We went to Salazano and Sons Barber Shop in search of the perfect shave - and found it. There are only a handful of independently operating Master Barbers in the US, let alone Cincinnati, and most of them have given up on the shave. Luckily for us, the practice is alive and well at 201 East Fourth St, Suite 150, Downtown. Rooted in classic technique and a family tradition for over 50 years, the Salazano Barber Shop is the perfect place to learn a thing or two about proper tailoring of hair and beard.
Nicolo (Nick) Salazano came from Abruzzi, Italy having undergone a barbering apprenticeship at age "12 or 13," but the permitting process in America required him to attend a local barber school. After working a manufacturing job and saving up enough money to pay his barber school fee, he emerged to start his own shop. His reputation as the best has earned him the opportunity to cut for numerous athletes, politicians, businessmen, and celebrities. Famed customers include Sam Wyche, George Hamilton, Lou Pinella, General Westmoreland, Peter Graves, and Gerald Ford. Pete Rose's hair during his 4192 triumph was cut by Nick, and how many barbers can claim to have trimmed Elvis Presley's side-burns? I've only met one.
|Domenico and Guido with their Father Nicolo Salazano|
Now Nick's three sons run the shop - Domenico, Guido, and Angelo - using the classic techniques and styling passed down through the family. We asked the brothers to demonstrate the Salazano shave process - something we recommend every man experience at least once a year.
Lean back in the chair and get comfortable. The Salazano Shave will take at least 30 minutes. Steaming hot towels are pulled out of a Bramhall Deane Company autoclave built in the US in 1965. Applied to your face, the hot towel works to loosen the beard and relax the area. Meanwhile, a boar-hair brush whips the shave soap into a rich, warm lather.
While your face is still damp, your barber uses quick circular motions to apply the cream to your face. With a classic-style straight razor, smooth motions cut away the hair. Depending on your skin's tolerability, they may shave against the grain or not, but either way, you're not going to feel any stubble on your face when you leave.
After the blade, a secret Salazano blend of Astringents and Witch Hazel After Shave is applied to help ease any irritation and close up the pores. Between each step, another round of steaming hot towels are pulled out of the Autoclave and applied to your face. Next, a facial mud mask is applied to the face and neck. As it dries, oil and dirt is pulled out of the pores. More hot towels are applied to loosen the mask and clean the face. Another round of After Shave is applied after the mask. Call ahead and they'll mix up some of their After Shave for you to purchase and use at home.
Finally, You can expect a massage of the neck, head, face and shoulders. Your face is massaged using a moisturizer rich in Vitamin-E and very lightly powdered to remove any sheen. Don't expect any redness of the skin. You'll be clean, sharp, and ready to go. Having a razor-sharp blade against your throat couldn't be more enjoyable.