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Sundance 2014: Marco F. Martinez

A straight razor shave with a master in Dove Men+Care's Park City Barbershop

by David Graver in Style on 21 January 2014

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In conjunction with this year's Sundance Film Festival, grooming and skincare brand Dove Men+Care hosted a pop-up barbershop, aptly dubbed the Park City Barbershop. There, we had an opportunity to sit in the chair of Marco F. Martinez, the Master Barber and Salon Manager of The Boardroom Salon for Men—an institution sprung up in Houston, TX which has since expanded around the state. Demonstrating his years of experience, Martinez offered us a shave and spoke about the artistry in the craft, the proper way to approach it, its resurgence and why it's a viable way for men to be pampered.

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"When I was born, I came out with a straight razor and a comb," Martinzez jokes. He did, in fact, start cutting hair when he was 13 years old; an experience he describes as "messing up my brother and cousin's hair." Martinez started at cosmetology school, encouraged by his aunt. He found it less than interesting and soon transferred to a barber college, which he loved. He notes that although "they teach you more of the prepping and angles of shaving, you learn more by being hands on. By doing it." He wasn't scared to use a straight razor.

Martinez calls his story one of redemption; he grew up surrounded by drugs and violence. He struggled with own demons and saw them reflected in his father. He broke free through barbering and went from a rebellious child to a struggling barber to now being master barber and GM of two locations for The Boardroom. "Barbering has changed my life," he says. And with it, he changes other's—including the guests of the Dove Men+Care Park City Barbershop, where he notes that the Dove products he uses were created in collaboration with dermatologist and barbers just like himself. He also describes his regular base of operations, The Boardroom—a high-end salon-style barbershop—as another perfect location to showcase his skills and expertise. He notes a resurgence in requests for straight razor shaves and believes there is a real revival of a once dying art. "The barber industry has been around for a long time, but I think gentlemen are coming back to that old school tradition. Men are looking to groom themselves more, and they see value in the traditions of their fathers and grandfathers."

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"Women generally engage more in spa activities. Men were seeking something as well. The barber shop was almost a lost art and is such a craft experience," he explains. "You'll hands-down get a closer shave. And when you do so with a barber, you're getting their education and experience behind the blade." Having an incredibly sharp slice of metal pressed to your neck isn't the most relaxing of scenarios, but Martinez has a few tricks to get people to remain calm: "First, a consultation sets the pace. I want clients assured that they're in good hands." From there, it's constant use of warm water, shaving in a circular motion to encourage relaxation and little strokes on the face so people don't feel as if there is always a blade scraping away. All of this contributes not only to relaxation, but also a sense of deep comfort.

Martinez recommends trying to shave with a straight razor at home after you've consulted with an actual barber. "If you start, try with a small patch. You don't want to go out and slice a piece of your skin, but it is something you can do at home for a closer shave." He also suggests using double edge blades. As for why he uses Dove products, he was quite clear: "It caters to people with sensitive skin. They also talk about real people. I am 100% real. I start the pre-shave process with the Exfoliating Scrub. Then, the Pre-Shave Oil, which is amazing. Lathering on top of it with the Smoothing Shave Cream for regular skin or Total Comfort Shave Cream for drier skin allows for a better glide. I felt like they thought about me when they released the Dove Men+Care expert shave products and the Aqua Impact Shampoo. Even the Post Shave Intense Repair Balm, as a finish, soothes any irritation. I want to take care of my skin."

Images courtesy of AP Images for Dove

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