Product Review: Men-U Synthetic Shaving Brush

September 28, 2011

It's been a little while since I reviewed anything so I though I'd give a review of the Men-U Synthetic Shaving Brushes, which are the type of brush we use in my barbershop (it's spelt with an umlaut over the 'U' but I can't figure out how to do that on my keyboard!).
(image from Men-U website: http://www.men-uusa.com)
The first mayor 'pro' of this brush is it's low price. They retail on the Men-U website for only $20 including a free mini-shave-cream and stand. Which is incredibly good value for what you are getting. The next big plus is the fact that it is synthetic. Some people dislike shaving brushes as they don't like the use of animal hair (more commonly boar or badger, though occasionally horse) but these are a fantastic synthetic alternative. It won't retain water to the same degree as animal hair but I yet to find that a problem as I don't have to soak these before use, just a quick run under the stream and it's good to go. The fact that it's synthetic also means you can clean them. In work we soak everything we use in Barbacide after each shave and these little brushes clean up well. 
Which brings me nicely onto the 'cons'. These are a small knot brush. Now I normally prefer a larger knot for my personal use as my legs have a large surface area but I find that this brush splays quite easily and covers as much as a large brush would as a result. Which, in turn, leads us onto the fact that there is little backbone to the brush. The bristles bend quite a bit and splay out, yet it returns to it's normal knot shape once dry. Some people may find it doesn't "scrub" the bristles enough for their liking as it's so floppy but again, both having used one personally and also on my client's faces, I have to say I personally don't mind. Shaving your own face though I can see how it wouldn't give as much application control as an animal-hair brush.
In terms of lather generation I find it does a fine job. Whips up lather as quickly as my good badger brushes and, while I notice the softness of the bristle quite a bit, I found I got used to it quickly.

It comes in a variety of colours too and overall I think it's a great starter brush, travel brush, or an everyday brush for someone who is looking for a synthetic option.
- BE


Arthur's Day Street Celebration!

September 23, 2011

Like it or hate it you have to admit that Arthur's Day is a brilliantly successful marketing gimmick. For those of you outside of Ireland, Arthur's Day is a day in celebration of Arthur Guinness, the creator of that famous black beverage from this side of the water. Quite simply, at 17.59 crowds gather in the street with a pint in hand to rise the drink aloft and proclaim "TO ARTHUR!". 
It began a few years ago to celebrate the 250th year of Guinness and took off from there, becoming a yearly event. The pub shown at the start of this advert is just beside my barbershop!
Some big name bands play venues all around the city and, to give the massive corporation it's due, they donate all the proceeds from these gigs to a charity that helps start-up companies and charity businesses. 
This year we stayed open during the celebration and as the day progressed we could see them setting up for the celebration outside of the barbershop window. There are at least 6 pubs on our street so the buzz started early on. It began with a few chairs outside, expanded to a whole green area (for some 'Living Streets' festival?) and slowly a few people took a seat and sipped a drink:
Now I must stress that this is RIGHT outside the window of the shop. I took these with my phone while kneeling on our waiting bench inside the shop window. Time went on and the crowds began to gather and by 17.30 we had to take the latch off the door to stop random merry people wandering in! 17.59 stuck and a gentleman dressed as Arthur called time and the cheer went up!:
We all kept snipping on for another hour with the hubbub of the throng filtering in, and then closed up shop and squeezed our way out the door! That's one thing I love about the shop's location - every day brings a different view!
- BE

Missing Person - Steven Trainor

September 22, 2011

Steven's remains were found on the coast of Cumbria. Our friend Steven Trainor’s remains will be brought 
home to Limavady Co. Derry, on Wednesday 2nd of November where his wake will take place at his family
 home. The funeral will be held the next day Thursday 3rd of November at 12:00pm.
For all who can’t make the funeral in Limavady. There will be a Dublin ceremony held on Steven’s 29th 
birthday Tuesday 8th November at 7:00pm in St Mary's Pro Cathedral on Marlborough Street Dublin 1. 
Afterwards there will be a gathering in his honor in one of Steven’s locals The Dame Tavern pub, Dame 
Court Dublin 2.
~~~Hi everyone, I don't normally post anything overly personal on here but I figure the more people who know about this the better.
I went into work on Wednesday to find this poster in the shop window:
Steve is one of the barbers I work with, and on Sunday night he took a taxi to Howth and he hasn't been seen since. His phone has no signal, though the GardaĆ­ were able to trace it's last activities to Howth. We are asking anyone who might have any information at all to please contact Bridewell garda station. Steve is about 5 foot 5 inches and has dirty blonde hair. He has a heavy Northern Irish accent. His family are extremely upset and increasingly worried as each day goes by. There is a facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=280896815271446 where you can download a poster to put up.
Thank you for your help.
- BE

Hair, There and Everywhere

September 14, 2011

One thing they should emphasise more in barber college is how, once you have a career as a barber, you will find hair clippings EVERYWHERE on you for the rest of your life!
Barbers must be very careful not to get hair-splinters trapped under their skin as they will itch and may get infected. I was changing my t-shirt the other day (on my day off, in clean clothes and I had showered that morning I might add) and I felt a sharp needle-like stab in my arm and I looked down and there was a hair sticking into me! However the worst so far was when I was cutting a client's hair last week and I suddenly felt a little hair snipping caught right in between my two front teeth - ugh......
Apparently the girls in work keep their cheap underwear for in work and have a whole other set for their days off. Hair destroys bras they tell me so I must start doing the same.
It really makes me wonder how this woman copes!: Woman Weaves Clothes Out Of Own Hair

Towel Folding Tricks

September 5, 2011

Despite the current state of my bedroom I am, at heart, a bit of a neat freak sometimes. Which is why I love folding the towels in work. My boss always comments on how tidy the hot towels are when I do them and one day I was just feeling a bit quirky and decided to alternate the grey and navy stacked towels I put by one of the sections so that they look like a giant liquorice sweet! And I did rolled towels for another section:
I was chatting to one of my workmates and she was saying how she was making various animals out of towels with her daughter the previous night, so for fun she also showed me how to make a dog!:
Apparently this type of thing is most often seen on cruise ships where the people who clean and tidy your room will often leave your towel(s) in the shape of something cute on your bed. If you go to YouTube you can find tons of videos on towel folding techniques such as this one : Animal Towel Folding Video but I love this very simple one using just a face towel:
I hope you all have some fun at least watching these!
- BE