Review: Haircut at Murdock Soho Barbershop at Liberty
Published 1 July 2012
I’ve been going to barbers to get my hair cut since I don’t know when, but usually that involved going to my local barber, who charges £15 or less for a haircut. The result, however, has always been erratic – since I can never remember the name of the barber that cut my hair the last time, and I could never be bothered to book in advance, I usually got stuck with a random barber at the barbershop on my monthly visits.
As a result, the haircut quality I’ve gotten has been a bit erratic over the years – sometimes it turned out just the right length and shape, other times it’s been a zip here, a zip there, and oops…. too short and uneven fringe.
A few weeks ago, with my wedding day coming up, I started thinking about taking my monthly haircut up a notch and finding a top-end place to get my hair cut. I certainly didn’t want to look like some hobo on my wedding day – especially since the professional wedding photos will probably end up being judged and critiqued by the extended family for years to come. So I started looking for a barber shop. Why a barbershop rather than a traditional hairdressers? Well, I wanted a place that specialised in men’s hair – a place that really knew what to do with any type of men’s hair that one could throw at it, and still come up with something sleek.
I found Murdock London through searching on the internet and reading lots of reviews. The fact that they had expanded to having several branches across London hooked me – I am of the belief that if someone could make enough money from their first shop or convince investors to pour in capital to be able to open more shops, then there’s something the business is doing right.
Making an Appointment
Murdock also had a simple but great online booking system that won me over – see the list of barbers at the Murdock location that was convenient for you, and choose a time slot. Easy peasy. I ended up going for Jennifer Spiteri at the Liberty department store Soho branch of Murdock, on a Monday evening. I was surprised by how few time slots were left during weekday evenings when I was booking on the Sunday – Murdock seemed like quite a popular barbershop!
One of the most important services that a barber can provide to the customer sitting in the chair is the art of conversation – and Jennifer Spiteri was pretty good at it. Most of the time when I go to my local £10 barber, he/she is more interested in getting the job done in 15 minutes to move on to the next customer and thus apart from the snip of the scissors or the whirr of the electric razor, its dead quiet. But here at Soho Murdock branch at Liberty, Jennifer offered up wide range of topics, and took her time to get the cut just right, without rushing or taking shortcuts.
The cut itself
Before the cut, I had a pretty good consultation about the style I wanted, the type of hair I had, etc. However, I did feel that there could have been a bit more advice or direction – I wasn’t going for a extremely radical change in cut here, but I do like barbers who are a bit proactive and provide some direction or ideas – makes me more at ease that they have a plan of action and know what they’re doing before taking out the scissors. Although Jennifer was a bit short on advice, I think she understood my hair quite well and gave a pretty decent haircut. I have a very thin type of hair and a common mistake made by inexperienced barbers is to cut it too short – thereby making my head of hair too thin and the scalp too visible. Jennifer managed to trim it to just the right length – so not too short, but also not leaving it too unruly looking.
At £42.50 for a shampoo and haircut, it ain’t cheap. So if you’re just after a cut, you might be able to get a similar end result elsewhere for £10-£15. But you do get better quality at Murdock – Jennifer was experienced – and crucially, the barbers take their time (mine took almost an hour), and of course you get a better cut when the job isn’t rushed. The experience was also less boring than usual – and if you’re the type that has a lot to get off your chest or need a pseudo-therapist, the barbers at Murdocks could help you in more ways than just a standard haircut.
Plus, although I didn’t go for the wet shave while getting my haircut, Murdock does offer the two services together, and you can more or less be assured of both a good shave and haircut – something that many cheaper barbers can’t offer.
Overall – I got a good haircut, the bride was happy, I turned out pretty good in the wedding photos. But I’m coming up to my next cut – and I’m still sitting on the fence on whether to go back to Murdocks at £42.50 a pop or return to my local barber at £10. Comments?