Catching Up With Rob Hammer on His ‘Barbershops of America’ Travels

Catching Up With Rob Hammer on His ‘Barbershops of America’ Travels

By: Sarah Wolstoncroft

Royal Shave-Barbershops of America-Instagram-barbershopsofamerica

Last time we talked to San Diego photographer Rob Hammer, he was traveling the United States, camera in tow, in search of the most unique barbershops in the country.

Royal Shave shares Barbershops of America update

Photo via Instagram / @barbershopsofamerica

Royal Shave shares Barbershops of America update

Photo via Instagram / @toucantrading

At the time, he had just put out the first edition of his photo collection “Barbershops of America.”

Catching up with Hammer, 38, nearly two years later, “Barbershops of America” has now released a second edition: “Then and Now.”

Looking back at the project, the man behind the camera said it was “collectively one of the greatest learning experiences of my life.”

 

 

Traveling over 85,000 miles by car with his dog and his camera for the project, Hammer soon realized he had to abandon his online research and let the road lead him to the perfect destinations.

His search was for the hidden gems, not the places he said “exist on places like Facebook or Yelp.”

 

“My goal was to spend as much time off the highways and out of cities as possible,” Hammer said. “This has allowed me to see parts of this country that most people never do, towns that might not be on a map but would be looked over even if they were. Being in these places shows you how differently people live.”

He believes the world sees “a distorted view of American life,” glamorized in television shows that focus on the struggles of navigating big cities like Los Angeles and New York.

While photographing barbershops in more rural areas, Hammer found that “things are much simpler and move at a much slower pace.” He said the locals were good people who were proud of where they came from and “very happy to share what comes from their home.”

The lives behind the photographs

Royal Shave shares Barbershops of America update

The late barber Honest John (left) in his Burlington, Kansas shop

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In towns like Burlington, Kansas, Hammer found dedicated lifelong barbers like Honest John, who he described as a man who could “light up the room with his personality and smile” and someone who “was as sincere a person as I’ve ever encountered.”

And back home in California, Hammer found barbers in the outskirts of Oakland like Kenneth of Cuts and Bends Barbershop, whose long, narrow shop was “filled to the brim” with books and paintings.

Royal Shave shares Barbershops of America update

Barber Kenneth at Cuts and Bends Barbershop in Oakland, California

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“He answered my questions in such an honest way that you just don’t get from most people,” Hammer said. “His continued passion for barbering is unreal. When you listen to him talk, you understand that he would be lost with it. The world needs more people like Kenneth.”

Lessons learned along the way

The biggest change from then to now is Hammer’s perspective on barbers. When he first started his project, Hammer was convinced there was only one type of barbershop worth preserving: the old-school traditional style.

However, the travels for his second book rerouted away from middle America, where he found some new-school barbers that were changing the game and his mind.

Royal Shave shares Barbershops of America update

“The first book was entirely made up of old-school shops with only a small handful of the younger guys in the back,” Hammer said. “The second book is just about 50/50. Over the past two years, I continued shooting the old timers while also putting more of a focus on the ‘next generation’ of barbers across the country.”

He said, now that he stepped away from his own “stubborn ignorance,” his project finally feels complete.

“Once I got my head out of my ass, I realized that the recent barber boom has produced a lot of creative guys who are passionate about carrying on the old traditions. So, I started looking around and found a lot of beautiful shops.”

Back in cities like Long Beach, California, Hammer stumbled upon Syndicate Barbershop and its owner Tim Trezise, 36.

Royal Shave shares Barbershops of America update

Syndicate Barbershop in Long Beach, California

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With a mixture of old elements like vintage porcelain chairs and neon signs and new elements like barbers with tattoo-covered bodies, Hammer knew Syndicate Barbershop was the perfect choice for the cover of his book’s second edition.

Tresize said, “it was an honor” his shop was featured on the front cover and described Hammer as a “killer photographer” and “genuine dude” who works for the love not the money.

Royal Shave shares Barbershops of America update

Barber and owner Tim Trezise at Syndicate Barbershop

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“No one has done what he’s done before with documenting barbershops. He’s met more barbers than barbers have met, really. I don’t know if anyone’s met more barbers that Rob. He’s seen the business in and out,” Trezise said.

These days, Hammer mostly keeps up with new-school barbers like Trezise via Instagram. However, he tries to pop into shops he’s previously shot when he passes through town.

Hammer said their support has been “unreal.” In general, he said one of his favorite things about today’s barbers is their support of each other and the barbershop industry.

“It would be so easy for one barber to hate the next guy or just treat him like the competition, but they don’t,” Hammer said. “They are all connected and try to make one another better. So, that positivity and support has spilled over on to me as well. I’m lucky to have met a lot of these guys and have them embrace what I’m doing.”

In the future, Hammer hopes to take his barbershop search international and find another passion project to pursue.

Royal Shave shares dental care tips

From Bathroom to Barbershop: Four Professional Barber Tips to Try at Home

From Bathroom to Barbershop: Four Professional Barber Tips to Try at Home

Hot Towels

Arguably one of the best parts of visiting a barber is the hot towel service. Nothing is more luxurious or satisfying for the start of your prep routine like a nice hot towel. Recreating a hot towel service at home is simple- all you need is a towel and a bowl of hot water or towel warmer.

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Photo via Instagram/ @akinbarber

Start by grabbing a small towel. To get a relaxing experience place 2-3 drops of an essential oil like lavender, eucalyptus, or sandalwood on the towel at this step. Thoroughly wet the towel with water and ring out the excess with your hands. Next, fold the towel in half and roll it up like a sushi roll. Place the damp towel in a towel warmer or warm water A microwave can be used to warm the towel, too. We recommend about 30 sec. Always use caution and test the hot towel on the inner part of your forearm before placing the towel on your face or neck.

Once the towel reaches your desired level of warmth, apply the towel to your face and hold it there until it starts to cool. If you’ve applied essential oils, take some deep breaths and relax, oils like lavender are relaxing while sandalwood is a memory booster. Once the towel cools down, set it aside to use again at the end of your shave.

For more information on hot towels, head over to How to DIY a Barbershop Hot Towel Treatment at Home.

Dry Your Hair Like a Pro

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One of the biggest hair health mistakes most people make is the way they dry their hair. Most shampoo commercials would have you believe that the best way to dry your hair is to vigorously rub your head with a towel. Vigorously rubbing hair while wet can roughen the cuticle of hair, causing frizz. This can lead to permanent damage, like split ends or breakage  

To dry your hair like a professional, start by taking handful sized sections of hair with your towel and gently squeezing the water out. Repeat small section by section until you’ve dried your entire head. At this point your hair is about 50-75% dry, which is the perfect time to add styling product.

Maintaining Your Neck Line

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Nothing makes a haircut look more unkempt than a messy neckline. After a visit to the barber, your neckline will be clean with no hairs along your neck. However, maintaining a clean neckline between visits to the barber chair is a an extra step you can take keep looking sharp.

The most important thing to remember when you are maintaining your own neckline is to make sure you don’t cut into the hair line. The hair line is the line that separates your hair from your neck. Avoid the hair line and only cut the hairs that appear below the hairline on your neck.

Prior to shaving you will need a few supplies- a hot towel, shaving cream, and a sharp razor. Start by applying a hot towel to your neck. After the towel cools, remove it and apply a shave cream like Geo F. Trumper Soft Shaving Cream. Now you are all set to shave your hairline. Just remember to shave with the grain.

Shave Like a Master Barber

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Getting a professional shave is a wonderful and luxurious experience. Master barbers spend years perfecting their craft, and their life is dedicated to the art of men’s grooming. Even if your barbering skills are not at a professional level you can incorporate professional techniques into your own shave routine.

The art of shaving takes precision, so make sure you have enough time set aside to be precise. Start with prepping the hair and skin with a pre-shave oil like Truefitt and Hill Ultimate Comfort Pre-Shave Oil. Pre-shave oil softens the hair and allows a smooth surface for your shave cream.

When it is time to apply a shave cream use a brush. Shaving brushes lift the hairs away from your face which allows for a closer shave and prevents ingrown hairs. When you have finished your shave, take the hot towel you had used prior and apply the now cold towel to your face. This will close your pores and soothe your skin, reducing redness, post shave irritation, and acne. Finish up your shave with a splash of aftershave for disinfection and a light moisturizer to keep your skin smooth and you’re ready for your day.

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Dental Care: Here’s How to Maintain That Million Dollar Smile

Dental Care: Here’s How to Maintain That Million Dollar Smile

Like American actress Connie Stevens once said, “Nothing you wear is more important than your smile.” However, boosting your appearance and confidence isn’t the only thing your pearly whites are good for. In fact, teeth are responsible for helping your food make its way to your stomach, providing the essential energy necessary for your body and mind to function. That’s why proper dental care is mandatory.

To make things easy, here at Royal Shave we compiled everything you need to know about your teeth and how to best care for them.

From baby teeth to pearly whites

Royal Shave shares dental care

Photo via Instagram / @blondesandcookies

Throughout your lifetime, you have two sets of teeth: your baby teeth and your permanent teeth. While your teeth start sprouting around six-months-old, they actually begin developing before you are born.

Children have 20 baby teeth that they typically lose between the ages of six to 12. These teeth include incisors, molars and canines.

First to appear around six-months-old are the incisors, the four top and four bottom teeth in the front of your mouth that are responsible for biting food and allowing speech.

Next, babies around a year old grow their molars, which help grind and tear food and maintain the shape and height of their face.

Lastly, the canines, the four sharpest teeth in your mouth, show when a child is around 16-20 months old. These teeth help cut food and aid the digestive process. In addition, they help to support the lips.


Children have 20 baby teeth responsible for cutting and chewing food, maintaining the height of their face and allowing speech.


Luckily for children, teeth whitening isn’t usually a concern. After all, primary teeth grow in smaller and whiter than permanent teeth.

Even though a child’s first set of teeth don’t stay with them throughout their life, it is still important to engage in proper dental care. Decaying baby teeth can lead to problems for the permanent teeth that grow in later.

The key to protecting children’s growing teeth is prevention. When teeth first begin to develop, parents should regularly wipe down their child’s gums so bacteria doesn’t stick to the growing area. Once baby teeth bud, parents can start using a wet toothbrush and eventually move up to introducing fluoride around age three.

Dental care tips for adults

Royal Shave shares dental care

Photo via Instagram / @drbitaortho

After children lose their baby teeth, teens are left with a set of 32 permanent teeth. The 12 additional teeth come in the form of premolars, which develop around age 10, and wisdom teeth, which appear around age 17.

Since permanent teeth are the final natural set a person can grow, it is pertinent to invest in good dental care.

For adults, the following four dental care tips are necessary to avoid yellowing, decay and disease that become more of a risk as your permanent teeth gain more exposure to foods and irritants.

1. Fight tooth decay with fluoride toothpaste.

 

First, finding a fluoride toothpaste helps revitalize the enamel of your teeth, which is the barrier that guards teeth against acids. Fluoride stops bacteria from feasting on the food left on your teeth after eating and can reverse the signs of decay.

Marvis toothpaste uses fluoride and mint to remove plaque, tartar and leave a million dollar smile behind.

 

2. Don’t forget to floss.

Royal Shave shares dental care tips

Photo via Instagram / @prinzulrich

Ahh, flossing. It’s the one step everyone pretends to forget. However, flossing isn’t something you should leave out of your dental care routine.

Your toothbrush is good at getting bigger pieces of food and some bacteria off your teeth. However, it’s nearly impossible for it to reach every nook and cranny. That’s where dental floss comes in. The thin thread is much easier to lodge in the lines between your teeth, making sure every last bit of food and bacteria is removed.

3. Use mouthwash to protect your gums.

Dental care doesn’t just involve your teeth. It is also about preserving your mouth and gums. This makes mouthwash an essential item to add to your routine. While saliva offers a natural mouthwash, it often isn’t strong enough on its own to carry away all harmful bacteria.

Moreover, mouthwash is useful for reducing plaque and gingivitis. Marvis mouthwash is useful for people who suffer from dry mouth because of its alcohol-free formula. In addition, it leaves behind a pleasant peppermint smell.

4. Avoid overindulging in candy and sweets.

Royal Shave shares dental care tips

Photo via Instagram / @cestlestyle

An apple away keeps the doctor away. Trading your candy and sweets for an apple will also likely keep the dentist away. After all, apples are great sources of freshness and acidity that reduce bad breath and kill harmful bacteria.

Indulging in too many candies or sweets can cause cavities and quicker tooth decay. However, this doesn’t mean you have to totally pull your kids from participating in Halloween trick-or-treating. In reality, adults are at higher risk for cavities because teeth start to wear down and gums recede over time.

5. Consult a professional.

Royal Shave shares dental care tips

Photo via Instagram / @coreyandthen

While those apples may keep the dentist away for the time being, you shouldn’t avoid going to the dentist altogether. While many people may put this on their priority list next to going to the DMV, the dentist is actually a very valuable asset to your dental care and health.

Regular check-ups and cleaning will keep your teeth in their best condition. In addition, consulting a professional will help you realize your problem areas and which specific areas you should focus on for your mouth.

the grooming artist

Coconut Oil Benefits: Maintaining Moisture in Your Skin and Hair

Coconut Oil Benefits: Maintaining Moisture in Your Skin and Hair

When it comes to caring for your skin and hair, there are a number of factors that can negatively affect how healthy you are. From exposing hair and skin to too much heat from the sun or styling practices to using drugstore products with sulfates or other harmful chemicals, we don’t always treat our bodies very nicely. The results often include dry skin and hair. However, there is a natural solution to restoring your skin’s glow and your hair’s shine. Enter the world of coconut oil benefits.

Here at Royal Shave, we want to share one of the best hair and skin care secrets, utilizing coconut oil. Keep reading to find out more about its properties and how you can implement coconut oil into your routine at home.

What are some of the coconut oil benefits?

Royal Shave shares coconut oil benefits

Photo via Instagram / @epiraforhair

One of the major components of coconut oil is Vitamin E. This is useful at restoring skin’s moisture and elasticity. In addition, it helps protect your skin against aging and sun damage. Moreover, Vitamin E also benefits your hair by working as a strong antioxidant against environmental irritants and increasing circulation in the scalp to promote thicker hair growth.

Coconut oil is also largely made up of fatty acids. For example, its lauric and capric acids work to kill harmful bacteria and fungi and fight off viruses. Because of this, coconut oil is often used in psoriasis and acne treatments. These acids also halt hair loss and help with healthy regrowth.

How does coconut oil benefit your skin?

Royal Shave shares coconut oil benefits

Photo via Instagram / @modelmalay

Coconut oil is nature’s way of restoring your youthful glow. Coconut oil benefits for adding shine to your skin come in the form of removing old makeup, dislodging irritants from your pores and moisturizing dry skin overnight. While it was traditionally designed to clean and prepare your whiskers prior to shaving, Musgo Real Glycerin Oil Soap is an effective cleanser for your entire body. It uses alcohol to disinfect and then restores moisture with coconut, lime and castor oils.

In addition, lotions containing coconut oil work as strong combatants against stretch marks. The most effective time to apply coconut oil to stretch marks is when they are still relatively new and red or pink in color. While it is harder to get rid of older stretch marks, the added moisture still helps to reduce the appearance of scarring.

Lastly, along with adding glow to your skin, coconut oil also reduces wrinkles, making your skin appear even younger and more alive.

How does coconut oil benefit your hair?

Royal Shave shares coconut oil benefits

Photo via Instagram / @katydid003

Royal Shave shares coconut oil benefits

Photo via Instagram / @trevorwayne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to coconut oil benefits for your hair, both the tresses on your face and your head thrive with the extra moisture.

First off, coconut oil helps heal dry and brittle strands. Organic coconut oil from the grocery store can easily be applied to your hair and left in overnight. However, using a conditioner with coconut oil is another perfect way to deliver the product to the damaged areas for quicker use. DR Harris Conditioner offers an added bonus because it infuses the coconut oil benefits with aloe vera.

Read More: Find out about aloe vera’s added benefits and why it’s called “the miracle plant”

In addition, coconut oil makes hair appear healthier by adding shine and strength. Using a styling product like Dax Black Bees Wax  will help nourish your hair and soothe the cuticle. Moreover, its natural ingredients also include jojoba oil, which has been used for centuries as a scalp treatment.

Finally, when it comes to beard care, using shaving products with coconut oil allows hair and skin to be cleansed and exfoliated before removal. This reduces uncomfortable itchiness associated with dandruff and frizz. Moreover, using a beard oil with the powerful but gentle ingredient will serve you coconut oil benefits throughout the day. Truefitt & Hill Natural Conditioning Beard Oil combines coconut with avocado, jojoba, sesame and argan oil.

Royal Shave shares coconut oil benefits

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