"Haircuts 4 Homeless" barber gifted with brand new shop

Brennon Jones began “Haircuts 4 the Homeless” in January and now has his own shop — gifted to him by a fellow barber.

Good deeds really do come back around.

Brennon Jones, who gives free haircuts to the homeless around Philadelphia, has been gifted his own full barber shop.

Jones, 29, created “Haircuts 4 Homeless” in January this year to help men on the street clean themselves up.

“My very first haircut, his name is Braden. I cut his hair on 15th & Walnut (Streets). A few days later, I went to check up on him and he wasn’t there. I was hoping nothing bad happened to him. When we did catch up weeks later, he got offered a full-time job,” Jones told CBS Philly.


Since that first client, Jones says he’s provided over 1,000 free haircuts to men in his community.

Sean Johnson, owner of Taper’s Barbershop, saw Jones’ work and was inspired. Johnson, who’d purchased a future second location for his own shop, decided to donate the shop to Jones to continue his mission.

Jones said Johnson asked him to stop by the store and asked him if he liked it. “I said yeah I like it, h“It wasn’t about me giving a barbershop,” Johnson said. “When you look at the homeless and the things that they need, I looked at it as more. I built something and I want to see it keep going and I want to see it do a great thing.”

Jones plans to open the shop later this month and will dedicate Mondays to serve the homeless, including working with shelters to provide food as well as transportation to and from the shop.

“It’s a safe haven for me to touch and bless those lives that often we forget about,” Jones said.

Black Face Masks: What To Know About The Viral Trend

Black face masks are the latest elixir. But are they any good? We put our best face forward. 

For a product designed to unclog, the Blaq Mask has been gunking up social media feeds for months.

You’ve barely signed in when you’re presented with a video of some beaming American called Chip peeling off the black mask to cheerfully reveal the forest of blackheads that has just been removed from his face. Way to go Chip. Medals for everybody.

But does it work? Well, GQ stumped for the $29 (that’s close to a blue swimmer crab, thanks) plus delivery fee, followed the instructions, went for the big reveal and, well, it was better than average. Just. And this after cleansing, applying a hot towel to open the pores and wearing the mask for 20 minutes.

Problem is that any pollutants extracted from the skin – the concoction a tubed charcoal liquid that dries on contact with air – will look more numerous and dramatic against a black background. Hence, the awestruck videos.


Is the Blaq Mask efficient and kind of fun to use? Yes. But can you do better? Definitely.

Above, details for the internet sensation – and three other masks we recommend.  

Clockwise, from top left: 

Baxter of California ‘Clarifying Clay Mask’, $35 (120ml), mensbiz.com.au; Blaq Mask, $29, blaqmask.com; Dr Roebuck’s Polish, $39.95 (100ml), skincarestore.com.au; SK-II ‘Facial Treatment Mask’, $28 (for one), myer.com.au

How to Shave with a Straight Razor (and Not Suffer)

To shave with a straight razor is to indulge in luxury. But with all great things, it takes technique, preparation, and patience. So we asked a guy who knows his stuff—John Rivera, who holds the title of Master Barber at The Art of Shaving's Barber Spa—and he gave us his 8 best tips.

The straight razor is intimidating. Powerful. If shaving were a sport, the straight razor would be the chosen blade of the big leagues. 

It’s also a luxurious experience. A labored process. There is good reason why we let the professionals—the barbers—wield the blade, while we relax with our eyes closed on their throne. The result is the closest shave known to man: “Due to the angle and pressure applied, the straight razor reached deeper and closer to the follicle with each pass,” says John Rivera, Master Barber at The Art of Shaving’s Barber Spa in NYC. 

However, you can give yourself this close of a shave at home, too—if you’re patient enough to learn the process, and confident enough to wield such a top-shelf blade. You may need a few attempts before doing it perfectly, but like we said: It’s a labored process. Follow Rivera’s guidelines below very closely, and you’ll spare yourself any agony along the way.

Before You Begin

There’s one thing you need to keep in mind here: A straight razor shave takes time. Like, way more time than a cartridge or electric shave—15 minutes, at least. “If you are not willing to dedicate the time and effort to re-learning how to shave with this tool, then you probably shouldn’t use it,” Rivera says. 

Most guys should be fine to use a straight razor, even those with sensitive skin. So long as you prepare the skin, work slowly through each step, and condition it after each shave, you shouldn’t experience any serious irritation.

Before picking your blade, you want to consider the blade weight that best suits you: “The weight of the blade will determine the pressure necessary for shaving,” Rivera says. “A lighter weight will need more pressure than a heavier one.” The best way to gauge this is to hold various blades, noting which ones are heaviest. If you end up picking a lighter one, you may need to apply more pressure than a heavier one. Either way, approach your first strokes with light pressure, to test the tool. 

The Process

Straight-razor shaves differ slightly from the otherwise standard guidelines

1. Preparation
As with any shave, you need to soften the skin and open the pores before using a straight razor. If it’s your first time with a straight razor, then you certainly need to prepare the skin properly to avoid serious burn. Jump in the hot shower, which will also soften the hairs and allow for a smoother shave. Then apply a pre-shave oil to condition the skin, followed by a transparent shave gel. 

2. The Hold
Rivera suggests holding the razor at 30-degree angle from the face. “If you hold the razor too flat it will tear the stubble,” he says. “And if held too steep, it will cut the skin.” Keep the grip firm, adjusting as necessary for the different parts of the face, like the upper lip and chin. The real key is to pull the skin taut with your other hand (or by stretching the neck), and applying gentle pressure with the blade. This will prevent you from cutting both the face and fingers. The blade is sharp; trust that it’ll do its job, less you want a Sweeney Todd situation on your hands.

3. The First Strokes
Pick one side of the face, and start at the sideburn, moving downward. “Take the first stroke at a downward slant, from the top of the cheek near the ear,” says Rivera. “The stroke should be short and even and move without jerks or chopping.” After each short stroke, rinse the blade in hot water and continue. Rivera says not to pull or drag the razor, and reiterates that the skin needs to stay taut. 

4. The Chin and Upper Lip
Lift the razor slightly as you approach the chin, and use the middle of the blade. “Never begin a fresh stroke on a prominent part of your face, such as the chin or jawbone,” Rivera says. “Begin a little away from these places, and work over them with [gentler], steady strokes.” 

You can approach the two sides of the upper lip as you would the cheeks, with short, steady strokes. Pull the opposite side of the lip taut, however, to flatten the skin. “Leave the center of the lip, though,” says Rivera. “Do it separately by holding the nose up slightly, to tighten the skin.” 

5. The Lower Lip and Neck
Practice adjusting your mouth so that the skin of your lower lip is widened and tightened. Take the first strokes from the corner of your mouth, across the skin to the center of your chin. You can then shave any remaining hairs with short upward strokes; start from the top of the chin, and let the razor follow the contours beneath your lips.

Be especially careful on the neck, both to avoid cuts and to minimize irritation. “Follow the grain of the hair in the neck,” says Rivera. “This pattern will differ from person to person dependent on hair growth.” Keep your strokes short and steady. 

6. Repeat
It’s likely you will have to do a second pass, spot checking for any missed patches. Rivera suggests shaving against or across the grain on the face during this second round. But, remember to re-lather your face with shaving cream or gel, after a hot splash of water on the skin. “Never take a stroke without shaving cream to cushion and protect the skin,” Rivera stresses.

7. Moisturize
Immediately after shaving, splash some cold water on the skin to tighten the pores. Apply a post-shave balm or moisturizer to the skin, patting it in instead of massaging it. Any rubbing might cause irritation. 

8. Storage
Blade storage is serious business. Rinse the blade and wipe it with a soft cloth; this will rid of any debris and moisture. Store it away from any moisture—some place where the steam of the shower won’t get to it. If you need to store it for a long period, then buy a blade oil; Rivera recommends camellia oil. Rub the oil over the blade before putting it away. This prevents any moisture in the air from rusting the blade. If your blade gets rusty, do not re-use it. Replace it.

Essential oils for grown men

MURFREESBORO — Over the past few years, more and more men have donned beards, goatees and moustaches. As the trend has grown, local makers sprouted their own men’s grooming companies in Rutherford County.

Milton-based Maple Hill Beard Co. and Murfreesboro’s Woodsviking have been on the cutting edge of the growing facial hair movement.

Maple Hill Beard Co. founder Parker Eakes said he was inspired in 2014 by all the beards he saw bristling around Nashville.

“Since then, it’s gone crazy,” Eakes said.

Bearded barbers from Murfreesboro Shawn Templeton and Aaron Dabney also saw the trend about two and half years ago and developed Woodsviking’s product lines.

Templeton, who has been a barber for 14 years and bearded for eight, kept seeing more and more clients with beards so, like Eakes, he and Dabney started researching beard care products.

Both companies followed similar paths with Maple Hill and Woodsviking toiling in their homes to develop all-natural recipes and cooking up batches in their kitchens.

When Eakes developed his recipes, he was working as a trainer for Apple and he kept seeing men with beards at his training sessions.

“People didn’t know anything about beard care products and those who did were buying online,” Eakes said.

He and wife talked, did market research and found they were at the beginning of a burgeoning trend.

Eakes, who has had a beard on and off for years, was the guinea pig for all of Maple Hill’s products. He tried different recipes and scents until he developed his first three scents of beard oils and beard butters.

He knew he was onto something when his wife complimented the softness of his beard.

“She was sold at that point,” Eakes said.

Why oil a beard?


Shawn Templeton gives Pierce Skipper, 9 a haircut in Templeton's shop the Woodsviking, on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (Photo: HELEN COMER/DNJ)

Eakes’ wife was impressed because the products condition the beard and protect a man’s face, Templeton said.

He explained beard care products, like oil, balm and butter, gives the user’s beard something facial skin doesn’t produce and makes it more like the scalp, which produces oils that keep hair and skin healthy.

Using the products on a regular basis does something similar and can prevent in-grown hairs, acne and itching, Templeton said.

He explained WoodsViking beard balm, which is his product of choice, is beeswax, shea butter and other ingredients that soften the beard and give more control and shape.

“It smells great, makes it softer and shinier,” he said.

Templeton said it can even be used in hair in moderation to repair split ends and add shine.

Early beard adopter Travis Swann started making his own beard oil once he saw the benefits of it.

“I started making my own beard oil a few years ago with a blend of essential oils and jojoba oil among others,” Swann said, explaining he also uses beard balm and beard oil.

“While I used it to maintain beard health, I also used it for allergies and the overall effect has been great. By adding essential oils such as lavender and lemon, the allergy benefit is an added bonus and I've cut down my symptoms significantly,” he said.

In addition to the allergy control, beard balm helps with control and “gives it a more firm look and feel.”

He also uses a Maple Hill beard comb and, on occasion, a store-bought beard balm from California.

All-natural and homemade


Aaron Dabney and Shawn Templeton have developed an array of differnt beard oils and products that the sell at their shop Woodsviking Barbar Shop, on the square in Murfreesboro. Photo taken on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (Photo: HELEN COMER/DNJ)

Both companies tout their all-natural products and their humble origins and what sets both companies apart from others is how they are made.

“I’m a barber so I know what’s good for hair,” Templeton said, explaining Woodsviking is the only beard care product made in Middle Tennessee that uses biotin to encourage hair growth.

Templeton and Dabney mix and package their concoctions at home from all-natural ingredients.

Eakes with his wife Kim and daughter Abby work together at their home in Milton to create, market and sell Maple Hill’s products.

“Everything we do is natural … And when we have the opportunity to get something from a local source, we do that,” Eakes said.

He explained the beeswax used in the beard butter comes from TruBee Honey in Arrington and the combs are made by a family friend.

The success of both businesses have led them to expand.

Maple Hill has added a handmade beard comb along with brushes and scissors, soaps and shampoos, and T-shirts.

Maple Hill is looking to expand into men’s care with additional products. After the beginning of the year, the company plans to introduce hand cream and shave products to its personal care line “and even more beard products in the spring,” Eakes said.

Templeton and Dabney have grown their side business into a full-service barbershop on the Square. When the men learned that Tiptop Barbershop was going to close its doors after 60 years in business, they took over in October and rebranded it as Woodsviking Barbershop.

Which Skills May Be Going By the Wayside for Men?

STERLING, Ill., Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Throughout the course of history there have been skills long considered "essential" for guys to know how to do--fixing leaks, changing car oil, starting a fire without matches, cutting their own hair and more. Men's grooming leader Wahl set out to uncover if guys still know how to perform these tried and true skills and whether they are embraced by today's younger generation of guys - millennials. The results suggest that what was once considered need-to-know is no longer needed—or at least not as much. 

For more on the study visit: https://grooming.wahl.com/community/whats-new.

Haircutting the millennial skill. New research from Wahl Clippers finds that millennials are significantly more likely to embrace the essential skill of haircutting than older generations.

Down but Not Out
For the study, Wahl identified nine skills that have long been identified as essential for men and asked 1,000 guys nationwide to weigh in on their ability to perform them. Here's how baby boomers and millennials responded when asked:  Which of these skills do you know how to do?

Boomers Have the Edge
Not surprisingly, baby boomers had the edge in most of the skills, outpacing millennials in seven of the nine categories. Shoe shining had the widest education gap with boomers 38 percentage points ahead of millennials and fixing a leaky faucet close behind with a 35-percent gap.

According to the results, the skills that millennial men knew most include grooming, as well as diaper duty and oil changes, showing that younger guys aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. 

Haircutting: the Millennial Skill
While baby boomers were more apt to know how to perform most of the skills on the list, the one skill millennials embrace more than baby boomers is cutting their own hair (39 percent versus 28 percent). 

"We are not surprised that today's younger generations who grew up in a culture of convenience and technology at their fingertips are taking up home haircutting," said Steven Yde, division vice president for Wahl. "We were excited to learn from the study that 63 percent of millennials who cut their hair taught themselves how to do it. New powerful clipper technology and haircutting video tutorials available online all help guys to make haircutting an essential skill they can do anytime, anywhere."

Not only are millennials picking up a clipper to cut their own hair, they are doing it frequently. Seven out of 10 millennials who indicated that they know how to cut their own hair stated that they have done so in the past month.

For guys who want to take matters in their own hands and take pride in learning how to master these essential yet teachable skills, Wahl offers how-to videos and tips to achieve a variety of haircutting and facial hair styles on grooming.wahl.com.  For how-to videos on the other essential man skills on the list, visit https://grooming.wahl.com/community/whats-new

About Wahl Grooming
Since 1919, with the invention of the first practical electric hair clipper Wahl Clipper Corporation has been the leader in the professional and home grooming category. Still headquartered in Sterling, Ill., this year Wahl is celebrating its 97th anniversary. In addition to manufacturing clippers, Wahl recognized the need for an easier way to keep facial hair well-groomed and created the men's trimmer category more than a quarter-century ago.  Today Wahl offers a complete line of facial hair trimmers that feature the latest in power and convenience, continuing the company's legacy of superior grooming for real guys. For more information, visit WahlGrooming.com.

Editors' note: The study, commissioned by Wahl, was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation and included a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,000 men 18 years of age and older. The generational breakdown is defined by age as: Millennials (18-35), Gen X (36-51) and Baby Boomers (52-70). The survey was conducted August 22-28, 2016.