Shave and save - how to scrub up and trim costs

The mainstays of male grooming needn't be an expensive extravagance. Looking your best on a budget is a little luxury everyone can afford

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 April, 2013, 3:09am

Two things men can count on to scrub up well are a shave and the haircut - but the rise in men's grooming has seen many stores turn what used to be a daily ritual into sheer extravagance. So where can a man get a shave and a trim that won't break the bank?

One of the oldest barbershops in Hong Kong is Talianna, which once had stores all over the city, but is now at the back of Melbourne Plaza in Central. High-end barbershops charge upwards of $500 for just a wet shave, but Talianna comes in at around HK$400 for both a shave and a cut - or just HK$200 for each.

If you'd prefer something even more affordable, Hong Kong's long-established Shanghai barbers are slowly fading away, but there are still a few scattered around the city. One of the most popular is the Shanghai Kiu Kwun Barber Shop in North Point, where a haircut or a shave comes in at under HK$100.

Similarly, numerous street-side Shanghai barbers are located around hidden alleyways - for example, the one on the corner of Hollywood Road and Shing Wong Street will give you a cut for just HK$50. But be warned: while the decor at many barber shops boasts a cool, retro-1970s vibe, there's no guarantee you won't walk out resembling that era as well.

In that regard, you might be better off visiting one of the many QB House stores, a popular chain of barbers with over 30 outlets around the city. They promise to give you a decent haircut for just HK$50 in under 10 minutes.

Many men prefer to do it themselves, but the major shaving brands are expensive, so try a cheaper variety: Watson's sells its own-brand five-blade razors at just HK$50 for a four-pack - almost half the price of the bigger names and just as good, in this writer's opinion.

Alternatively, take a step back in time and switch to a double-edged safety razor, the kind Cary Grant used in Hitchcock movies. The initial handle from classic brand Derby can be bought for around HK$50 on Amazon.com. Blades costs as little as HK$1 if you buy in a bulk packet of 50, and each lasts a few weeks.

Next, you'll need a shaving brush to build up a good lather. Most stores sell badger hair brushes for around HK$1,000, but in Chungking Mansions they cost as little as HK$200, although there's no guarantee they're made from real badger hair.

Finally, there's shaving soap, which gives you a closer cut than any new-fangled gel. Fanda Pharmacy in Worldwide House in Central is a favourite among traditional shavers for their affordable prices and variety of gentlemen's products, with names like Taylor, Brut and Tabac.

Their shaving soap is a bargain - most grooming stores sell different varieties for up to HK$400, but Fanda offers Kent's variety for a one-time purchase of HK$225 with a shaving bowl and just HK$100 for each soap refill.