The Revival of the Local Barbershop: 5 Places to Go for Your Trims and Shaves

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The history of barbershops in Malaysia dates back to the late 1930s, an era when most of the barbers here were immigrants from hereditary barber castes in India. They settled here during the British occupation, continuing in the trade that had been passed down by their ancestors. They would open quaint little shops in the city and armed with a straight razor and some serious head massaging, or the harmless yet slightly shocking neck-cracking services, provided the finest haircuts and shaving experiences.

Fast forward to today, and we find plenty of men still prefer getting their hair cut at a barber rather than a saloon by a hair stylist, which is why this trade has stood the test of time. Harking back to the good old days, a new crop of barbershops have taken on a new look, combining the old-school feel with contemporary aesthetics for a more upscale flavour. From the timeless buzz cut, to modern pompadour and psychobilly quiffs, these wizards can do wonders with just clippers, scissors, and razors. And since men’s grooming is all the rage these days, we picked out some of most interesting barbershops around for your styling needs.

1. Othrs Berbershop, Subang Jaya


From the sweet serenade of BB King’s voice to the musical instruments and posters of legendary musicians decorating the walls, Othrs is heaven for music enthusiasts and musicians alike. Formerly known as Amplitude, it started out as a music store before Lex Low, the founder and former celebrity stylist decided to marry the two concepts. They believe in transforming the lives of the people they meet with a pair of scissors, even taking their skills to the streets cutting hair for the underprivileged, the indigenous community, and the homeless.

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2. The Oven Cuttery, Petaling Jaya

The Oven Cuttery is home to handcrafted brand Mentega pomade, named after the Malay word for butter. The founder Kevin Cottie Tan, barber by day and musician by night, is the genius behind the buttery smooth products that can withstand the tropical climate. You’ll pop out of The Oven feeling refreshed after a cut, a hot towel treatment, and a styling session. The place is often booked solid, so appointments should be made at least 30 days in advance.


3. Slick Barbershop, Shah Alam


With old-school British punk blaring through the shop and hipster-looking hair artisans working their magic with scissors, clippers, and razors, Slick is the rebel of ‘gentlemen’s barbershop’. Don’t let this ‘street’ interior fool you as it belies a serious commitment to giving you one of the finest cuts in town. They do amazing jobs at both classic and contemporary haircuts, and just like it was in the old-school barbershops, Slick invites their customers to unwind and connect with other customers while getting their trims or shaves. You may just walk away with a new friend or two.


4. Ramlee’s Sport Barbersclub, TTDI and Shah Alam

If you are a sports enthusiast, Malaysia’s first sports concept barbershop, Ramlee’s Sport Barbersclub will probably tickle your fancy. Combining a nod to tradition with a quirky edge, the barbershop is adorned with an extensive collection of rare sports collectibles and a flat screen TV that shows (you guessed it) sports, yet still maintain the old charm with a display of magazines, the traditional barber chairs, and a relaxing shoulder massage after the haircut. The establishment is linked to Primavoc’s Hair Academy, so you can be sure to get a quality barbering service be it wash, shave, or simply just a tidy up.


5. The Barber’s Lounge, Desa Sri Hartamas

Step into the days of yesteryear, when getting spruced up at the local barber was a weekly ritual, and men would socialise and talk about pin-up girls and politics. The Barber’s Lounge offers that old-world feel you’ve been after, along with the highest standards of service and a commitment to quality and personalised customer service. Head on over to the shop and treat yourself to a quick style update and also a manly good time.


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