Razor sharp Allan aims to be a cut above the rest

Allan Stone at work with his razor
Allan Stone at work with his razor

A barber and part-time college lecturer from South Tyneside has been shortlist in a nationwide competition to be crowned the best wet shaver in the country.

Allan Stone, 42, who owns Stoney’s Barbershop in Laygate Lane, South Shields, will face razor sharp competition from fellow craftsmen in his quest to win the competition.

He is set to face-off against other top barbers in the North East regional final and is aiming to face the most crucial shave of his life at the national final, which will take place inside a boxing ring at Barber UK at the Birmingham NEC in May.

Allan has gone from apprentice to being a mentor to students at South Tyneside College in a career which has spanned three decades.

He said: “I got into barbering after serving my apprenticeship as a hairdresser at Saks.

“I’ve been doing it now for over 23 years and have had my own salon for the last 19 years. Barbering is my passion and I love the whole service. Traditional shaving now is a daily part of my routine at work.”

He added: “I’ve also been lucky enough to teach students at South Tyneside College on a part-time basis. “

Now in its fourth year, the annual competition, run by premium male grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge and industry watchdogs the British Barbers’ Association, is fast becoming the premier contest in the barbering industry.

Finalists must impress judges on several criteria, including shave preparation, razor technique, post-shave routine, health and safety and overall efficiency.

Alison Maynard, principal of South Tyneside College’s Professional and Vocational College, said: “Allan is an excellent mentor to our students, and his success is no surprise.

“He has a tremendous level of experience and is one of the best in the business. I’m sure he will do very well.”

Wet shaving is currently renaissance, with the latest figures showing the number of barbers performing traditional cut-throat shaves in Britain has jumped by over 60% in the past four years.

Research from the British Barbers’ Association and The Bluebeards Revenge shows there are now an estimated 14,502 barbershops in Britain, with 5,476 (38% of total) of these offering cut-throat shaving services to their male clients. In August 2012 there were 14,100 barbershops in existence, with just 3,384 (24% of total) providing cut-throat shaving.

Trevor Studd, director of the British Barbers’ Association, said: “Men are looking after themselves a lot more and have finally realised that the barber or a dedicated male grooming operation is the best place to go to get a decent haircut. There is also rising demand for hot towel shaves and beard trims, and barbers have fully tapped into offering these types of services.”