I need a haircut. Actually, I need a haircut every two and a half weeks to resemble a man that somewhat looks my age. I have already tried multiple styles in my lifetime: the 3×4, gupit binata or the famous barber’s cut, flattop, crew cut, and I have also grown my hair long.
There was actually a time in my life when I took really good care of my hair, only visiting salons when I grew it long; but nowadays, I’m happy paying 70 pesos (or 50 pesos and below, depending where you are from) whenever I visit my neighborhood barbershop.
Grooming Legends was a pet project that was supposed to be a bar turned boutique barbershop. Everything is still quite fresh and new; you’ll expect there to only be a few visitors. It also looks a bit intimidating as it looks and feels high class, but the place fills up quite quickly in the afternoon. Let me tell you why.
First impression when I stepped in was excellent. The barbers (if not busy) will greet you and welcome you in, and then they will ask what your order of the day is. The second thing that you’ll notice is the very classic motif that resembles the simpler times of the 50s and 60s, from the classic barber’s chair to the solid metal ceiling to electric fans to a front cut of a Volkswagen Beetle on the wall.
Safety and cleanliness is always top priority here. The barbers always make sure that they disinfect themselves before touching the client and every tool is soaked in Barbicide to kill any germs, fungus, or bacteria. Every blade used will always be a fresh set and these are some of the small things that add up to make you feel special during every haircut session.
Prices are relatively and surprisingly affordable. For Php200, you’ll get the usual cut and rinse but I recommend going for their Php300 “Signature Haircut” to get the complete Grooming Legends package: a choice between a refreshing lemon iced tea or a cup of freshly brewed coffee, the haircut from their “Modern Man Haircut Diagram” or whatever your instructions might be, a facial with a hot towel treatment, and a quick upper body massage. They also have other packages if you want to get pampered like a king, but that is another story for another time.
Aside from myself, I brought along two friends in dire need of a haircut, as well. I was able to convince John to be a bit more adventurous this time and try something outside his comfort zone, while Karl got a low fade comb over suitable for his corporate lifestyle.
I wanted something clean, different, and sophisticated for a 14-year-old boy, so I asked their head barber Kuya Leo for his thoughts and we decided to go for a Mad Menesque look: the classic hair cut with stiff back. The boy declined the facial with a hotel towel and the massage, though.
Karl got the Signature Haircut package, so he enjoyed a cup of coffee, a facial with a hot towel, and an upper body massage, which I honestly think is quite affordable, especially for the quality of service that comes with it. Heck, he even said the service that he got was comparable to other more expensive barbershops in the Metro.
When it was finally my turn, I also chose the Signature Haircut package and instead of my criminally usual “Barber’s Cut“, I wanted to get something along David Beckham’s modern pompadour haircut. Unfortunately, the top of my hair was a bit short, so I opted to have a high taper fade side part cut instead.
To cut the story short, the haircut was excellent, my face was refreshed, I felt like a new man, and I possibly found my new barbershop. I might also purchase some of their consigned water-based pomade for Php300 and Php500 on my next visit since hair wax does not cut it for me anymore.
Here is the most fun part of going to a barbershop, though: the interaction. Aside from just being a client, interacting with your barber is a great way to establish rapport and trust since this will form a bond between the barber and the client. Not only will the client benefit from this, but the barber will also get a loyal patron.
It was fun interacting with Kuya Leo since he has more than 25 years of experience in the industry and has mostly done it all, from cutting hair of an army battalion to becoming a hair dresser at a salon. We also talked about leveling up his game and the resurgence of the modern yet old school barbershops after what I call “The barbershop purge” of 2000 when I noticed that there were fewer barbershops around. With this resurgence, though, comes better payout for the barber who will overall provide a better quality of life for him and his family.
And look at that, the shop filled up during the two hours of our visit.
Chatting with the owner, I found out that their future plan would be to transform Grooming Legends to a full-blown haberdashery since there is still plenty of room at the back for tailoring custom suits and fitting for custom shoes. Yes, here, I came in as a modern man and left legen-wait-for-it-dary. Sorry, I just had to do it.
3659 Bautista St, Makati