Shear Magic

Shear Magic

Toni&Guy’s newest outpost is a barbershop-meets-salon in the heart of Shoreditch, offering a fresh take on men’s grooming. We meet stylist Tilly Maddison, another cool new addition, to find out more

Not every guy wants to go to a barbershop,’ says Tilly Maddison, stylist  at Toni&Guy Shoreditch. ‘It can be quite intimidating and there’s often a lot of banter between barbers and their clients. Some guys love it, while others just want to sit down, have a beer and read a copy of GQ.’ And therein lies the draw of Toni&Guy’s new barbershop salon, which opened its doors recently. Offering traditional old-school barbering in a laid-back salon environment, it’s the ultimate hybrid. What’s more, if you’re after something cooler-than-average cutwise, you’ve come to the right place…

Tilly, how did you get into men’s barbering? My Dad used to take me  to his local barbershop every Saturday when I was little. He’d sit me in the  corner and I’d be there all day listening  to everyone chit-chat. Then once I graduated from university, I started messing around with my mates’ hair. They’d cut their hair themselves and  I thought I’d like to give it a go. I did  a nine-week intensive course in  shaving and barbering. Then I got  a job in a £7-a-cut barbershop and  just built up my speed. I’d take pictures  of every cut I did and post them on Instagram.

Isn’t that how you got your job at Toni&Guy, through Instagram? Yes, they saw some of my work and arranged to meet me. It was really exciting.

What sort of men’s treatments  are you offering? We’re doing everything from the full wet shave to beard trims. There’s natural beard trims, clipper cuts and hot towels. And all the treatments have really cool names too.

What would you recommend for someone who has never been to  a barber’s before? A luxury beard trim, with a hot towel and a cut throat. It’s  a good way to ease in. Guys are really particular about their beards. I’ve worked in places where guys would come in every week. Once you’ve had someone else cut  it, it’s difficult to do it yourself at home.

This ties in with the idea of having  a close relationship with your barber. Some people talk about having them on speed dial…  I see some of my guys more than I see my friends! You form a very close relationship. Once you’ve had that, it doesn’t work for them to then go somewhere else, because it’s not just about the haircut. With a lot of my clients I know their girlfriend’s name, which football team they support and what they’re doing at work. It’s more than just chatting about how we’re cutting their hair.  It’s an experience. Sometimes you don’t even have to ask  what they want, it’s always the same.

What’s the atmosphere like in  the barbershop? It’s buzzing. I’m from the background of a barbershop where you’d spin the chairs so clients can chat and everyone would just bounce off each other. But if customers want to relax and read a magazine, that’s cool too.

What can we expect from men’s cuts at the moment? We’re seeing lots  of centre partings and offset partings.  It’s all about where we can place  the parting. It’s a very 90s look.

What are your most requested styles from customers? I have lots of guys come in with a picture but ask me to give them something different. Toni&Guy customers are quite experimental, they push the boundaries. Even with products, they want to use what’s right for their hair.

Do you feel a responsibility to your clients? Yes, you want someone to like their hair so they come back. It’s like having a walking portfolio of your work.

The beards renaissance seems to be drifting out. What’s next? If it’s not clean shaved, then you’ve got really short stubble, two or three day growth.  It’s really easy to maintain at home.

Barbershop Quintet

Introducing the five treatments on offer at the Shoreditch salon

A Close Shave
An old-school cut-throat shave with hot towel experience

The Full Monty
For beard veterans  – a beard trim and shape up. Bang tidy.

G.I. Gent
Stand to attention for this full clipper cut. Yes, sir!

Maintenance Colour
Blend away pesky greys with soft coverage, no noticeable regrowth

Under Construction
 Beard trim and shape-up for shorter styles

  • Words: Catriona Taylor

  • Photography: (Main image) Toni&Guy Georges, Melbourne, Australia, Hair Luke Harris Styling Bonnie Hansen Make-up megan everett. Tilly Maddison/Instagram (@TIllyMaddison), Debbie Bragg, Tom Bunning, Danny Peace