Despite the contemporary proliferation of facial hair, or maybe because of it, there's a measurable and nostalgic return to the art of barbering, including beard trims and shaves, lest one look like a Civil War re-enactor.
Here are three spots in Los Angeles to get a close shave:
Location: Downtown L.A., arguably ground zero of local hipsterdom and showcase of facial hair styles for the West Coast, if not the entire free world.
Ambience: Retro man-cave. Playboy and Rolling Stone magazines are among titles available for those desiring some old-school reading while waiting for their old-school grooming.
Soundtrack: The New Age music was relaxing, but more suited for a spa in the woods than a barber shop in the city.
Barber-ism: "My job is to make sure your skin stays healthy." — Shawn Grant
Price: $30 plus tip
Day of / day after: I arrived for my shave with a weekend's worth of stubble. The shave happened around noon, and by 8 a.m. the following morning, my face felt like fine sandpaper, not much different than the day after a home shave.
Info: 460 S. Spring St., Los Angeles; (213) 232-4715, Boltbarbers.com
ANGELO'S BARBER SHOP
Location: Downtown L.A. in the financial district in a street-level suite outside the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.
Ambience: Your father's barber shop. Wood paneling, marble wash basins, photographs of hot rides and hotter women.
Soundtrack: News and sports radio interspersed with classic rock.
Barber-ism: "This is something that every man has dreamed of trying at least once in his life." — Patrick Ford
Price: $30 plus tip
Day of / day after: One day's growth going in for another noontime shave. My face felt smooth enough to skip the morning shave the next day.
Info: 515-A S. Olive St., Los Angeles; (213) 627-7440, angelosbarbershop.com. Angelo's also operates six other shops in Southern California, including Berkeley Barbers in Santa Monica.
THE SHAVE OF BEVERLY HILLS
Location: Beautiful Beverly Hills, where most unpleasantness has been eradicated. But not whiskers.
Ambience: Gentleman's club from days of yore. Dark wood, frosted glass and subdued (read: forgiving) lighting.
Soundtrack: Jazz with big band shadings, evocative of another era without sounding like a time warp.
Barber-ism: "If I'm trying to sell you something throughout your shave, you can't relax." — Ron Randle
Price: $95 plus tip for the Beverly Hills Shave, which includes a light shoulder, arms and hand massage as well as a mini-facial.
Day of / day after: One day's growth going in for a 9 a.m. shave. I walked out with a face about as smooth as Caitlyn Jenner's. Next morning, I was good to go without breaking out the shaving kit.