Jamie Goodwin visits Urban Male Lounge to keep his beard at bay
Urban Male Lounge looks exactly as the name would suggest, a hive of testosterone with a modern twist – all glass, clean white walls, and dark wooden surfaces. The small space is used expertly; customers are swept through to a bustling and efficient salon for haircuts and shaves, or small treatment rooms for manicures, massages and waxes.
The Ultimate Shave promises to be just that, keeping the thickest of beards at bay and the gruffest of faces smooth and soft. Gently steaming the pores with a hot towel and lathering the facial hair with foam leaves the hairs soft, before the face is twice-shaven with a cut-throat razor. Skin is then drenched with a purifying moisture mask to ‘nurture it back to gleaming masculinity’. UML recommends the treatment once a month. The back wax should leave the skin hairless without aggravation.
Step by step
For my first time in a professional shaver’s chair, I opt at first for The Ultimate Shave. But after a brief examination of my face, my barber suggests that someone with skin as sensitive as mine should have the Gentleman’s Shave: the little brother of the Ultimate, consisting of a light shave and facial, rather than a double shave. I agree with him, at least in part because he was holding a huge glinting razor. After moisturising, steaming and applying foam to my skin, he runs the sharp razor firmly across my cheeks, before shaving my neck more gently and then expertly navigating the tougher areas under my nose and around my chin. He finishes off with an electric razor so as not to aggravate my sensitive skin further, then applies moisturiser. I'm then shown to a small room at the back of the salon for my wax. The pain is short-lived and the efficient treatment is over quickly.
My face feels smooth and soft, but very slight patches of stubble on my neck remain as a result of my lighter shave. This tells me the treatment is probably not for those with sensitive skin, but better for tougher skin and a thicker beard than mine. My back feels tender, but soon settles down.
• Shaves are tailored to skin types. Staff don’t plough on with an unsuitable (and possibly more expensive) option.
• Treatments are quick, but don’t feel rushed.
• It lasts much longer than a regular shave – great for lazy men.
• The barber smelled strongly of cigarettes – not pleasant when he is leaning over you for 20 minutes.