JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Are Aussie haircuts any good?


Man Scape

A journalist for 20 years and a man for longer, Richard Hughes would never, ever use canned shaving foam.

View more entries from Man Scape

Miguel Gutierrez, aka The Nomad Barber.

Miguel Gutierrez, aka The Nomad Barber. Photo: Lawrence Smith

Wherever and whenever they happen to be, a man needs a haircut. Or a shave, or his sideburns trimmed. Taking this theme to extremes is a young Englishman who calls himself "the Nomad Barber", Miguel Gutierrez, who is on a round-the-world journey of discovery to the barber shops of five continents.

He left the UK last June and headed east, down through Turkey, India, Nepal, Thailand and Singapore, filming a series of eye-popping videos on the way he has posted on YouTube.

According to the Nomad Barber website Gutierrez's aim is to "talk to and learn from fellow barbers in over five continents, discovering how a trade, which dates back to 3500 B.C., varies across the globe". Earlier this year, his trip took him to Australia.

What I wanted to know was what did he think of us - and our barbers?

"Australia has a long way to go in terms of technical ability," he told me.

"Australia currently lacks an accredited course for our trade, so until that happens the proper education won't be dished out.

"Of the barbers I met, Fab at Uncle Rocco's [in Port Melbourne] is an excellent barber, having been taught by his father who's a Sicilian barber.

"There are also people like Ziyad Nicolas, who I worked with in London, who's trying to revive the trade."

And what of Australian men - are we 'on trend' or not?

"I'd say that Australian men are definitely catching up with the trend," Gutierrez says.

"After seeing some horrific haircuts from old movies like The Castle, I'd say Australia is having a much better time with their image.

"Men are more image-conscious now and social media and online content makes trends more accessible the world over. And haircut trends in the UK and Australia are fairly similar at the moment."

Where on his travels was the best cut he received? "It was off a barber called Que in Bangkok, and the best shave off a street barber in Hampi (India)."

Key to the travels of "the Nomad Barber" is the fact barbering and haircutting in general has always been a highly portable skill.

"Yeh, you can literally work anywhere in the world. A haircut is something that everyone needs," Gutierrez says.

After Australia - and a side trip to New Zealand, where our photographers caught him at Maloney's barbershop in central Auckland - he headed to the US from which he has taken side trips to South and Central America.

He due to arrive home in May, and is mulling the idea of setting up in business somewhere in the world - "probably NYC" – somewhere down the line. Though, as he says, after a year of travel he "wouldn't mind living at home for a while".

Speaking of the future, does the man who has cut hair around the world know what's next for men's cuts?

"With the whole hipster thing happening on a global scale I can see beards and moustaches lasting a few more years, but with shaving getting more popular," Gutierrez says.

"I think apart from a mullet most things are passable at the moment."

Where's the most exotic place you've had a haircut?


  • Fab is a deadset legend too!

    Date and time
    March 18, 2014, 1:18PM
    • I got a haircut from a barber in a street market in in Mandalay in 1995. All he had was a chair and some blunt scissors. It only cost 30c but was a very uncomfortable experience.

      Date and time
      March 18, 2014, 1:40PM
      • The best haircut I ever got was from this barber in a laneway off Dutugemunu Street, Kohuwela, Sri Lanka.

        Fitzroy Hipster
        Date and time
        March 18, 2014, 4:09PM
        • There used to be a barber around the corner from where I lived in Footscray. He was locally known as Five Dollar Max. Not only because $5 was the most you would pay for a haircut but the barbers name was........... Max! He was very popular and there was always a queue of local men young and old waiting in his small shop with just one barbers chair. One day there was a sign on the door of his shop. "It's with great sadness we inform you Max died suddenly but peacefully in his sleep last night. Thank you for your years of being a customer." If you wanted to discuss men's business or even gossip, you went to Five Dollar Max's.

          Happy Dude
          Date and time
          March 18, 2014, 4:22PM
          • At least hairdressers here have to do 3 years at TAFE and get a certificate. Last time I was in the UK absolutely no one I went to for a "do" or cut could handle my very thick hair. Lots of hairdressers here can.

            Date and time
            March 18, 2014, 5:23PM
            • It was always a dread/thrill to go to the Barber as a kid in the late 60's/early 70's. Boys always went with their fathers and my Dad would always say to the Barber "Short, back and Sides please"! I always wanted medium short but hey. Loved the tall glass sterilising jars with combs inside them and loved the glowing little heater thing for the scissor. The walls were covered in posters and calendars of big boobed women with bee-hives and men could smoke in the barber's chair. Imagine that today!

              Date and time
              March 18, 2014, 8:14PM
              • Worst haircut I ever had was in Kings Cross. The barber kept hitting me around the eye with a long pinkie fingernail, he walked out to yell aggressively at someone on the phone halfway through. The sign outside said "$10 haircuts" but he charged me $20 (I just wanted to get out of there.) As I walked past the pub next door I realised he'd only cut the left side.

                To top it all off I had an eye infection the next morning, which I'm guessing came from him constantly touching me around the eye with his dirty long fingernail. I no longer try to save money on haircuts.

                Date and time
                March 18, 2014, 8:34PM
                • I found Malaysia pretty amazing.


                  Date and time
                  March 18, 2014, 9:42PM
                  • I've had excellent haircuts consistently in Korea over many years and surprisingly once in China way back in 1977, in a very old-style hutong barbershop. The worst haircuts I had to endure were as a kid growing up in Australia during the 1950s and 60s. The poorly trained, unimaginative sloppy 'butchers' back then could only manage a short-back-and-sides ocker cut, which might have been okay for footballers, but was a source of embarrassment for those of us with broader, more meaningful aspirations. A trip to the barber's in those grim days was a humiliating experience. Once one of those daft blighters got hold of his electric clippers, he went nuts. The sides of your head would freeze in winter and sunburn in summer. Meanwhile, you'd have too much hair on the top of your head which would be gunked down with the likes of Brylcreem or worse. Hideous! Men's haircuts back then were as bad as the food and the attitudes of the day.

                    Date and time
                    March 18, 2014, 9:49PM
                    • Tony of Paris in Vientiane gives a great cut.

                      Date and time
                      March 18, 2014, 10:05PM

                      More comments

                      Comments are now closed
                      Featured advertisers
                      Executive Style newsletter signup

                      Executive Style newsletter signup The latest news delivered to your inbox twice-weekly.

                      Sign up now