Ruffians have been keeping the gents of Edinburgh looking trim for quite some time now and have racked up an envious reputation along the way, including scooping the accolade of being voted ‘Best British Barber’ – quite tag to live up to! This week I decided to head along to their brand new Covent Garden barber shop to see what all the fuss was about.
The Covent Garden shop sits on Maiden Lane, just a stones throw from the market itself and a couple of minutes walk from Charing cross or Leicester Square tube stations. I had no trouble locating it thanks as I spotted the bold blue and yellow shopfront from the end of the street.
A quick search in wiki will tell you that a Ruffian is a ‘scoundrel, rascal or unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person’. Not sure that I would trust such with a pair of scissors. Thankfully the entire team I encountered could not be further from this description. Led by Andrew the owner and brains of the operation who comes across as very passionate and takes a very hands on role in the business although by his own proclamation he is not a barber. What he is though is an everyday man just like us.
Andrew talked me through the design which includes lots of Scottish twists ranging from the solid oak cutting desks to a box of Tunnocks Caramel Wafers that I spied from the corner of my eye. The shop itself is along the lines of a country pub/manly clubhouse with the essential barbering furniture slotted in. It comes complete with coffee/bar area, open fire and antlers on the wall.
I was introduced to Lily, my stylist for the day. She was bubbly, experienced and immediately set me at ease – something that you do not get in a lot of barber shops. She asked all the right questions to determine my style and preferences. The Ruffians concept takes its lead from the barbershops of old and this is instantly thrust upon you with their ‘forward hairwash’. A technique that was lost many moons ago due to the toxic fumes emanating from the shampoos. The products that they use are all Ruffians own brand too without a toxic ingredient in sight. impressively they are all made in the UK too and partly developed by head Ruffian Andrew.
As a bit of a gadget geek and ocd sufferer I was fascinated/in love with the Ruffians hair hoover. I had never seen anything like it before. It is a specially adapted vacuum device hidden under the counter that is used to get rid of those annoyingly itchy little hairs after your cut.
Ruffians provide a friendly modern approach to a traditional craft and in my opinion they are doing a rather good job of it. I thoroughly recommend a visit.
View their full range of products and services at Ruffians.co.uk.