Is This A Threat To Barbering? Case Study #1


Recently we posted a question on social media that stated “The Greatest Threat To meteor-barberingBarbering Is…” and a few people responded with their perspective and anecdotal information. One individual provided data that we found interesting and shocking so we decided to use it as a case study. We verified the information and found it to be correct.

We are not going to out the individual and we really do not care that he has “success” but the point of the case study is to document what barbers have been saying about their profession and provide evidence to substantiate or refute their claims. We are not judging them but it is important to document the trends of this ancient profession before catastrophe strikes again (i.e. The Great Barber Depression 1960’s-1990’s).

So let’s get to the case study. The subject, from what we found, was a normal looking fella 3 years ago and was proud of his new job at a big box store. In 2014 there were no apparent tattoos on his torso, neck or arms but we may have missed a lower back or ankle tattoo. In 2013 he was an apprentice at a barber shop. This is vital data because it takes about 1- 1 1/2 years to become a barber after the apprenticeship.

Presently, the subject has tattoos that start on his neck and extend down to his fingers. So within the span of 2 years the subject had tons of ink put into his skin. Not sure if they all have deep meanings but nevertheless it happened. The subject has over 30, 000 followers on one social media platform alone! This is a huge symbol of popularity and creates greatest-threat-case-study-1credibility. The subject is also a “celebrity barber judge/educator” at several major barber/cosmo events and is sponsored by a major corporation. Typically to be a judge or educator in society you need education, experience and credibility.

How did this “success” and meteoric rise to being part of barbering elite or a “master barber” occur within the span of 2 years? Once again, we are not judging or hating on them or doubting their “passion” for the game/hustle. What does this case study mean to the ancient profession of barbering? That is a question that we cannot answer and we leave you to make a conclusion based on the data we collected.

Stay tuned because there is more case studies to come…. Why are we doing this? We are not barbers or pretend to be. We have a deep reverence for the ancient profession and believe that history must be documented as it happens and not after the fact.

Hopefully the catastrophe that many long-term barbers have predicted can be averted.

Mr. M

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Barbers Terrorize The Public!

Exactly 137 years ago this article was published in the New York Times. It was believed barbers terrorize headline with datethat barbers use their position of influence over a patron to gain his favor and get whatever they want. It could be getting a job for a friend or influencing social policy. The barber had power and the power was persuasion over the patron that sat in their chair. In the writers mind this was, “terrorism”.

According to the article 78% of the insane asylum patients were in the habit of being shaved by barbers before they became insane and “if this does not mean that to be shaved by a barber is to incur the risk of being barber following patrontalked into madness statistics have no meaning .”

The article concludes by stating that a barber uses his power of persuasion and gift of gab to sell grooming products and that he is able to break a man in order for him to purchase the product “the sale of tonic in the city alone during the period from 1864-1875 was so great that no man who wishes to maintain a reputation for veracity dared mention the number of bottles.”

In 1879 it was recognized that barbers had a place of influence in society but some people viewed it negatively and took it to an exaggerated extend by claiming that barbers were placing people into insane asylum’s because they were talking their ear off and driving them mad with conversation and constant manipulation.Barbers suround

I believe the article reinforces the authentic and special place a barber shop holds in society.  The barbers responsibility is not only to groom the patron but also establish a friendship and a friendship that is not manipulative but honest and sincere (for those that want to have a friendship). It’s been said  “they walk in as patrons and leave as friends” according to Danny Becerra from Gentlemen’s Parlor Barber Shop in San Jacinto, CA.

I hope that 137 years from now someone will read an article that I published about barbers and conclude that the barbering revival occurred worldwide and the great tradition did not die out and was upheld by professionals who stayed true to barbering.

May we all avoid the pitfalls of history.

Your Friend,
Mr. M
Ephesians 3:12

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A Trip Down Memory Lane With American Razor Barber Shop

An eight year old boy and his father get ready to partake in a bi-weekly trip to the local barber american razor window for articleshop. As long as he can remember only one barber shop has cut his hair. This particular barber shop is located in a strip mall. As they approach the barber shop the sight of young and old sitting down patiently waiting for their turns as they watch sports on TV quickly floods the boys field of view. Upon entering the shop the sounds of laughter and muffled discussions fills the air. All the familiar smells and fragrances of musk and bay rum rushes into his nostrils as the father and son have a seat. Copies of Sports Illustrated and hunting magazines fill the shelves and it is the only time the young boy will have a chance to read these magazines. Suddenly his father signals the barber and the waiting begins.

Finally it is the young boys turn, as he gets up and looks around the barber shop he is fascinated by all the sports pennants hanging on the wood paneled walls. The only words that he is instructed to speak to the barber are, “please give me a trim and taper.” For the next 30 minutes the young boy sits on the same chair were young and old alike sit. Once american razor chairs up closethe haircut is complete and he has examined it through the handheld mirror the boy slowly rises from the chair and once again becomes an eight year old but his father has given him one more responsibility because he must pay the barber. Not only will he pay for the cut but he will also give the tip. Before he leaves the cash register the barber produces a bowl full of candy and the man-child quickly obliges and walks away completely content. 

Scenes such as these are played out all around the world and the setting may be different but barbering and life go hand-in-hand whether you’re young or old every man needs grooming. It seems like barbershops today are popping up on every corner and sometimes within a block or two of each other. Social media and superstar status have become the norm but in the college town of Fullerton, California one barbershop has been in business for over 50 years and its soul remains intact.American razor bruno spraying bottle

The shop is located  a few miles from California State University Fullerton and Fullerton College. The city has a large college population and many people are only passing through but the barber shop is a constant. During the last 50 years a few cosmetic changes have taken place but the original barber chairs remain. The wood paneled walls and the back bar got a face lift  but the shop layout and atmosphere is the same and the current owner has alot to do with that. Bruno Sanchez has been barbering since 1983 and took over the shop in 2011. Bruno is an old-fashion type of barber with the gift of gab. He may tell you stories that’ll make you question their validity but will be wholeheartedly entertaining. There is no sense of flare or “prima-donna-esque” tendencies. 

American razor closer view of whole shopAlthough Bruno may not have tens of thousands of followers on social media or possess any barber battle belts or trophies the shop is true to professional barbering. Make no mistake this is an old-fashion barber shop. What I mean by old-fashion is not a time warp or leap to another century because this shop is an original 1960’s men’s barber shop. We are talking pre-Beatles and pre-hippies! I cannot remember the last time I saw a shop in person or social media that had live plants. The colors just really pop and I am not sure if Bruno or anyone else realizes it but that is true 1800’s-early 1900’s barber decor. 

The name of the shop has changed to American Razor Barber Shop and is an institution where men can receive grooming services. A place that is not work or home american razor eaglebut is the magical third place where camaraderie and style are intertwined. 

This is my childhood barbershop where I remained a patron well into my teen years and as an adult I have been back a few times and sat in the same chair. I may be older and have a few more accomplishments under my belt but that barber chair is not concerned whether I am a child,  Mr. M, writer, publisher or a filmmaker because in that chair I am a patron. 

Walking into American Razor barber Shop floods my mind and senses with memories of being a child and the awe in which I viewed barbers. That reverence continues because barbering is sacred and vital in all communities. I am sure if anyone would have american razor bruno laughingmentioned barbering as a “game”, “hustle” or “brand” in this barber shop back in the day they would have been ridiculed and badgered.

I hope that barber shops, wherever they may be, will be encouraged to develop an institution that is built upon tradition and is conducted in a professional way because you never know who that child may grow up to be. Maybe a man who will one day write about you for his website and barber magazine. Never underestimate the influence of this ancient profession known as Barbering. Thank you for taking the trip down memory lane with me. 

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Are Cuban Cigars Good Because They Are Forbidden Fruit?


In the early 1960’s American culture was conservative and the hippies and beat-nicks had not made their impact upon the world. The Super Powers (USA and Soviet Union) were engaged in a race to land on the moon and the birth control pill was approved by the FDA. These events were pre-1962 in which the Super Powers had a missile crisis in Cuba H. Upmannthat led to the USA imposing a trade embargo against Cuba.

Before President John F. Kennedy signed the trade embargo he sent his press secretary to buy 1,200 boxes of H. Upmann Petit Coronas, Cuban cigars, before they were made illegal. This act by the President demonstrated the value and importance of Cuban cigars before politics.

Since 1962 Cuban cigars are no longer imported into the USA. Current policy only allows $100 worth of Cuban tobacco products that can be brought into the country which amounts to 2-6 cigars (depending on quality).

For the last 50 plus years Cuban cigars were a forbidden fruit in the USA. Cigar TBJ Cohiba box and tubosaficionados have differing opinions on whether Cuban cigars are the apex of tobacco but make no mistake the climate, tradition, seed and history is firmly planted on that island and incomparable. Cuban cigars hold such a high regard there are plenty of fakes on the market so buyer beware.

A few online companies sell them but do your homework and make sure they are credible and don’t sell fakes. One great website is who supplied the Cohiba Siglos IV for this article. Make sure to visit their website and explore the extensive offerings and deals.

We have many different cigars in our humidor/coolidor and must admit the Cohiba’s are Cohiba and hatunique. It’s not only the iconic logo and black, gold/yellow color scheme that sets them apart but the quality of each cigar is amazing. The triple cap, embossed label and quality of the leaf is everything a cigar should be.

Much like everything else in life everyone’s five senses will not be identical but Cuban cigars should be highly regarded because the history and tradition can produce one of the best smokes of your life.

Cuban cigars are not “good” because they are the forbidden fruit their reputation and quality is what sets the benchmark for all others. Many companies state “Cuban seed” tobacco that is grown somewhere else which is an indicator of the powerful lineage and that is the true greatness of this unique tobacco that is planted on a beautiful island 90 miles away from Florida.

Mr. M
Psalm 34:4

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Morgan Pipes: This BlackJack Scores 21!


18tolkienpic-superJumboAs soon as humanity was able to harness fire I am sure smoking tobacco soon followed. This long tradition is flourishing today due to amazing craftsmen that are forging traditional tobacco pipes with high grade materials.

History reflects a variety of men that enjoyed a tobacco pipe as a luxury and relaxation. And for many it became an iconic symbol of sophistication. J.R.R. Tolkien (left) the author of the Lord of Stalin pipethe Rings famously enjoyed the pipe. This leisurely activity was not only reserved for the literary minds but also dictators such as Joseph Stalin (right) partook of the pipe.

The pipe is a DIY for tobacco connoisseur’s because you are able to blend various types of tobacco to produce a unique and enjoyable blend. Maybe you prefer a sweeter cherry flavor with a dash of vanilla or you may prefer a strong whiskey blend. Either way you can customize and experiment to your taste.

Recently we received a great pipe from Chris Morgan owner of Morgan Pipes and let me tell you I am impressed. He sent the BlackJack series Shape 20 that is made of briar wood “which is a tumor-like outgrowth that develops between root and stem of white heath (Erica arborea)” This special wood is heat resistant and ideal for pipe making.  The pipe has a nickel silver band and acrylic stem. The construction is solid and well made.

Morgan pipe side viewThe pipe is handmade in Italy to Mr. Morgans demanding specifications with a sandblasted carnauba wax finish that provides just the right amount of matte. Although the pipe is black there is a great contrast with the nickel band and shiny acrylic stem. There is an imprinted Morgan Pipes rabbit on the pipe and model name. Every nook and groove of the pipe declares that it is handmade and produces tons of character. The pipe smokes wonderfully and every draw is smooth and enjoyable.

A major upside to smoking a pipe, besides producing your own blends and looking hell a Morgan pipe top viewcool, is that depending on the depth of the bowl and how much you pack it with you can enjoy on average 30-45 min smoke and up to 1.5 hours.

We highly recommend Morgan Pipes BlackJack Shape 20. All great products begin and end with the owner/craftsmen.  Have no doubt that every detail of the pipe is a reflection of Mr. Morgan’s passion.

In addition to the handmade pipes from Italy there are highly sought after custom one-off pipes that Mr. Morgan produces in the USA on a commission basis. Another great product is the briar cigar that is really impressive. We hope to review more products from Morgan Pipes so stay tuned!  On a personal note I really admire Mr. Morgan because in a day and age where people can become fake or a personality he is genuine and real.

Mr. M
Psalm 30:2-3

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A Cigar Fit For An Admiral

The following review was done by our good friend Elias Kotsios. 

Historical Note: “On the 28th of October of 1492, sixteen days after the discovery of the Indies, Christoph Kolumbus landed in the Cuban bay of Bariay. His biggest surprise was to find indigenous people smoking dried leaves which formed a blue and aromatic smoke. He later discovered that these cigars where used to cure skin illness, alleviate suffering and to celebrate its ritual ceremonies.” From Kolumbus website in which he is referred to as the Admiral. 

Kolumbus Premium Cigars are located in La Palma, Spain. All of their cigars are TBJ II Kolumbus cigars focused lid nothandmade and seasoned in Spanish cedar cellars.  I was anxious to try these cigars, the pictures and description piqued my interest.  The cigar I decided to go with first was the K-Azul Piramide, the cigar had a very nice appearance and had an appealing Connecticut wrapper. During the dry draw there was a vanilla taste that existed and peppery notes were present as well.

Once lit it had a nice smooth draw not too tight and the taste was pretty straight forward, the vanilla was no longer present and my pallet was filled with more pepper and nutty notes. The cigar had a consistent burn with no tunneling and the construction held up well, when a cigar begins to unravel it is irritating for every cigar smoker (I’m sure I’m not alone).  Towards the mid point of the cigar is when I began to notice a difference in the flavor, at that point the vanilla began to slowly come in but it wasn’t overwhelming. I was really enjoying this cigar and it began to become more complex towards the shoulder of the cigar, at that point I was reaching about 40 minutes of smoking.  The end of the cigar Elias screen shot kolumbusdid not change much continued with the well balanced taste that existed from the initial light up, total smoking time was about 55 minutes.

Overall this was a great cigar, I will definitely add Kolumbus cigars to my humidor. It was a smooth consistent smoke the whole way through with a great draw that didn’t tighten up at all. This was their mild strength option, there is also the K-Rojo (mild/full) and the K-Negro (moderate). Stack some of these sticks in your humidor they will not disappoint.  I’m patiently waiting to see what the gents over at Kolumbus cigars have coming up in the future, if these cigars are an indication of what we have in store, the cigar community will be very pleased.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 -SPECS-                                                                                                                                  -Length 156mm                                                                                                                    -Diameter 20.64mm                                                                                                             -Ring Gauge 52

filler from Breña and Claro Connecticut wrapper.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             -Elias Kotsios-

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Building A Legacy Not A Fad


Our good friend Toshiyuki Abe from Kawasaki, Japan is building a legacy that challengesabe and son 1 me to rethink my daily actions and their long term consequences. A little background on the Abe family, Toshiyuki is a first generation barber and his sons are second generation barbers (pictured right and bottom left)!

The importance of passing on family values and the ancient profession of barbering has been successful. People have been doing that for thousands of years and to see a prime example of that is admirable.

For generations barbers have passed on their profession without social media, “barber battles”, trophies, world-wide tours, or a “world-famous” title because there is a seriousness about life and the profession that has outlasted all fads. The lifestyle and work ethic supersedes the popular culture that reduces it to a “game” or “hustle”.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 6.18.41 PMAs men we must think about our actions and the legacy we are creating because no one will live forever but our legacy will. Social media “likes” and viral postings will only last but a moment but the memory of who and what you are is timeless.

Building a legacy will take time and effort but the end result is well worth it. If not now, when?

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A Memorial To A Proud Generation


In America we celebrate Memorial Day as a remembrance of those who have died while Airshow 15 marine planeserving in the armed forces. Recently we attended an airshow that had many vintage warplanes and veterans. It was refreshing to see the older veterans at the event walking around with tremendous pride. It was not arrogance but confidence that was birthed on the field of combat and a simpler time.

Not only were there vintage planes and individuals but also a few cars. Everything was a testament to craftsmanship and airshow 15 old car and planededication to quality. Touching the rivets of a war bird  was magical and realizing that women were the major workforce in the 1940’s (aka Rosie the Riveter!) must not be forgotten.

It does not matter what country you originate from or reside in because every homeland has veterans. The politics and ideology may differ but the fact remains countries armed forces are Airshow 15 man hand on chestserved by their residents.

One individual in particular caught my eye as he stood stoic during the national anthem. The music abruptly stopped but he stood frozen and did not move a muscle. I snapped a few pictures and noticed that his reverence for our country’s anthem and flag presentation was sacred. I wondered what his eyes have seen and what his hands accomplished. Each wrinkle and age spot defied the internet, social media and trends.

Many of the present styles and grooming of yesteryear have come front and center in society. It airshow 15 old man and flagis not uncommon to see individuals with hairstyles and clothing from the 1940’s or 1960’s but we must not forget the generations that forged the iconography that stands opposed to time.

Therefore, we tip our hats to the men and women from around the world who bravely fought and died for their country. Moreover, we honor the nostalgic styles that stand firmly on eternal grounds as a memorial.

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Exploring Japanese Kustom Kulture!


One of the many great things we picked up during our visit to Ed Hardy’s shop in San Francisco, CA was thiskustom japan 1 great book by Michael McCabe, Kustom Japan. The book is published by Hardy Marks and edited by Mr. Hardy.

It is a great book that documents the amazing transfer and preservation of nostalgic culture in the land of the rising sun. Not only have they kept Kustom Kulture alive and well but they have made it their own.

One interesting feature of the book is that it is written in Japanese and English! Talk about dedication to the culture. If you are into Kustom Kulture, Cars, Style, and Art this book is a great purchase! Check out these images.
kustom japan 2kustom japan 3kustom japan 4

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Getting Inked At A Traditional Tattoo Parlor


This past Saturday, we decided to spend a few hours at the recently outside of tip top tattoo parloropened Tip Top Tattoo Parlor in Fullerton, California. The visit to the shop was a special occasion because I had arranged to get a piece done by guest tattooer Lisa Del Toro. I am a big fan of her art and tattooing and having the chance to finally meet her was super special.

Shop owner Dre Perales has a knack for creating amazing shops and is also the proprietor of Tip Top Barber Shop in Whittier, CA. A man of great diversity who can give a great fade and some of the best traditional tattoos around. More than just possessing amazing talents Dre is a stand up guy who operates from an old school belief of fairness, equality, and innovation. The shop exudes traditional tattoo parlor styling with the pinups and panther on the window declaring the mission of the shop, traditional and old school.The shop is all business and does not welcome “Drunk Kids, Brain Vampires”, which may be directed to the large college population in the area from Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College. It is a warning and counseling session all in one, come back when you are serious and sober. Dre is not ashamed to put his tip top parlor counter and flash wallphilosophy on the doors before you ever set foot in his establishment. I would not expect anything less from Mr. Perales.

Once you set foot in the shop there is about 10 feet to the counter with ample seating and iconic traditional flash that is original DP (Dre Perales) and other artists adorn the walls. It feels like you have stepped back into time when shops only had flash on the wall and no special effects or ambiance to lure you in. From the counter you can see the artists only a few feet away engaging in their art, you get a front row seat to individuals who have made a commitment in ink.

I was stoked that Miss Del Toro would be in town for a few days and  agreed to tattoo me. Once I walked in the shop, I am not sure how she knew it was me but, she looked up and with a smile that could melt glaciers she said, “Hello Mr. M!” We have never met but something told me that not only was I at the right shop but the right artist was going to create lisa at tip top tattoo parlor smallersomething special with ink on me. I watched her work efficiently and intensely upon her client as I leaned against the counter like a child on Christmas morning waiting for my turn!

Soon enough my turn would arrive and she quickly ascertained the correct size and location of my tattoo and repeatedly asked if I was ready for it. I quietly wondered if there was an uncertainty oozing from my face. With precision and complete professionalism she began to pierce my skin with the machine and the motorized humm would fluctuate with the change in pressure and stroke technique. We talked about our life journey, ideals, family and peppered with the occasional “Are you ok Mr. M?” Not only is Miss Del Toro a great artist and tattooist but complete tattoohas tons of wisdom that she freely dispensed. Although Miss Del Toro knows alot of “influential people” she does not act holier than thou! The time quickly passed and after a few hours I could barely wait to see the completed piece.

The design was based on a traditional Ed Hardy design with a beautiful Jaguar and snake entrenched in battle. I picked the piece based on a similar painting that I saw at our exclusive one-one photo shoot with the legendary artist and tattoo legend, Ed Hardy (our Winter/Spring issue cover). To have Miss Del Toro create the tattoo on me was special because we “met” on social media a few years ago and I never thought we would actually meet, especially since she is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada and we are in Southern CA.

The Downtown Fullerton community has alot of history embedded into the buildings and streets that continually draws large crowds to the vintage stores, restaurants and shops. The consumers are seeking something that had been lost in America, pride and craftsmanship. Whether it is a barber giving a traditional haircut or tattooist creating artwork on the human canvas, people will always be drawn to quality and professionalism. Dre Perales has created a great shop that undoubtedly continues to create its mark not only upon skin but also in the community at large. The tattooers in the shop are more than able to handle their own, even apprentice “King Curtis (Kirk)” which I barely realized I was mispronouncing his name the whole time. Sorry about that. Thank you very much Dre for getting Miss Del Toro to guest spot at your shop! Miss Del Toro, words cannot express my gratitude for the piece of artwork you created, Bravo!

Tip Top Tattoo Parlor

Miss Lisa Del Toro

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