Facial hair has become a phenomenon.
There are parties being thrown in its honor and social pages specifically designed to give it praise. More and more men are spending time and money to grow glorious beards, chin curtains or designer stubble.
Although the reasons why facial hair has grown in popularity remains unknown, the trend gives celebrity barber JayR Mallari ways to level up in the grooming game.
Mallari, a Filipino-American barber who has cut and groomed other NBA athletes has noticed an upward swing in the desire for facial hair in the last two to five years. Each year, the trend becomes more prominent among his clientele and other clients in the barbershop.
“I’ve noticed that more men want to explore what kind of facial hair they have in order to figure out a style,” Mallari said. “ So having facial hair is something that men want nowadays. They want to express themselves that way.”
Men are taking more pride in not only their facial hair, but the clean-shaven are also indulging in a healthy dose of self-care. In 2016, an article published in The New Republic declared that barbershops across the country were dwindling.
“According to census data from 1992 to 2012, we saw a 23 percent decrease in barbershops in the United States (with a slight uptick in 2013),” the article stated. When thinking of barbershops in a traditional sense, this is true. But since then, barbershops have upgraded from numbered hairstyle posters to becoming more like salons, offering spa-like packages for clients who desire more than just a basic haircut.
Mallari’s most detailed and tedious package includes a hair shampoo and conditioning, haircut, grooming of facial hair and a facial or face massage, which consists of hot towels to open pores, soften and hydrate the skin.
“It’s really full service,” Mallari said. “I think men nowadays who want to groom themselves are going to spend the money they want to make sure that they are getting the total package of what I offer.”
“I think that it gives a different look,” Mallari said. “You can still have a big beard but you can have it groomed well and it can still highlight someone’s personality. It gives them a little bit more difference, makes them stand out. It makes men feel more exclusive.”
What Mallari does know is that trends continually challenge him to grow as a barber in order to keep his clientele coming back to his chair. Mallari takes pride in detail.
“I had to change a lot,” Mallari said. “Knowing that men want a certain look, I would have to continue to not only promote myself as doing beards, but instead of me highlighting so much of the haircuts while grooming and things like that. During cuts, I do take a look in the mirror a lot and I do focus on symmetry when it comes to beard lines and shaving. Making sure there aren’t any loose hairs and changing the angle when you’re looking at the hair in the mirror. That’s when guys can become particular. Me being a barber is making sure that whether you’re combing it out, whether you’re trimming the loose hairs and angles, all that stuff matters because guys want to still take pictures. If one side of a beard is off than the other, it will be pointed out nowadays. You get called out if someone sees that.”
Whether short hair or long hair, freshly-shaven or full beard, Mallari only hopes that everyone who receives services at his shop walk out with renewed confidence and satisfaction with their look.
“To me, [the style] is perfect if the client’s reaction is priceless,” Mallari said. “That’s when I know I did a good job. I can talk about how much I’ve done a good job and things like that, but when the client’s reaction is priceless in terms of them being super happy, that’s when it’s perfection.”