With cleavers & blowtorches, barber offers hair-raising cuts

Published May 12, 2021
BARBER Ali Abbas uses a butcher’s knife to cut the hair of a customer at his shop in Lahore.—AFP
BARBER Ali Abbas uses a butcher’s knife to cut the hair of a customer at his shop in Lahore.—AFP

LAHORE: Hoping to pro­ve a cut above the competition, barber Ali Abbas relies on an unusual array of tools to practice his craft — incl­uding blowtorches, meat cle­a­v­ers, and even broken glass.

Abbas’s fringe style is proving a hit in the conservative nation, with customers flocking to his shop in Lahore.

During a typical trim, Abbas will take a bit off the top with a blowtorch. He adds some layers with the help of a cleaver and butcher’s block, while occasionally thinning out a thicker mane with a bit of broken glass.

“I thought I should do som­ething different to attract more clients,” Abbas said.

“In the beginning, I tried it on artificial hair, and then — after practising it for some time — I used it on a client, and he liked it a lot.” Since first unveiling his style in 2016 and after brushing away customer fears, he says the unconventional approach has become a hit. His popularity has only grown since, resulting in television appearances and fashion shoots.

“There has been a very good response from my clients, who were quite scared in the beginning,” said Abbas, whose eccentric manner and own unkempt, frizzy locks gives him the look of a mad scientist.

Abbas charges Rs2,000 ($13) for the unorthodox tre­a­t­ment or Rs1,000 for a traditional trim with scissors.

“I am feeling quite relaxed and comfortable,” said Ali Saqlain, as the barber took a blowtorch to his head.

Abbas says he also enjoys a large number of women customers, who he charges an additional Rs500 for extra styling.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2021

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