Kaysville barber shop caters to men the old-fashioned way

Mar 20 2013 - 3:05pm

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Raleigh Morris cuts Corbin Black’s hair at My Barber in Kaysville recently. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Raleigh Morris, owner of My Barber in Kaysville, takes down an appointment at his shop recently. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Raleigh Morris cuts Corbin Black’s hair at My Barber in Kaysville recently. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Raleigh Morris cuts Corbin Black’s hair at My Barber in Kaysville recently. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Raleigh Morris, owner of My Barber in Kaysville, takes down an appointment at his shop recently. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Raleigh Morris cuts Corbin Black’s hair at My Barber in Kaysville recently. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)

KAYSVILLE -- Getting a haircut from a barber may seem old-fashioned, but the history of barbering is still strong in the Top of Utah, with a number of barber shops to go around, if you know where to look.

Chris Coombs, 37, of Kaysville, has fond memories of being taken to a barber shop with his dad. As he entered his adult years, he tried out a hair salon, but found he missed the barber shop atmosphere.

"I found that the barber shop was a better environment, more service-oriented and catered to us men," said Coombs.

Walking into My Barber, located in Kaysville, he gets more than just a haircut.

"I go into the shop and my barber shaves my face too, which is enjoyable having someone take care of that for me," Coombs said.

Having men come into the shop remembering the days they went to the barber with their dad is exactly what owner Raleigh Morris had in mind when he bought the My Barber shop in 2011.

"I wanted to be able to service men the old-fashioned way they remember as kids, and the memories they associate with it," said 23-year-old Morris.

He would also like to bring the newer generation in. For a long time, barbering was becoming a lost art, according to Morris, but now it is starting to regain momentum, especially with the surge of spas and massage parlors.

"Men are starting to realize they want to be pampered too. They just don't want to come out and say it," said Morris. "I have a lot of clients who come in and it's their 'me' time."

Traditionally, barber shops were gathering places for men to interact with one another, discussing concerns, or debating the issues of the day. Now, hair salons have cropped up, but not all salons are licensed to use a straight razor, something barbers are trained and licensed to use for men's face and neck shaves.

Trimming beards is also something barbers are well-known for, but with the decreasing prevalence of beards over the years and the increased use of electric razors, barbers don't see as many beard trims as they used to, though Morris is seeing them come pack in popularity.

"It's just like any other fashion thing that goes in cycles," said Morris. "It used to be that clean-shaven was the norm, then the 5 o'clock shadow popped up, and now full-grown beards are becoming the in-thing." Having a barber trim a man's beard is helpful because it can be tricky for a man trying to trim his own beard in the mirror because it may not end up symmetrical.

Morris compares barbering to a type of art.

"It's kind of like sculpting because you have to see what the possibilities are in the hair before cutting it," said Morris.

Another trick of his trade is learning how to determine what men want.

"They aren't like women who know exactly what they want. I wish it was that easy," said Morris.

There is a lot of history found in his shop, with an original 1930s Koken barber chair and several hand clippers and strait razors from the same time frame, though he prefers to use his electric versions.

When Morris began his barber training, one of the most interesting things he learned about what the history behind the barber pole. Barbers used a pole in front of their shop to hang bloody bandages from the practice of bloodletting, the withdrawal of small amounts of blood to cure or prevent illness and disease, and the wind would wrap the rags around the pole, causing the unique helix of red and white stripes that now symbolizes their trade.

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