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The Barbershop Renaissance and Men’s Grooming Revolution, According to Fellow Barber’s Sam Buffa

For a long time, men didn’t have a lot of tools for taking control of their hair. We used to only have two options when commissioning a haircut: you either head down to your local barbershop for an affordable fresh fade with inconsistent results or spend an arm and a leg at a beauty salon for a refined, classy clean-up and some styling product. Nowadays, though, upscale barbershops for men can be found in every major city across the country because innovative brands like Fellow Barber are re-creating the experience for the modern gentleman.

We get it, going to get your hair cut can feel like a chore. It’s a necessary one for keeping up your appearance, though, so it’s important to make sure your experience is joyful and leaves you contented. Fellow Barber provides exceptional customer service; versatile, talented hairstylists; and superior products.

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A haircut from Fellow Barber will cost you anywhere from $35 to $60, and you used to have to give up more than just the money. For a while, Fellow Barber didn’t take appointments (they do now), so at every one of its shops, you’d find clients waiting in line anywhere from one to two hours just to get a cut.

We know what you’re thinking. Who in their right mind would wait in line to get a haircut? But it’s not just about getting a haircut; it’s about getting the haircut you deserve.

Founder of Fellow Barber and former motorcycle endurance racer, Sam Buffa, got his feet wet in the grooming world with his first shop in the back of Freemans Sporting Club for like-minded friends from the area.

“At the time in 2006, there wasn’t a place where I could get a good haircut without going to a salon,” Buffa tells The Manual. “One night, I was having drinks at Freemans Restaurant with the owner when he mentioned he wanted to open a men’s store for his clothing line Freemans Sporting Club. I suggested that we do it together: men’s suiting up front, barber in the back. At the time, this was a brand-new concept that helped not only launch Fellow [Barber] but really was the beginning of a movement in grooming.”

Buffa’s creation quickly morphed into Fellow Barber’s first shop on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 2006. The goal was the same: to open a spot for the modern man who was seeking the communal atmosphere and grooming rituals of an old-school barbershop, but also had a desire for higher quality standards for hair techniques and styling. In fact, Buffa is credited as the man who pioneered the thriving barbershop renaissance we see today.

Fellow Barber has now grown to 11 locations, each hosting its own eclectic aesthetic to match its neighboring community and clientele. Every shop is staffed with highly trained hair stylists that do it all. From straight-edge razor shaves, closed-clipper cuts, and fresh fades, Fellow Barber’s coiffeurs will deliver.

In addition to serving up fresh haircuts, Fellow Barber started vending its own line of grooming goods. These products are a result of the same mentality Fellow Barber began with: have an open dialogue with its clients in order to supply men with an easy-to-use product that is both robust and effective. From no-frill hair washes to an array of styling creams, the Fellow line is always evolving in order to provide everything a man needs for a healthy and tamed head of hair.

“We felt the industry has been elevated in terms of packaging and marketing but not inventive in the actual product and ingredients,” says Buffa. “Our goal is to create cleaner products that wash out, and, ideally, you use less of them because they’re better for you. [The] Summer Wash and Winter Wash are the perfect examples of this. We want you to wash less and find the product that works for you seasonally. Most people have been trained to over-wash their hair, which promotes poor hair health and is a waste of time and money. Plus, they don’t react to the changes in weather. You might notice you have drier skin in the winter, but just ignore how your hair changes, too? It’s so obvious once you see it.”

When temperatures change, your hair and scalp will react, so it’s important to make appropriate changes. Fellow Barber’s Summer Wash and Winter Wash offer flexibility when dealing with the seasons.

Unlike many shampoo formulas on the market, the Summer Wash boasts a lightweight viscosity that gently washes with nourishing ingredients — coconut-derived surfactants, zinc, rosemary leaf, jojoba oil, and more — that don’t strip your hair of all your natural oils. The result? A full, healthy head of hair that is easier to style. The Winter Wash is crafted with a different goal, boasting hydrolyzed plant proteins, amino acids, and a trifecta of vitamins (A, C, and E) that strengthen, condition, and protect your hair from the damage-inducing effects of the harsh winter climate.

After you cleanse your hair with one of the Fellow line’s washes, you can choose from one of its versatile styling products that are as effective as they are easy to wash out. Whether you enjoy a stronghold pomade, a lightweight styling cream, or something in between, Fellow Barber’s collection of hair styling goods will have something for you.

We absolutely love the Hybrid Clay for medium hair lengths. It’s a water-based product packed with Bentonite clay and beeswax that will texturize your hair and supply the strong hold you desire without all the shine and drag. If you’re searching for something with more definition and sculpting ability, the Strong Pomade formula is great for even the wildest of hairstyles. The Texture Paste is the most versatile option in the Fellow line, featuring a medium hold and semi-matte finish that is suitable for most hair types and hairstyles.

Buffa has a few go-to goods in the Fellow Barber grooming collection, too.

“I’m a ‘wash your hair once a month’ kinda guy, so right now I’m using Fellow Summer Wash and Styling Cream,” says Buffa. “My hair is generally mid-length to long, so I like to let my hair’s natural oils help with my styling. If I feel like my hair is getting too oily but I don’t want to do a complete wash, I use our Everyday Tonic on my face and hair when I get out of the shower.”

Since its start, Fellow Barber has continued to push boundaries and challenge the status quo of the grooming world in order to educate its clients toward a more holistic approach to grooming. The Fellow product line is a game-changing collection of innovative goods that heightens your grooming experience with simple solutions.

Buffa and his Fellow Barber brand have expansion plans in the future, on both the store and product fronts. Until then, give Fellow a try and see what a healthy head of hair can do for you.

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