A barber in Thindigua, Kiambu County, is making waves by using an unusual tool to cut the hair and beards of his customers.
Julius Mwangi, 24, uses a small axe.
He picked up the implement three months ago after realising that he needed to boost his sales by finding a unique tool that his competitors were not using.
The father of one takes pride in his skill. He explains that his way with the axe has excited his customers, to his advantage.
“Customers will visit just to see whether an axe can really shave and after proving it, some come back and want to be shaved using it,” he tells the Nation when we visited his Clippers King barber shop in Thindigua.
Although the axe cannot manage most of the styles that a machine can, it threatens to become the best tool for pulling off the Jordan style.
It also ensures that no single strand of hair remains on a customer’s head and that the head will be as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
The axe can also achieve the semi-Jordan hairstyle and fade-ins, as well as making various beard cuts per a customer’s specifications.
Shaving with an axe requires immense concentration, Julius says, and often takes 15-30 minutes, making it costlier than using an electric shaving machine.
The barber also needs to have water in a basin near him, to wipe off the axe every few minutes.
To prevent spreading infections among his customers, Julius ensures that he cleans his axe thoroughly and keeps it sharp. He also ensures that he places it in an ultraviolet sterilizer machine so as to kill any bacteria.
“The art of shaving using an axe is a skill that needs to be accepted, even though at first one is afraid and frightened. It will require people to lose their reservations, as it must have been the case when shaving machines were invented,” said Dennis Mwangi, a customer who wanted the axe experience.
Julius continues to perfect his art of shaving with an axe. While ensuring that his customers’ needs are met, Julius acknowledges that his employer encourages him and gives him the support he needs.
But he does acknowledge that sometimes he is nervous when shaving a customer with the axe, adding that his fear of injuring customers keeps him on guard.
Julius hopes that other barbers in Kenya will incorporate the axe in their toolboxes.