Free Your Hair At This Anti Salon
I've always had really long hair. I find long hair easier to deal with than short hair. Plus it suits me. But there is another reason why my hair is so long: I hate going to hair salons. I have no idea why but I tend to put off getting my hair cut for months on end, in the same way that I put off going to the dentist. I just don't like that hair salon vibe. By the time I pluck up the courage to step into one, my split ends are an inch long and my mane is tangled enough to be mistaken for dreads.
A few weeks ago while wandering down Melville's 7th Street, I poked my head into Freedom Hair, at the back of a small courtyard beside the Hell's Kitchen whiskey bar. I was confused by what I saw. To the right was a cheerful espresso bar decorated with Time Magazine covers, with a smiling barista behind the counter. At the back was a bearded, tattooed man standing at a retro barber chair, cutting a dude's hair.
The barista and the bearded barber greeted me warmly. Grunge rock played in the background.
"So this is a coffee shop and a barber shop?" I asked.
"I do women's hair too," said the bearded barber.
I was intrigued by the idea of getting my locks cut by a bearded, tattooed man - while sipping good coffee - in a rockabilly-themed barbershop that in no way resembles a hair salon. A couple of weeks later I found myself sitting in that retro barber chair, ready for my first anti-salon haircut.
When I arrived at Freedom Hair for my cut, bright and early on Tuesday morning, Lucky, the smiling barista made me coffee. Freedom Hair sells coffee from Sihle's Brew, a Joburg company that roasts a unique African blend and also trains young baristas like Lucky. I sipped my Americano and chatted with Boyden Barnardo, the bearded barber, about Freedom Hair.
Boyden is more than a barber, as it turns out. He nearly got kicked out of beauty school for doing too many mohawks and electric blue dye jobs. Today those wacky styles have become Boyden's trademark. Boyden, who grew a beard before beards became cool, also specialises in facial hair.
After working for years out of his parents' house in Parkhurst, amassing clients via word of mouth, Boyden has finally opened his own shop in Melville. He hopes to combine his passions for hair, coffee, and tattoos; people already come into the shop asking for tattoos and Boyden hopes to bring on a tattoo artist soon.
Boyden massaged my scalp while Rob Zombie played on the stereo - a strangely relaxing combination. He washed my hair and gave me a treatment. I was suspicious: In the past I've paid extra for "treatments" that have prompted me to leave the salon and rush home immediately to re-wash my hair. Not this time though. I have no idea what Boyden treated me with but it was fantastic.
Then Boyden cut and blow-dried my hair - quickly, efficiently, and exactly the way I wanted it. I kept it conservative this time, with a basic cut and some layers. But now that I've found the ultimate anti-salon I plan to be more daring. Next time I'm going for an electric blue streak.
A normal women's cut and blow-dry starts at R550.
Where? Shop 2, 7th Street, Melville
Tel: 082 339 2087
Visit this Melville barber to sip on coffee and have your scalp massaged while Rob Zombie plays in the background. It's actually strangely relaxing. https://bit.ly/2NVQLja