Making the Cut

Photography by Daniel Barceló

Routine grooming has become normalized for the modern gentleman. Meet some of the city’s favorite barbers as they give their expert advice and demonstrate some top cuts.

For us guys, going to the local store for some shampoo and pomade looks a lot different than it did five years ago. We actually have options. A mass array of elevated grooming brands and products tailored just for men, set in a man-cave style environment, draws you in like a glass of whiskey after a hard day’s work.

From thickening putty to dry shampoo, all made with testosterone in mind, men’s hair has never looked better. Your time has come, pretty boys. You no longer have to be ashamed of your weekly haircuts and fancy hair products. In fact, the new generation of coiffe-conscience dudes have not only normalized routine hair grooming but have made it an expectation for the modern gentleman.

Whether you’re a “once-a-week” kind of guy or an “I go when my wife tells me” type, it is crucial to have an archive of hair products and style knowledge that rivals your fantasy football expertise. Finding a skilled barber that knows what hair trends are on the horizon is the most important part to a good head of hair. We need an occasional push to try new things and take some risks with our mane, and who better to trust than our hair therapist.

We’ve rounded up a few of our local favorite barbers to talk hair, style, product, and demonstrate that the best barber shops are right here in Lakeland.

Price Thomas: Reflections of Excellence

1013 South Florida Avenue

Lakeland, FL 33803

863.683.4967

facebook.com/reflectionsofexcellence

The Lakelander: How long have you been cutting hair?

Price Thomas: Five and a half years. Growing up in a family full of barbers makes it feel so much longer. I always joke that it was a 23-year process to get hired at my family’s shop!

TL: What was your most embarrassing moment as a cosmetology student or apprentice?

PT: I’d say the process of learning to express myself through hair was pretty embarrassing. I never really encouraged myself for self-expression, so it was kind of awkward at first.

TL: Why is a good haircut so important for men?

PT: I think it’s very important for anyone to look confident in the way they present themselves, and a good haircut is a cornerstone for anyone’s appearance.

TL: What are some new hair trends for men?

PT: I think we are going to see more short haircuts (i.e. Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok). It’s short and texturized, looking very simple, but there’s been a lot of work put into it, and it shows. But the real trend to me is confidence. Just looking like you take care of yourself and carry yourself well; you can’t go wrong.

TL: What are the three “must-have” products and/or tools that every guy needs?

PT: A good barber: don’t be afraid to ask questions; they can be your greatest resources. A hairdryer: you’d be surprised what you can do with one! Product: know what type works for you, and don’t be afraid to try new ones and play around with your hair.

TL: What got you into this creative profession?

PT: I’m a third-generation barber. But I was going to college for pre-med, and I just got so tired of school and feeling stagnant that I thought I would try out the family business.

TL: What advice would you give men out there?

PT: Don’t vigorously dry your hair with a towel. And, unless you get very dirty, you may not need to wash your hair every day.

TL: What’s your favorite hair tip?

PT: Don’t wear a hat the day of your haircut.

TL: Where do you go, or who do you look to, for hair inspiration?

PT: I feel like “movies and magazines” is too obvious of an answer, but it’s true. Every time I create a hairstyle for someone, I ask them what models/celebrities/athletes they want to look like, and I can usually make something for them.

Jason Oliveras: Reborn Blow Dry Bar & Barber

117 South Kentucky Avenue

Lakeland, FL 33801

rebornlkld.com

TL: How long have you been cutting hair?

Jason Oliveras: I’ve been cutting hair for 10 years now and professionally licensed for eight years.

TL: What was your most embarrassing moment as a cosmetology student or apprentice?

JO: I tried to do my first design on a little kid’s hair, and by the end of it, I had to shave the poor kid bald.

TL: Why is a good haircut so important for men?

JO: It tells you something about yourself. The confidence/feeling you have after a haircut is definitely refreshing, to know you left the chair feeling good about yourself. It’s always good to have confidence in yourself, and grooming is a huge factor in that.

TL: What are the three “must-have” products and/or tools that every guy needs?

JO: Cordless trimmers to edge beard/edges, a really good pomade or styling cream to style up the hair, and some kind of facial cream to keep skin smooth. Also, a really good-smelling cologne.

TL: What is a common misconception about men and hair that you want to set straight?

JO: A misconception about barbers, specifically, is that we can tend to get stereotyped by people by the way we may look or how they think we act. Barbering is an art; it’s not all about cutting hair. There’s a different passion behind just cutting hair. It’s more than just a haircut for me.

TL: What got you into this creative profession?

JO: My Uncle Rene. He was a really good barber here in Lakeland and passed away a couple years ago. So, just carrying on his legacy.

TL: What hair advice would you give all the men out there?

JO: Have fun with the hairstyles you choose. Hair always grows back. Try new things to spice it up.

TL: Where do you go, or who do you look to, for hair inspiration?

JO: I’m always on Instagram looking for new trends. I have really been liking the more minimal and natural styles that have been coming out recently.

Jay Zengotita: Kirkland's Barbershop

4816 South Florida Avenue

Lakeland, FL 33813

863.648.2951

TL: How long have you been cutting hair?

Jay Zengotita: 10 years

TL: What was your most embarrassing moment as a cosmetology student or apprentice?

JZ: Calling my customer by the wrong name. But she played it off cool, and when she paid for the service she told me that I was calling her by the wrong name.

TL: Why is a good haircut so important for men?

JZ: A good haircut is an introduction to an everlasting first impression. It foremost exudes confidence, and brands the individual of whom they are and what they represent.

TL: What are some new hair trends for men?

JZ: The 1950s’-inspired gentle-men’s haircuts have been in. Skin fades with lots of texture on top. And doing extreme fantasy colors (blue, green, pink, etc.) and comb-over fades with part lines.

TL: What are the three “must-have” products and/or tools that every guy needs?

JZ: A good shampoo and conditioner. A go-to style product for an everyday look, whether it’s a pomade, texture powder, or a curl cream. And a blow dryer to help complete the look.

TL: What is a common misconception about men and hair that you want to set straight?

JZ: Not all haircuts can be done in 10 minutes. It’s a craft that needs to be, first off, perfected and not rushed. Those extra minutes we take can be the difference between someone asking, “Did you get a haircut?” or someone saying, “Whoever cut your hair last gave you a phenomenal haircut!” Real barbers craft haircuts, not just do them.

TL: What got you into this creative profession?

JZ: Being able to just be me; have my tattoos, wild hair, and my savage beard. Being able to meet people from different walks in life and learn from each other. And every day is a different day with another canvas of hair. I never have a boring moment.

TL: What hair advice would you give all the men out there?

JZ: Spoil yourself with a good haircut experience with a well-trained professional. And be experimental with your hair. Ask your barber or stylist for their opinion on what they would recommend doing.

TL: Your favorite hair tip?

JZ: Shampoo regularly! And be educated on the proper way of styling your hair and how much product
to use.

Bruce Sharp: Phade Phanatix Barbershop & Salon

TL: How long have you been cutting hair?

Bruce Sharp: I’ve been cutting hair for total of 17 years.

TL: Why is a good haircut so important for men?

BS: For self-confidence and motivation. When you find a style that fits you, it makes you feel good inside and restores your identity on the outside.

TL: What are some new hair trends for men?

BS: New trends tend to repeat themselves and, honestly, go through a phase where old looks come back to become new again. Now a lot of clients go for styles with a lot more length on top like the very popular “man-bun” or undercut look.

TL: What are the three “must-have” products and/or tools that every guy needs?

BS: Cordless clippers and trimmers. My personal favorite brand is Andis International. Aside from the cutting tools, a must-have are good styling products that work for all hair types. The “matte” look is what’s favored nowadays.

TL: What got you into this creative profession?

BS: I became interested in hair shortly after I moved to Florida from my hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I couldn’t find a barbershop I truly felt confident in and started barbering on myself, and then my brother, father, and some family; and took off with it after noticing some talent start to grow and learning more about the skill and history.

TL: What advice would you give men out there?

BS: Visit your barber regularly. Don’t wait until the last minute. Be bold and go for your own look!

3234 South Florida Avenue

Lakeland, FL 33803

863.940.4830