it would be. The barber used a hot towel towards the end instead of using it in the begining to soften my skin. After i got home, i realized that he didnt even shave my skin properly, it wasnt clean. When i asked the guy why he didnt place the hot towel in the start, he said he was taught differently ~ very rookie-ish. He also kept swirling my chair around, which made me very uncomfortable ~ when i asked him to stop doing that, he again said “but thats what they taught me in school”

    Bottom line: Awesome place, but not too sure about the shaving service.

  4. Decided to check out Mankind as my regular stylist was out of town this week. As with other reviews, service was superfriendly, and both business partners made a point of introducing themselves to me. Well run, nice looking studio – the (friendly) service was as described – offered at a high level of quality and what seemed to me a very fair price for what was offered. The location it self was manly, with nice furniture, great tv, videogames, etc. To top it off the haircut was easily one of the best I have ever received. I will absolutely be returning.

  5. I find that the place is great for men who are not used to going to better (and better priced) salons.  If you’re not used to decent haircuts, facials, or manicures, this is the place for you.  If you need to look at attractive women to feel it’s a place you need to frequent, by all means.  If you need to be treated like a “MAN” from an 80s sitcom, this is the place for you.

    But, if you’re just looking for a great salon, there’s better places to go.  First of all, they spent way too much time making the place look good and hiring attractive employees and too little time working on customer service.  Everyone is a bit snooty for my taste.  Secondly, you can get better customer service elsewhere and the same general services for the same money…only better.  

    I sat there and had the longest haircut of my life.  Not because I was being pampered.  It’s just because it took her that long.  On top of that, they were blaring angry rap-metal while I sat there.  Wouldn’t relaxing music be better?  I was told they normally play rap.  Still not what I’d want to have at a relaxing day at the spa.  Is the target demographic college kids?

    Still, I frequented the place a few times.  I like to help local businesses and live nearby.  Then, a friend gave me a Team Buy gift certificate he bought online.  When I tried to use it, the owner herself told me that the certificates were supposed to be used by “new customers” and that, since I’d already been using their services, I could not use the certificate.  BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE.  Sure, they could talk about fine print all the want, but this was a gift from a friend who knew I enjoyed going there.  It was already bought and paid for.  Why would they NOT want to honour it and make a regular customer happy?

    Nope, they had the nerve to tell me I should re-gift it and “Give it to someone who has never been here before”.  Why would I promote their business for them when they treat me like I do not matter?  I was essentially told, “we did that Team Buy deal so we could get people to come here and pay full price, not use the gift certificates on people who are already customers”.

    Oh, just as a side note: I went to this place several times.  I would have become a regular if not for the treatment.  But I should also point out that, despite being seen by the same woman several times, she had no clue who I was each and every time I walked in.  Apparently they are doing well enough to completely forget their customers names and faces every time they visit.

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