StyleBlueprint is making its way into uncharted territory: the mystifying (and more complex than you’d guess) world of men’s hair salons and barber shops. With the popularity of the beard and the emergence of the “man bun,” trendy men’s hair salons and barber shops have taken off. But what exactly does go into the specifics of a hair salon or barber shop that caters to the modern male? StyleBlueprint investigated all of the ins and outs of the men’s hair salons and barber shops in Louisville and were surprised at all of the nuances in services and styles among them. Evident in the sheer amount of services offered (we’re talking beard maintenance, gray blending, ear waxing, brow care — and that’s not even covering products!), it’s apparent the days of “high and tight” male hair simplicity are behind us.
Before we dive into the world of men’s hair, let’s lay out some basics. By Kentucky’s laws, a barber shop can only be licensed to use a straight-edge blade for shaves. Salons have chemical (hair color) and manicure licenses. Navigating Louisville’s male hair scene showcases three types of establishments:
- Barber shops: hair cut, shave, beard trim
- Salons: chemical, manicure but no straight-edge razor
- Hybrids: straight edge razor, chemical license
Alright, on with the program. Here are some great places to get your man spruced up.
Louisville Barber Shops and Salons for Men
1233 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 632-2467
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
As rock ‘n’ roll music accompanies the din of hair dryers and electric clippers, upon entry you quickly realize this is not your standard barber shop. Highlands’ own Derby City Chop Shop provides a hard-core edge on the retro barber shop experience.
At Derby City Chop Shop, there is a lively crowd of barbers and an eclectic array of customers hanging out until it’s their turn under the signature straight-edge blade. From 10-year-old polo-clad boys to men sporting 12-inch marvels of bearded excellence, Derby City Chop Shop feels more like a party than the trimming chore men often lament. Music lovers also can rejoice because LPs are sold at the shop. The owner pulls from his personal collection and partners with local downtown Coffee Shop Please & Thank You to contribute an interesting array of vinyls for their customers to purchase. Expert barber, Dakota, explains the unique idea behind Derby City Chop Shop. Their vision mixes ideas such as freedom of expression with creating a space that diverges from the norm to fit a specific client base that matches both the personality of the staff and their happy customers.
In accordance with its atypical style, Derby City Chop Shop also defies standard salon and barber shop hours by being open on Mondays. And at $17 a cut, the shop provides an affordable yet unforgettable experience with their friendly staff and evocative aesthetics. Follow Derby City Chop Shop’s adventures on Instagram and Facebook.
748 E. Market St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 589-002
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Closed Sunday and Monday
On the corner of Shelby and Market streets, nestled in by NuLu favorites Louisville Beer Store and Revelry, lies the upscale yet rugged Market St. Barbers, providing their own luxurious spin on the traditional haircut and shave. An upside-down Harley Davidson and cow print cushions offset the broken brick and concrete walls for a space that exudes a perfect combination of laid-back yet lavish. Described by their customers as the ultimate hybrid between a salon and a barber shop, Market St. Barbers provides hair, beard, color, chemical and facial waxing services.
This posh hybrid serves both men’s and women’s needs in hair care; beards have taken off with men, while shorter hair for women has also surged in popularity. Longtime barber, Anne, who rocks her own pixie cut, describes how “women with short hair are starting to realize the barber shop over a salon is a more viable option.” She explains that, although they are licensed to do chemical and straight-razor shaves, as well as facial massages, they lack a manicure license. That being said, they provide a perfect blend between barber shop and salon.
Located in the heart of NuLu’s art district, Market St. Barbers’ vision celebrates music, community and artistry. This past June, they even had their own customer appreciation event at Mercury Ballroom that featured country rock sensation the Turnpike Troubadours! And, with two lines of products, 18.21 Man Made and the pomade and shaving cream line Suavecito, customers always can count on a quality salon-level treatment with the tools and techniques of your old-fashioned barber. Keep up with Louisville’s trendiest barber shop, Market St. Barbers, on Facebook. For the full price list, visit their website.
11770 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 • (502) 807 1009
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Louisville’s latest barber shop to hit the town, Handsome Fellows, evokes a certain authenticity of old-school barber shops that makes us yearn for simpler times. Free of frills and gimmicks, Handsome Fellows is all about the classic barber shop experience: the signature barber reclining chairs, reasonable prices and good conversation. Handsome Fellows embodies the motto “Keep it simple” by pursuing a classic business model of friendly service, fair prices and, most importantly, sticking with what works: the traditional straight-edge razor. The owners noted how the original straight-edge razor had fallen out of fashion in recent years and it’s Handsome Fellow’s aim to bring back this “lost art form” that yields such a superior shave.
Going back to basics has fared excellently for Handsome Fellows, attracting none other than some of the the soccer studs of Louisville City FC! From young athletes to older gentlemen who have finally found a barber using the straight-edge razor they grew up with, this Middletown barber reels in their satisfied clientele with just three services: haircuts ($14), shaves ($16) and beard trimming ($6). Handsome Fellows also supports fellow local businesses by retailing Gage For Men hair products from Louisville’s seasoned hairdresser Bennie Pollard.
312 W. Chestnut St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 584-2489
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If you like sweet soul music, friendly service and a haircut at a great price point (starting at $20), Big City Styles can manage all of your hair, nail and beard needs. Open since 1998, Big City Styles has grown from simply an R&B enthusiast salon to a major collaborator with Louisville’s soul scene. Owner Julius Wilkerson explains how his customers’ love of soul music while they received their hair treatments and cuts transformed into the partnership and dual ownership of The Soul Lounge Louisville — a hub for “jazzy, poetic, soulful entertainment and cultural art at its best.” Big City Style’s inviting lounge area moonlights as The Soul Lounge, where poetry and music acts have been celebrated together at their events.
So, whether your desire is a fresh clean cut, trim or manicure or you’re simply satisfying your musical and artistic outlet, Big City Styles is the barber and nail salon for you. Explore their website for the complete list of prices and services. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
Westport Village, 1301 Herr Lane, Suite #160, Louisville, KY 40222 • (502) 257-0077
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon in Westport Village, luxury is the word. This salon lives up to its motto — “You’re the Man” — by providing their male clientele with the ultimate care and spa-inspired treatment with hair styling, blade shaves and nail/face/scalp treatments, as well as waxing and color.
Everything you see in 18|8 is tailored for a man’s experience, complete with sports, beer and head massages. (To be honest this sounds pretty great to us too!) ESPN plays against a minimalist design of black leather chairs, a handful of old-fashioned barber shop poles and photos of thoroughbreds conquering the best two minutes in sports. Men clad in cozy black robes sip Louisville’s own Goodwood Lager and enjoy buttery popcorn and their complimentary massage. Life is good at 18|8. (Seriously can I go here?)
Owner Jennifer Gerou-Thauberger explains the phenomenon of men’s salons’ rise in popularity: “Men’s grooming is really on the upswing. From new products to social media and fashion — it’s everywhere. The men’s grooming revolution has really taken off. There are plenty of places for women to go and get that specific salon experience. And as some men have now taken interest in their personal grooming too, they want to go to a place that specializes in them specifically and has all of their products in tow.”
Even more reasons to love 18|8: their “Executive” cut additionally features a neck and shoulder massage, complete with a hot-towel finish and your choice of a nose or ear wax at no additional cost. Plus, if you need to save a buck, they are always running promotions. This past July, $42 dollar facials were only $20 and, right now, new customers purchasing the Executive cut means your second cut is free. Keep up with these deals on Eighteen Eight’s Instagram 188louisville and Facebook 18|8.
4984 US-42, Louisville, KY 40222 • (502) 412-3748
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Chocolate chip cookies and a facial hot towel? Yes, please! Fritz’s Salon and Spa resembles something more of a cozy family room with its intimate lighting, cushy leather chairs, a stack of newspapers and, of course, ESPN dominating the television. (I’m beginning to see a pattern here with these men’s salons — and I’m still wondering if I can make this my new place!)
Fritz’s recreates the comforts of home that all men love. From its signature “Fritz’s Hair Cut,” delivering a cut, neck shave, shampoo, scalp massage and hot-towel finish — and ending with their freshly baked cookies. Fritz’s makes it their mission to provide quality hair care in an environment that puts men at ease — even their lighting lacks the bright florescent setup of your standard salon. Mindful of their dedication to make hair care maintenance for men as convenient as possible, they don’t follow the typical salon hours and are open every Monday until 8 p.m.
Best of all, Fritz’s gives out complimentary goody bags to all of their clients. They were even so kind to give me a Fritz’s swag bag, which includes samples of their top-of-the-line brand Dermalogica, coupons for special deals and candy. Fritz’s Salon and Spa for Men also has a membership program that includes numerous benefits for an affordable price, as well as discounts on services when you refer a friend. Even if you aren’t a member, you can get Fritz’s Rewards Points, redeemable for great gifts of anything from a free brow wax to pedicures, massages and facials. Getting points is as easy as pre-booking your next appointment or trying a new service. You also can rack up those points by purchasing their products, such as superior electric razors and organically infused product line J Beverly Hills.
What’s our conclusion? We need to go to some of these salons! They are incredibly nice and offer great customer service. But seriously, it’s nice to have such fun, comfortable places in Louisville to get our men looking top-notch.
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