Taking the Ruff with the SmoothBy Iona Goulder
In one of the oldest parts of London, a great British tradition continues. Ruffians, whose Edinburgh flagship was voted the best designed hairdresser in the UK, has just opened a new store in Covent Garden, bringing their stylish mixture of old and new to the modern man in London.
When starting this brand, advertising man Andrew Canon aimed to put the client first at every step, it shows. A selection of St Peter’s British ales are offered, as well as iPad minis to look through as you relax in old padded armchairs to discuss the plan of attack. Ruffians mainly do haircuts, but I was there, for a far more vintage experience. Some people, when they think of wet shaves, imagine a ten-minute ordeal as a elderly man scratches and scrapes at your face leaving you feeling irritated and abused. A wet shave at Ruffians is a fourty-five minute, ten-stage process that is luxurious and relaxing in equal measures.
It all kicks off with the first of their own-brand products, a facial scrub that’s the equivalent of having freshly picked mint leaves rubbed on your face (in a good way). This is followed by the first of three hot towels, in which your barber gently mummifies your face with a soft, steamed towel. After some pre-shave oil to further prepare the skin, the real work begins. A warm and wet face is the key, I’m told as the foam is generously applied using a badger-hair (like literal badger’s hair) brush.
All these creams and gels result in me barely feeling the ‘cut-throat’ razor as the barber slowly chips away at my, admittedly rather pathetic, beard. The shaving process is repeated using a citrus infused sandalwood gel with a positive ionic charge (I shit you not) to ensure every little hair is closely cut. Now it’s time for the après-shave. After a third hot towel, you are moisturised and massaged before cooling off with a final cold towel that helps close up pores.
If you’re still awake at this point, it’s time to choose between the two after-shaves that are, of course, made by Ruffians themselves. The whole experience is a real treat and leaves your facing feeling softer and more touchable then you ever imagined your face could be.
The 45 minute shave costs £45 – it’s a brilliant gift for any ‘bloke’ in your life. If you’re already a bloke and it ain’t your birthday soon, then just treat yourself, your face will thank you for it.