HAVE-A-GO Gazette business editor Richard Garfield  put his neck on the line for one particular story...

I HAD a very close shave on Monday – and it’s something I won’t forget for a long time.

As it turned out, it was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed.

And it was all thanks to my boss incongruously asking the chaps in our team: ‘who’s up for a cut-throat shave?’ Curious to find out what this entails, but with odd thoughts about Sweeney Todd, I headed off to Taylor Made Men’s Grooming, in London Street.

There, I was in the reassuringly good hands of Luke Ruffell, who has just gone head-to-head with 14 other barbers from the South East in a bid to win a place in the final of the Barber Connect 2014 competition, held in association with the British Barbers Association.

For the uninitiated, I can report that gone are the days of Sweeney Todd’s blade as legislation dictates that fresh ones must be used with each customer.

The 24-year-old barber was full of enthusiasm and explained that the process would take between 30 and 45 minutes.

“My granddad introduced me to straight razor shaving when I was just 13, and at the time it was pretty daunting but after a few weeks I fell in love with the whole process.

“It should never be about how quickly it’s done – it should be looked on as something that blokes deserve,” explained Luke who, critical of the “fast food lifestyle,” compared giving a cut-throat shave to the pampering that women enjoy in beauty salons.

Having examined my three day’s worth of growth, he ascertained how he was to tackle my visage, noting that I had a few hair whorls in my beard, much like you would see on the crown of some people’s heads.

The initial process involved the application of a facial cleaner and the first in a series of hot towels, to open the pores of the skin.

Actually, this proved to be very pleasant – it was as though I was secure in my own warm cocoon, as my whole face was covered, saved for a little hole for my nose to poke through.

When Luke applied the shaving lather, it felt like it was double cream.

“It’s more about the preparation, than the actual shave,” said Luke, who went on to say that the shaving process takes off five to six layers of skin – but not to worry as we have around 13!

The shave itself was very smooth, expertly done with gentle swipes, with special attention around my septum and lips. This was followed up with a aftershave balm, a gentle facial massage, and moisturiser.

I left the Top of The Town barber shop feeling incredibly relaxed, invigorated and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

  • Luke now has an anxious wait to see if he has been chosen to go to the national final at the Barber Connect 2014 show, which is being held at the prestigious Celtic Manor Hotel in Wales on May 25.