Straight Razor Shave at Tommy Gun’s Barber Shop
Since my first straight razor shave experience at “Not your Father’s Barber” went so well, I figured I would continue on my exploration of such services.
When I was last at Lansdown park on a Friday night for a football game, my wife pointed out the “Tommy Gun’s” Barber shop. It certainly looked the part and I wanted to give them a try. That turned out to be yesterday evening.
The shop itself is superb; red brick walls, classic Barber red chairs, black accents, etc…Tommy Gun’s is a chain and this is their standard image. There is a very interesting waiting area on a second level where you will find iPad tablets, some arcade games and a TV. What probably impressed me the most was their product inventory. At the cash area they have 2 full sized display cases that are fully stocked with pomades and shaving gear. Among which are a good number of actual safety razors. There are also 2 other displays by the cash holding even more pomades and straight blade razors. Most of these items are generally impossible to find in any store. Of course, on-line everything is possible, but to actually walk into a store and be able to walk out with such a purchase is near impossible in Ottawa.
They sell: Reuzel, American Crew, Pinaud-Clubman, Layrite, Billy Jealousy and Merkur razors to name but a few Plainly put, this is the only place in town I am currently aware of that holds as many hair and shaving products specifically targeted to men. For such a small surface they sure manage to pack a punch.
The pricing on the products I looked at were in line with store prices. You may find a better deal on-line, but the delta here is perfectly honest and you would have your item right away.
I was there for the straight razor shave service. The cost of the service was $45 + taxes. Since I wanted to experience what more you might get for the jump in price, I was willing to fork it out. Aside from the actual shave, you are getting some sort of facial treatment which mostly consists of a series of face washes followed by hot wet towel face wraps. I think I counted 5 hot towel wraps. The face washes are more or less like a little face massage.
Then came the actual shave. The lady who did my shave was very pleasant and clearly knew what she was doing – no complaints. But the combination of the blade and the various pre-shave and shave products did not agree with my skin. This resulted in a shave that felt rough and my face got irritated. The cream used offered very little lube and limited protection. My skin literally felt raw during and after the shave. Even this morning (the night after) my face is still aggravated.
During my various tests, I have certainly encountered blades that did not agree with my face as well as shaving creams that caused me more irritation than lube or protection. But I have also encountered blades and creams that were of such impressive quality as to become points of reference as far as what a blade or cream should be. For example the time proven Clubman-Pinaud hot shaving cream which is unbeatable in quality and price.
This is not to be read as I got a bad service, not at all. Everybody was very friendly and I certainly enjoyed my stay in their shop. Obviously, I am disappointed that the shave did not turn out better, but such is the cost of trying things out. Yes, it is a more expensive destination but that goes hand-in-hand with the location and the extra amenities they are offering.
These are the products and tools used during my visit.
June 4th, 2017 Addendum
On Friday when I went for a shave at the House of Barons, while chatting about straight razor shaving my Barber informed me that the Tommy Gun shop at Lansdown closed at the beginning of the year. Their location at Bayshore is still going.