I love that I can always rely on Heavyhands Barbershop to make me look half-decent and a slight bit presentable.
I have no beauty or vanity regimen to speak of. Heck, aside from toothpaste, the only product I use regularly is Dr. Bronner’s liquid castille soap, which is very versatile as it is handy. It’s an 18-in-1 soap concentrate that you can dilute for every purpose imaginable, from foaming up for a close shave, to putting it in a spray bottle so that you can shoo away aphids from your pet succulent (I’m dead serious). I’d see a pedicure lady maybe once every 5 years. That gives you an idea as to how low maintenance I am when it comes to taking care of myself.
However, if there is one thing I’d gladly come in for every now and then, that would be a classic fade haircut by one of my trusty barbers over at Heavyhands. Mak Azores and Ez Abinal, the aptly called Masters of the Fade started Slickbarbers Co. along Yague Street in Makati a few years ago, then branched out to their own snazzy place in Mendiola to cater to the UBelt crowd. I’ve been a groupie of this barbering collective from way back when they still had a gig at Tribal Cuts in Robinsons Manila, and I’ve never cheated on them with another barber ever again (except maybe for that one time I couldn’t get an appointment and I had to get trimmed for a wedding — I looked totally ridiculous).
Anyway, a classic fade is something that takes a bit more time than your usual “clean cut” look. A normal cut at Heavyhands takes about an hour or so, which is way more than the 10-20 minutes you would normally spend at a regular barbershop where they haphazardly run a clipper through your hair several times, wham bam thank you ma’am, and call it a day. It’s called a fade because the length of the hair on the sides of the cut is tapered into a gradient, so you can see how the hair smoothly lengthens as you go up.
At first glance, it looks like an undercut, but an undercut would be cut way more abruptly and severely, with the sides completely shaved bald sometimes. Undercuts are so four years ago, by the way. I went through that route, too, and I cringe when I look at my pictures from that era.
Even with fades, you have a lot of different options as to how close the cut is. I prefer a higher, closer because my hair grows back very fast. I also like a higher fade with a shorter top because I am lazy and I don’t alway religiously stick to the two-week period it takes for my trim to look like a messy regrowth. For this cut, I requested for shorter bangs, for days when I don’t put product, and so that my hair doesn’t go into my eyes when I do my Yoga.
Fades are bit harder to maintain than a regular cut, because you have to go back for another trim in two to three weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows. This is not a chore for me, though. I like hanging out at Heavyhands because they always play really good music. I also love the usual conversation with the barbers which revolves around art, bicycles, tattoos and photography – being the true hip crowd that they are.
Then there’s the issue of product. You have to wear your fade with a styling product of your choice, but the perfect coupling for this meticulous cut is a good tub of pomade. You have to style it and make sure your hair game is on point throughout the day, especially if you’re like me and you live in a heat island of a city, and your pomade melts slowly throughout a warm workday. You have to have a comb handy for when it starts to droop. It sounds like an awful lot of work just to look good. Which is also why I don’t have time for anything else.
I like that it’s a polished look that kind of offsets the ruggedness of my usual attire. I like wearing a lot of relaxed black shirts that show off my tattoos, and a high fade complements it to give me a bit of a more put-together look. Otherwise, I’d look like a candidate for tokhang, what with my ink and my rough demeanor.
Heavyhands is a little bit out of the way, but you can always set an appointment through their Facebook page. They also have skating/cycling merch available in their store, together with all sorts of hair and beard products, like pomades, oils and other manly kikay stuff.
The barbering collective started by Mak and Ez from way back have already produced several offshoot barbershops like Southern Town in Muntinlupa, and soon, Legal Cuts in Cavite. They have basically birthed a trendy and fun community of those who like to take an extra effort every now and then to look good. It’s a fun crowd. They usually have events and parties that revolve around mens style and other hobbies, like skating, fixie bikes, streetwear, and homegrown music.
Thanks to Mak, for the photos, and to Matt, for sending these to me when Shareit failed me terribly.
Do you like my fresh trim? Sound off in the comments. Do it!