While ladies’ hair salons have undergone a transformation over the years, and now offer head-to-toe pampering experiences, the world of male grooming has stayed comparatively still. Until now.
There’s a men’s style revolution taking place in Scotland’s capital, and it’s being led by Ruffians; the best barber shop in Edinburgh, where barbering, male grooming and men’s grooming products are being redefined for the 21st century.
I was lucky enough to be invited for a visit, and to meet chief Ruffian, Andrew Cannon, who shared his vision for the shop and his personal health and style insights.
What is your background?
I studied Biological Sciences at university. After university I moved from Scotland to London where I started as a graduate in a marketing and advertising agency. I wanted a change from the constant learning, analysis and logic of molecular science, to have the chance to be more creative and inventive. My client base was a mixture of retail, media and financial services; it was the retail side of marketing which I became most involved in and the sector which I moved into in more of a management and operational capacity. It was after some time in the retail sector that I decided I wanted to set up and run my own company. I had been thinking about it for some time and analysing the market for potential opportunities. I decided that the men’s grooming industry was under resourced and serviced, and it was from that point onwards that I started building Ruffians.
What is in your bathroom cabinet?
There are all sorts of tubs, tubes and bottles of new lab samples of products I am developing and testing for Ruffians, it’s a bit like a mini apothecary! We’re constantly looking to improve our Ruffians range of ‘engineered for men’ grooming products, and there is no better way of evaluating them than testing yourself! If I’m not happy with the appearance, consistency, odour, texture, functionality, or anything other thing about one of our products then it is straight back to the lab and I’ll be working with our chemists to put it right.
My two favourite products are our fragrance, paraben, colour and sulphate free Sandalwood Shave Gel and Facial Moisturiser. Our sandalwood shave gel is rather special, it has a unique ionic charge introduced into the gel, to physically lift the hair shaft off the skin, allowing the razor to cut at the very base of the hair and give you the closest shave possible. I use the moisturiser religiously, it’s a lifesaver up here in Edinburgh, where the wind and elements batter your face daily!
I’m also a fan of the MenScience Advanced Deodorant stick, I love the fact that it is odour free and works on the basis of eliminating the odours and bacteria associated with the odour, rather than masking it with a fragrance. It is clever science.
Who cuts your hair?
I get my hair cut in many difference barber shops and salons. I think it is important to find out what our competitors are doing in their shops, so I can learn from their benefits and mistakes to improve Ruffians.
Ruffians is currently the winner of the Best Newcomer Award at the British Hairdressing Business Awards, which is a testament to our team and the service we give, but it doesn’t mean we can’t keep improving it and introducing new innovations and services if it improves the customer experience.
What is your favourite scent?
I currently wear the signature Ruffians ONE fragrances, which is our classic eau de toilette. I’m also keen on the men’s Mont Blanc fragrance, although it is quite preppy!
What beauty treatment/product can’t you live without?
I’m not really the kind of guy who goes for beauty treatments and pampering, they don’t appeal to me. There are a huge number of men out there, like me, who feel the same. Most men want a top quality haircut but don’t feel comfortable in a salon feminine salon environment, with all the treatments, colouring, perms, manicures, etc. going on all around them. It’s the exact reason I created Ruffians, and why it is proving so successful and appeals to so many men. Ruffians is a cool, relaxed, masculine atmosphere which delivers on the quality shaves and haircuts we provide our customers. (Click the image below to see the Ruffians experience for yourself).
What is your best tip for staying youthful?
Exercise and balanced diet! You can use all the products, treatments and serums you like but nothing is better for your body, and cell regeneration, than exercise and an increased heart rate.
Who is your style icon?
I don’t really have one. There are lots people I admire for all sorts of different reasons, but I think we should all be individual and decide on our own style. If you pushed me on the topic I might say someone like Ewan McGregor, he’s got a relaxed style and can look equally as comfortable and effortless on the red carpet or on a camping trip!
Are men as interested in style and beauty as women?
I think so, although generally they are more focused on style rather than beauty. Men want to feel good about themselves just as much as women, it is all about confidence. I think it is becoming more acceptable for men to have sharp haircuts and more tailored fashion, so they feel better about themselves. Also it is a highly competitive atmosphere these days, people are constantly in competition for jobs, attention and even for the affection of girlfriends and loved ones; men need to have their own style and identity to get noticed and stand out.
What’s next for you?
A couple of big events: first, it is Ruffians’ first birthday party in March – we’re going to have a big bash to celebrate. Second, we’re expanding. We are launching our first London barber shop in the Spring, so I am busy planning that.
Click here to find out more about Ruffians, and order products online.