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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Chaps Male Grooming, Canterbury - The Review

by T W Coombs

The Review, a series of reviews showcasing the places to go and the things to do in and around Faversham, leave your comments at the bottom if you wish.

Everyone is looking for something different, a thing to experience, and for once we are not looking to the future and technology we are looking to the past and some just to the present, the here and now.

One thing that every man should experience at least once is a cut throat shave at a barbers.  These days it is called a traditional shave, but it was just a shave, you are just not doing it yourself at home quickly before you head off to work covered in cuts.  It entails different sections and is relaxing and is certainly a treat, but one that won't break your bank.  The question you have to make sure you get right is where to go? Don’t just rock up at a barbers and get one, you really need to know that they are well skilled, as they are holding a very sharp blade to your throat, so choose wisely.


I have had the pleasure of having a shave a few times, once in Boston at a traditional looking barber shop by a very old man who seemed to be shaking when laying hot towels on my face but the second he opened the razor he was steadier than a sniper.  He was 79 years old and was the best shave in the city, according to him anyway.

It has been over four years since the last time and I have moved since so needed to track down the right barbers for me and I found it, and it looks slightly similar to the Boston shop I attended, the place is Chaps in Canterbury, Kent.

The store front is quite small, but don’t be fooled by the store, it is vast and spacious.  Unlike many barbers this is the equivalent of a ladies salon, booking is better, even though this goes beyond any barbers I have ever been too.  But first I will start with the reason I was here.  I have recently turned another year older so as I treat I decided to get myself a real shave at a real barber shop.  The second I entered I was greeted promptly, my coat was taken and I was offered a drink, so the service was great from the start, with smiles all round from the staff, unless they were busy cutting hair or shaping beards.  I was early so had plenty of time to relax on one of the leather sofas and drink my coffee.  I was seated a bit earlier than my allotted time, but the store was quiet at the time, which was one o'clock on a Friday afternoon, by my barber/shaver Charlee.  Now your barber is key, when having a haircut you need to trust your barber to a point as you don’t want to mess your hair up, so if having a shave you need to trust them with your life (bit dramatic, but sharp knife, skin? You understand).  Thankfully Charlee was lovely and professional so I had no problem with her holding a razor sharp blade to my face and neck.

After a quick chat as she set up the shave was to begin, even though I have had shaves before which I said everything was still explained to me at each step, which is more than I have had in the past.  This was nice as everywhere does things slightly differently.  If you have not had a shave then there are stages, in this case they were;

  1. Oil
  2. Hot Towel (laid carefully in case too hot but was perfect)
  3. Foam, then another Hot Towel
  4. More Foam
  5. The Shave
  6. Cold Towel
  7. Moisturiser with Face Massage

This roughly takes 30 minutes, sometimes less, sometimes more, this can be down to your hair type, how much there is and the closeness of the shave etc. Now the closeness of the shave depends on you, with myself I can shave to basically no hair at all on my face when I do it, because I will shave twice but against the grain for the second go round.  Many people will not do this, so my shave wasn't as close as I could do it myself but it was still quite close.  I have spoken with people who have shaves and it is very much closer than they do themselves.  Also note I did not ask to go against the grain.

The traditional shave is relaxing and it was very relaxing at Chaps and by the end you feel fresh and ready to go and conquer the rest of your day.  The face massage to finish was superb and was so relaxing I could have fallen asleep.  They also do a ‘pamper shave’ which adds in a facial to the mix which I may have to try next time.

The traditional shave is £30 and well worth every penny.  The stores itself offers more than  just a shave or haircut.  They have tanning beds, a treatment room for massage, hot stones, waxing room (which is sound proofed, not for me but if you do wax), colouring etc, it goes on and on.  The full price list and treatments available can be found at www.chaps-grooming.co.uk.

If you are looking for a classic barbers then this is the place, I am recommending this on The Traditional  Shave I had, I can not say about the other treatments but do go and check the place out, I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

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