History of the Barbershop

Barbershops have been around a long time. This institution pre-dates cosmetology as the first form of hair cutting available to the public. The history is unique & interesting as cutting hair was not the only thing happening inside the barbershop walls.

In ancient Egyptian culture, barbers were highly respected individuals. Priests and men of medicine are the earliest recorded examples of barbers. In early tribes, a barber was one of the most important members, as it was believed that certain evil spirits were able to enter a person's body through their hair, and that cutting it was a way to drive them out. Barbers even performed religious rites like marriage ceremonies & baptisms. At the end of these ceremonies they would then cut the hair and tie it back tightly so that no evil spirits could enter and no good spirits could escape.

In the Middle Ages Barbers performed all kinds of services. Often serving as dentists & even surgeons, the famous “red & white striped” barber pole that is still used today, actually signifies that the Barbershop provided 2 services – red for surgery & white for barbering.

By the early 1900’s  Barbershops had become an elegant place of masculinity. Marble counters were lined with colorful glass blown tonic bottles. The barber chairs were elaborately carved from oak and walnut, and fitted with fine leather upholstery. These establishments became a place for male camaraderie & weekly gossip. People during this time in history were very concerned with looking proper & most barely went a week between haircuts. The “cleancut” look was fashionable & most men of this generation kept their hair & beard trimmed.
The invention of disposable razors by Gillette in 1904 contributed to the decline of the barbershop. Men no longer went to their local barbershop to get a “shave & haircut”. After the first World War the steady decline continued, which dropped even lower when the depression hit America in 1929. People began to cut their own hair & trim their own beard & mustache, since they could ill afford going to the barbershops.

In modern times, you can still find a barbershop. They may not be on every corner like they were in the past, but you can usually find at least one in every major town or city. There are even establishments that house both a Barbershop on one side & a Beauty Salon on the other. If you live in the Suffolk, VA area & you are looking for a barbershop that caters to your hair, skin & body, contact Remedies Salon Spa & Barbershop.


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