By Matt James
It seems college students at UNH are more likely to try a new IPA brew than a new hairstylist or barber. With only about three months from the start of the semester to Thanksgiving break, it offers the perfect amount of time to put off getting a haircut until you make it back to your trusted hometown stylist or barber.
“I’ve heard bad things about the places around here,” said 21-year-old senior, Summer Johnson. “Just that they’re expensive and it’s not great service.”
For 18-year-old freshman, Sam Otis, “it’s not that big of a deal to wait.”
These are two of the most popular arguments every college student choosing not to get a haircut around Durham makes. It could be possible though, that taking that so-called risk of trusting an unfamiliar face, with unfamiliar shears, might leave you feeling more confident throughout the whole semester rather than just the beginning or end.
“We’re like doctors,” said 24-year-old hairdresser, Katie Collins, at Hair Excitement of 49 Main Street, suite 102 in Durham. “We look at the client’s hair to prescribe products, teach them how to take better care of their hair, keep their color fresh, and teach them how to style it.”
“We are a very full service premium salon,” said 42-year-old Salon Manager and Educator, Tina Cannon. “We are very in tune with pampering the client.”
Upon entering Hair Excitement, either by walk-in or by appointment, you are greeted with a friendly hello and a drink of your choice. Not to mention that drink comes in an actual glass.
Such things as combination packages of a haircut and shampoo are further enlightened by lights being turned down low at the shampoo station, maximizing your relaxation from all those tough exams.
“As cosmetologists, we hold the strongest license in the industry,” said Cannon. “We provide services for hair, skin, nails, tanning, manicures, pedicures, facials, and waxing.”
They do it all, including the lesser-known service of “being your best friend or your therapist”, as hairdresser Collins put it.
“I’ve been to Hair Excitement twice, and my favorite hairdresser is Katie,” said UNH Senior Jacob Moss about Collins. “She’s super sweet and is probably the only person who has ever cut my hair who had engaged me in a genuine conversation that I came away from feeling good.”
Moss also said he ran into Collins a couple weeks after his haircut and they chatted a bit as she was getting off her shift.
Hair Excitement charges $22 for a men’s cut, and $25 for a women’s. A level system, based on experience, talent, and amount of requests of the hairdresser, charges $2 extra for every level up with a men’s cut and $4 more with a women’s. In this way, it gives the client some options depending on how much they want to spend by choosing whom they get their haircut by.
Another salon on campus, UpperCut, is located right over by Dominos at 7D Mill Road.
Here, hairdressers like 20-year-olds, Haley Arsenault and Chloi Venturi, pride themselves on cutting your hair exactly how you want it. They have consultations with the client at the beginning of each cut where they ask questions of what’s working and what’s not.
“We try to personalize with each individual client and give a hair style that works for their facial shape and skin tone,” said Venturi. “We may see something different, but we always take their ideas into consideration.”
Though this is a salon, that does not just mean it is a place just for women to get their haircut. In fact, this shop apparently sees more men than women just because the style for many women today is long hair, which doesn’t need to be cut as often as short hair.
“People think men’s haircuts tend to be one type of haircut, but there’s a lot of different types,” said Arsenault. “Tight fades, pompadour, any clean-cut Euro styles. Men’s cuts are my favorite thing to do.”
UpperCut charges $25 for any cut and style and $32 for a wash, cut, and style. On Saturdays, Venturi, who recently started at the salon, offers $20 men’s cuts and styles.
Besides haircuts, UpperCut also provides a great deal of experience with things such as dimensional hair colors, foils, texture, and waxing.
“With dimensional color hair painting, you’ll get the sun-kissed appeal without the upkeep,” said Arsenault. “If you’re doing it at home, it can look choppy because it is a hard technique to get down.”
Professional quality is a big benefit of going to UpperCut, not to mention the time it will save you as well.
If you’re worried about the price, upon first visit, Uppercut’s gives coupons for your next haircut. Along with that, a referral to a friend will also result in discounted deals.
Another incentive with UpperCut is the Holiday Raffle from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31. Buying different products from the salon will automatically enter you into the raffle where you can win free hair care products for a year.
Moving away from the salon scene in Durham, you can jump into an urban barbershop at Main Street Barbers, 42C Main Street.
Main Street is known for its “more laid back feel” as 20-year-old Junior Mike Gryncewicz put it after getting a haircut at the shop. With hip-hop music always playing during shop hours, posters everywhere, and a giant sofa and flat screen, it couldn’t get much more relaxed.
“Most shops focus on getting you in and out with quantity over quality,” said shop manager and barber, 28-year-old Mike Witham who goes by Lil’ Mike. “I pay attention to every detail because those are the cuts I like to do.”
Lil’ Mike spends around 30 minutes on a regular men’s blended cut and closer to 45 minutes on what he calls, an “urban cut.” These “urban cuts” include mostly clipper cuts of fades, line-ups, and military cuts. Mike also calls them “hip hop cuts,” something he learned to get good at during his five years of professionally cutting hair at three different barber shops in Manchester.
“A big inspiration for me is hip hop music,” said Lil’ Mike. “It’s part of the culture in hip hop music to be always looking fresh with a tight cut.”
Lil Mike charges $15 for a men’s haircut and just $7 for a quick line up or clean up. The line up option is for when you can’t afford or don’t need a full haircut one week and just want to get cleaned up quick.
Though many customers probably feel this barbershop is, as client, Cryncewicz put it, “more advertised towards cutting men’s hair,” Lil’ Mike’s sister, 35-year-old, Faith Glidden, does come in to cut longer hair. She works with texturizing, colors, extensions, and tinsels, and charges around $20-25 for a cut depending on the style and length of the hair.
All three of these shops recommend making appointments, but don’t require it. Lil’ Mike uses the Booksy app with his clients, but walk-ins are always welcome. The best days to do a walk-in at all shops are earlier in the week Monday through Wednesday. as they all start to get busy as the weekend comes around by Thursday.
Main Street Barbers can be reached at (603) 397-5103 and are usually open everyday from 2-8 p.m.
Hair Excitement can be reached at (603) 868-2231 and is open from 9:00 am to 9:00pm Monday through Friday, 9:00 am-5:00pm Saturdays, and 10:00 am to 5:00pm on Sundays.
Uppercuts can be reached at (603) 868-7363 and is open 10:00am-2:00pm Mondays by appointment only, 9:00am to 7:00pm Tuesday thru Thursday, 9:00am- 5:00pm Fridays, and 9:00am to 3:00pm Saturdays. They are not open Sundays.