A Trip To The Barbers: Murdock London

Stephen Martin, head barber at Murdock London, lays down the essentials every chap needs to know about getting his hair cut.
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Stephen Martin, head barber at Murdock London, lays down the essentials every chap needs to know about getting his hair cut.

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Getting your haircut often resembles a game of Russian Roulette. You go in with an idea of what you want, but with no idea how to achieve it.  You don the cape and respond to the character with the scissors’ questions providing a multitude of instructions, ideas and throw in a celebrities name for good measure.  You both nod, message received and understood (you hope). Some more nodding ensues between you and the barber half an hour later as they parade your cut from a variety of angles. You're most probably not that happy with it but you don't voice your discontent and feign approval, thanking the barber for their time on your way out. And then you’re stuck with it for the next month, during which time your friends ask if you’ve taken to growing a mullet and you lather your hair with a variety of products in an attempt to look half decent.

Well fear not, you don’t need to give confusing instructions to your barber any more and risk another dodgy cut, Stephen Martin, Head Barber of  Murdock at Hackett Spitalfields has kindly been in touch to talk cuts and hair care…

How often should you get your locks cut?

You should get a haircut regularly as it's healthy for the hair and encourages growth. For shorter styles and thicker hair I see my regulars every 3-4 weeks. For most guys styles however its closer to 5/6 weeks.

How do you get the Steve McQueen cut?

The McQueen cut is best kept fairly short. Chop in to the top to keep it from getting too flat and then part to the preferred side without showing any scalp. The parting doesn't have to be razor sharp as it’s an easy going hairstyle. Products to use would be a small amount of Murdock matt mudd or hair doh to keep the matt look without overloading the hair. Alternatively you could mist some hairspray.

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What's your favourite cut at the moment? How do I ask for that?

I personally like really sharp and classic cuts, not unlike Steve McQueen's. At the moment I am enjoying longer parted styles though like the ones in the great Gatsby. To get this keep the hair on the sides long enough to sweep back and cut so that it neatly tucks in behind the ears. Keep a really sharp parting at the corner of your hairline on top. Use a lighter product like Murdock hair play to hold it together but allowing some movement. And if you have a wave in your hair all the better don't try to iron it out.

Which product do you swear by? 

At the moment I am loving Murdock’s new beard moisturiser. There isn't anything else like it. I leave in conditioner for beards it as it just softens them up and stops any itchiness and irritation. Combine this with a beard brush and the results are brilliant.

What are your top three hair care tips?

First tip would be that less is more. Don't overload your hair with product. Always start small with about a pea size amount of a good quality product and build from there. Secondly, be prepared to spend a bit of time on it. I’m not talking an hour in front of the mirror but don't rush it, a good 10-15 minutes should be more than enough, and don't be afraid to use a hairdryer. Lastly, find a good barber who you trust and stick with them. The more I see clients the easier it is to understand how their hair works and therefore the better the haircut is.