March 2016: Mak Azores and Ez Abinal are no longer with Slick Barbers Co. They can now be found at Heavyhands Barbershop.
The rise of menswear over the last few years coincided with the return to masculine grooming. Hair styles from the early 20th century such as the “fade” and “pompadour” were suddenly back in fashion. The trend eventually caught up in the Philippines that I’ve been seeing more and more men sporting the hair style.
However, the hair cuts I’ve been seeing weren’t properly executed. Most of the barbers here know how to cut hair but aren’t so skilled when it comes to styling. Usually the result is the unflattering undercut more often than not accompanied by a heavy top. It also didn’t help that the barbers did not have the right hair styling products leaving many with a half-baked hair cut.
This situation has held me back from getting a fade and pompadour until I discovered barber Mak Azores on Instagram. Looking through his photos I could see his skill and passion for cutting hair. Quite impressive after only learning to cut hair via YouTube videos and no professional training whatsoever.
Back then Mak Azores was working for an outsourcing company and during the weekends he would participate in barber sessions held in the south of Manila and Makati. Passion has a way of bringing people together that he eventually met fellow barbers Ez Abinal and Christian “Indio” Bendaña. They began calling themselves Slick Barbers Co. and the rest, as they say, is history.
To understand why Slick Barbers Co. is in demand right now you have to take a closer look at their technique and how they do it differently compared to your average barber. Mak Azores cut my hair recently and I was able to witness first hand how he cuts hair. I chose him because I believe he is the most skilled in the group based on photos and feedback from friends. I did not ask for anything specific; I just let him do what he felt would look good on me.
Mak started off by using an electric clipper to trim the sides and back for the fade. He gets this part right by not shaving too high up the curvature of the head. He also does not give the hair a uniform shave from top to bottom so the hair grows naturally and will not stand up as it grows longer. It’s a proper fade and not simply a shave.
After the fading is achieved he proceeded to trim my hair with sheers. While trimming he sprays water and combs it in between cuts to see how the hair is taking shape. My hair is slightly wavy so it wasn’t difficult to see how it would fall into place.
With the fade and trim done he added a water-based strong hold pomade to my hair. He then parted my hair to one side then shaved off some hair to define the parting. This also made it easy to remember where I should always part my hair for a consistent look.
It’s worth pointing out that both the trimming and the parting were done with attention to detail. The parting ends exactly where the hair swirls on the back of my head. He did not trim too much so the hair doesn’t stand up when parting. This is something most barbers have a hard time with but Mak gets it right.
He put the finishing touches by shaving some hair along the edges as hair doesn’t always grow in straight lines. Finally, he gives me a pompadour by lifting some of the parted hair up front then curving them back. The result is a flattering hair cut that still looks good even when the hair has grown longer.