Earlier this month I began experimenting with a hair care line called ELEVEN Australia, this brand was introduced to me by fellow hairdressers. At first, I was skeptical, but I picked up a few products and played with them in the salon and was loving the results. The next day I raced to the beauty supply before going to the salon to get more of these products. Over the course of a week I tried the entire line and fell in love with them and the brand! If you were one of the clients I experimented on, thank you for allowing me to try these on your hair and for your feedback. The feedback I received was great, some of the most common comments were; how soft it makes the hair feel, the volume it can achieve, and how beautiful the products smell.
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of hair care companies in the world, so what makes this company so different from everything else on the market?
ELEVEN Australia is a fresh approach to the hair care industry. Starting in 2011 the first product developed was the Miracle Hair Treatment, which has these ELEVEN benefits:
1. Adds extra shine to the hair, as well as smoothness and softness.
2. Controls unmanageable frizz and keeps flyaways at bay.
3. Moisturizes dry and dehydrated hair.
4. Strengthens fragile hair prone to breakage and damage.
5. Prevents the occurrence of split ends.
6. Detangles the hair and helps to increase manageability.
7. Protects against constant heat styling.
8. Enhances natural body and fullness.
9. Works to repairs dry, damaged hair.
10. Protects hair color from fading with UVA/UVB filters.
11. Prevents chlorine and sun damage.
ELEVEN Australia has now grown to a 27-product range for everyone. It’s simple, effective, and of course… Australian. With PETA approval, recyclable packaging, and vegan formulas, what is there not to love at first glance?! With ingredients like coconut oil, argon oil, avocado oil, organic cucumber, shea butter, silk amino-acids and so much more, these ingredients are used to create, anti-fade for chemically colored hair, moisturizing and hydrating properties, and repairing and replenishing qualities, designed for all hair types and textures.
This is also a company who sees the importance of giving back, every year ELEVEN and their participating salons take part in Style for Life. Style for Life is an ELEVEN Australia and HAGAR initiative. Hair salons give up their time on a Sunday and donate the proceeds to Hagar. What is Hagar? Hagar is an international organization that works to restore the lives of women who have survived severe abuse including slavery, human trafficking, and domestic violence. Hagar works in Cambodia, Afghanistan and Vietnam and provides specialist trauma counselling, intensive education programs and career training opportunities for people who would otherwise have no chance for the future. The money raised from the annual Style for Life event provide survivors of human rights abuse the opportunity to learn a skill, like hairdressing, giving them purpose and helping restore their lives.
As a hairdresser I want to take my skills and passions to create a sense of purpose, identifying problems in the world and helping solve those problems with the skills available to me. Using products that solve our hair problems is great but taking it to a macro level and supporting a company that helps stop human rights abuse, that’s a positive impact in the world I need to support. Earlier this year I held my Cuts for Cause month, where I donated a portion of my proceeds to CAWS and Volunteers of America. This is future of hairdressing as I see it, giving back to the community, creating a better tomorrow for all of us.
This is why I’m deciding to support ELEVEN and use their products, not only because of the performance of the products, but the performance of the company. I am excited to say that beginning this week I will be carrying ELEVEN Australia hair products in the salon and offering it to all my clients! As many may know I was a huge supporter of the UNITE products, I still love them, and Shear Excellence will continue to carry the brand (so for those of you obsessed with 7-Seconds can still purchase it through the salon). I have used UNITE products and worked for the company for the last 9 years and even though they have great products and have provided me with such amazing opportunities it was time to branch out, try something new, and grow with the hair industry.
To learn more about ELEVEN please see the attached videos below that introduces you to the company, the REMIX hair collection, and a recap video from Style for Life 2018. I hope you will love this company and their products as much as I do.
Until next time, keep living, keep learning, and keep loving.
Today, in western civilization men have a variety of options where to get a haircut, they can walk into a Supercuts and pay $7.00 for a basic, quick, haircut. They can go into a salon and pay around $30.00 for a shampoo, haircut, style, or go into a barber shop, also pay around $30.00 and receive a nice barber cut. Each option has a different experience and result, for example, a barber shop is specifically catered towards men and will most likely provide products that have a more masculine scent, an environment where sports are on the tv’s, a haircut executed with clippers and straight razors, and may even provide whiskey to their clients. A salon on the other hand maybe more relaxing, with their head massages, softer music playing, scents of a variety of masculine and feminine, and of course male and female clients. Lastly a Supercuts or Great Clips will be the cheapest, quickest option for those clients who do not like to pre-book appointments and needs a quick, easy haircut at a very reasonable price.
There haven’t always been so many options to get a haircut, over the last 700 years the barber and beauty industry has evolved and grown into this amazing, multifaceted community that is continuing to grow and change with the needs of the clients, fashion, and economics.
Today I want to dive into the barbering industry and see how it became what it is today.
Within the last ten years the popularity of barbershops has exploded in the United States, coming from the 1990’s a lot of men had longer and messier hair, the shaggy, bed head look was in style for some time and the need for these high and tight, clippered, razored looks were not nearly as popular as they are today. As the trend of high and tights, undercuts, pompadours, and fades came into style the only people who could execute these styles were barbers. People coming out of cosmetology school knew how to cut these styles, but barbers had a step a head because in barbering school this was there only focus, unlike cosmetologists who needed to learn so many other skills. With men flocking to barbers to receive these most recent styles, more barber shops began opening, catering these men and giving them a classic barber shop experience to fit these classic styles that were also seen in the early 20th century. Barber shops like Schorem in the Netherlands, Throne in Portland, to City Barbers in Salt Lake City have all created this classic barber shop environment.
But what does that look like?
These shops are creating a style seen from the early 20th Century, barbering chairs, rustic woods that create the work stations, dress codes fitting the prohibition time, no shampooing the client, offering beer or whiskey, and a lobby that creates the sense of community where the clients know each other, and the barbers know all the clients. This type of environment was important in earlier centuries because this is where news traveled or where work would happen. Men would come in to the barber tell the news, gossip, or stories and the barber would share with the clients, or the clients waiting in the lobby would talk to one another and share the local political news.
Up until the 18th century a barber was also a surgeon, because the hair and body was seen as one and indistinguishable. Prior to the 18th century there were two kinds of surgeons; barber-surgeons and surgeons. A barber-surgeon would spend half of his apprenticeship shaving and cutting hair, while the other half was spent doing minor surgeries such as bleeding and lancing abscesses. While the surgeon was in university studying more extensive health concerns like bullet wounds, tumors, fractured bones, and burns. Since surgeons where more schooled they had a sense of esteem and knowledge that barbers lacked.
It was in 1745 when surgeons formed The Company of Surgeons (now known as Royal College of Surgeons) and barbers created the Company of Barbers; splitting barbers and surgeons up forever, these companies still exist today. However, there is still a symbol that exists today of the barber-surgeons, that is the barber pole. The pole represents the common practice of blood-letting, releasing ‘bad blood’, which involved lancing an arm vessel, collecting the blood in a basin, and wrapping the wound with a white bandage. During the procedure, the patient would grasp a pole and grit their teeth. When the pole was not in use, it would be outside with a clean white bandage to indicate services rendered. Later, instead of displaying the actual pole, barbers created a red and white pole to display outside, (red being blood and white the bandage), or sometimes read, white and blue poles, (the blue representing venous blood). In earlier years the pole was a sign of accreditation, today it identifies a barbershop. In 2011 the Pennsylvania State Barber License Law requires that every barbershop shall provide a poll.
Up until the 20th century, African-American owned barbershops were a uniquely American institute. For a freed slave it offered an opportunity to learn a new life and create economic freedom. During the 17th and 18th Century slave owners selected a few of their slaves to be personal servants, these ‘waiting men’ were responsible for keeping their masters well groomed; shoes polished, shaven face, and haircut. Those slaves tended to have privileges like better food, clothing, shelter, and education. If a wealthy master had more than one ‘waiting man’ he would rent them out to other wealthy men. In many cases wealthy men set up barber shops for their ‘waiting men’. These upscale barbershops provided shoe shines, cigar supplies, and baths. Slaves and slave owners profited financially from this. Many skilled and ambitious slave barbers became wealthy enough to not only buy the barbershop, but to also buy their freedom from their slave owners. Successful barbers were able to purchase homes and get their children an education.
As long as the white community associated barbering with slaves, black barbers dominated the trade, even in the North. Between 1860 and 1880, African Americans made up 96 percent of the barbers in Charleston, 30 percent in Philadelphia, 50 percent in Cleveland and Detroit, and 66 percent in Colorado. In the 19th Century African American barbers began serving the African American community. Barber shops became a meeting place for black men to gather and discuss the politics, share information and concerns, or even a place to retreat and relax. During their visit they would sing popular songs, spiritual songs, or folk music. With time the singing became a tradition; they sang a cappella with a four-part harmony, they would dress in a well-groomed barbershop fashion with stripped pants and jackets. The concept spread like wild fire in the 20th century giving the world the barbershop quartets.
Before the barber shop boom in the 18th-19th Century the big advancement in barbering was in the 17th Century in the court of Louis XIII, local swordsmiths developed a new type of folding straight razor that became popular in households and in barbershops. This created two responses, the first being innovative to allow a person to shave their own face at home without the weekly barbershop trip. The second being that barbers took a financial hit because they lost a bulk of their daily clients.
During the Middle Ages was another key moment in barber history. If a man was interested in cutting hair, he would apprentice under someone in the Barber Guild. After a seven-year apprenticeship, he would present his credentials to a committee of the guild. After a review if all the credentials were in order, the trainee would be allowed to be a barber in the community.
The next important date in barbering dates to 3200 B.C in Egypt where it all began. You can read about the being of barbering and hairstyling in my entry entitled Hair History: Let’s start at the beginning.
With such an evolution in barbering it will be exciting to see how it continues to grow. How will it change economically, sociologically, and politically? How will the next stage of barbering affect our community, or rather how will our community affect barbering? It is exciting see all these barbers acknowledging and paying respect to the barbering styles of the past, but I’m more excited for the future of barbering.
Stenn, K. (2016). Hair: A human history. S.l.: Pegasus Books.
 Stenn, K. (2017). Hair: A human history. S.l.: Pegasus Books. P. 75
Image The Schorem Barbershop in Rotterdam
THE GEOGRAPHY OF HAIR
The Geography of Hair is devoted to share experiences and stories in cosmetology and how it has affected people, myself, or us as a society.