PROinsider went behind the scenes to give you the inside scoop on everything you need to know about Britain’s Best Shave competition.
You could cut the tension with a knife (or a razor blade) at the British Barbers’ Association’s annual Britain’s Best Shave competition. Starting with twelve regional heats, 200 hopefuls have been whittled down to eight semi-finalists – who are now at the Birmingham NEC for trade show Hair UK, where the showdown begins.
The Simon Cowell equivalents of the barbering world make up the judging panel, so the contenders are closely analysed, right down to the finest whiskers. From hygiene to efficiency and technique, there’s no room for error.
After an exciting semi-final, the judges reveal the two contenders who’ve made it to the final, Luigi Caterino and Shakar Bakani, meaning last year’s winner Parsa Rad is knocked out (we told you it was tense!).
PROinsider had a quick chat with the finalists just before they hit the ring for the last round. Luigi told us: “I’m nervous, but it’s really nice to be here with such talent and there’s a bigger audience this year, which just shows how big the barbering industry is becoming”.
It’s time for the final and the only sounds you can hear are the swift strokes of the blades. Half an hour later the final looks are revealed and the judges closely inspect every hair follicle. The judges are split so it’s a close shave (literally) but Luigi just edges it and scoops the title of Britain’s Best Shave.
PROinsider grabbed one of judges to see what they thought of the final. “It was a very tough final,” said judge and chairman of the Barber Council Gary Machin. “It was close in all aspects, both techniques were perfect; it was just such a tough decision. It was purely in the detail – technique, health and safety side of everything and the actual speed, which was second to none.”
We then spoke to a very emotional Luigi, who told us, “It’s been amazing and I will be very happy to share this title with all my customers. I’ll definitely be back next year to defend the title. It’s great to see so many barbers at this level in the competition.”
Since 2013 The British Barbers’ Association has teamed up with grooming range The Bluebeards Revenge to help launch the competition. The Bluebeard’s Revenge offers products that maximise creativity for interesting and bespoke moustaches and beards. We caught up with David Hildrew, managing director AKA Bluebeard in Chief, who told us which products the contestants had used to compete: “All contestants have been using our traditional shaving range, which includes The Bluebeards Revenge Pre Shave Oil, The Bluebeards Revenge Concentrated Shaving Cream, The Bluebeards Revenge Post Shave Balm.”
Think you’ve got what it takes to win Britain’s Best Shave? Judge Patrick Bryan advises: “Just do it! It’s such a great competition and all the contestants learn so much.” So, will PROinsider see you at next year’s competition?
Check out our video covering the competition, and some exclusive tips and advice from the judges.
What do you think of beards? Sexy or steer clear? Tell us below.