Are Indian Street Barbers Safe/Hygienic?

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View Poll Results: Are Street barbers/shavers safe.hygienic?
Steer Clear of them, not worth the risk 5 17.86%
Don’t be so lazy, do it yourself! 4 14.29%
One of India’s most economical luxuries, don’t miss this service! 14 50.00%
Go ahead - but screen thoroughly for hygiene beforehand 2 7.14%
Why not ….. & visit the street dentist right after 1 3.57%
Not if they paid me a whole sack of rupees 2 7.14%
Voters: 28. You may not vote on this poll

#61 Feb 16th, 2012, 14:00
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#61
What is this barbicide?

Should I spray it if I find my street filling up with barbers? Will it have any effect on the mosquitoes?
#62 Feb 16th, 2012, 14:14
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#62
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barbicide?

Will it have any effect on the mosquitoes?
Not sure Nick, but it might - on the "spatters".



Peak, pardon the intrusion on this thread. I have nothing more to contribute here. Adieu
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#63 Feb 16th, 2012, 14:23
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#63
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Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post I was curious as to the more general consensus of the now much wider community. Thus the poll.
You don't seriously think these polls here (or anywhere else on the web, for that matter) give you anything objective to go on, do you? Goodness grief.

If anything, on this forum I usually consider them to be meant sort-of tongue-in-cheek; whereas here as elsewhere, when they're not I consider them just plain redundant.

To present it as if you were looking for something like the definitive public inquiry on it I find in any case, besides absurd, just plain dishonest. Methinks rather you got exactly the discussion you were looking for.
Last edited by machadinha; Feb 16th, 2012 at 16:00.. Reason: edited, corrected
#64 Feb 16th, 2012, 14:30
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#64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post What is this barbicide?

Should I spray it if I find my street filling up with barbers? Will it have any effect on the mosquitoes?
No, but I think it chases some blonde dolls away.
#65 Feb 16th, 2012, 15:31
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I remember going for a shave in a remote village about 10 years ago and the experience was a bit rough but i've also had silky smooth experiences with street barbers in some tourist locations. I have no issues going for a hair cut at street barbers but iam cautious shaving my beard/stubble with them to avoid the possibility of a rough/painful shave and hygiene. Some of these street barbers are super talented in their field and offer great services with an added bonus of head/shoulder massage plus some interesting conversation/gossip. 99.99999% of Indians(including me) take a thorough shower immediately after hair cut, not due to barber's hygiene but to wash off any cut hair from the scalp and to keep the itchy sensation away. One must be careful with shaving though due to hygiene standards,quality of blades/creams/lotions/gel etc. The bottom line is i don't mine hair cut/massage with street barbers at all but unless i have no other option, i wouldn't prefer shaving my stubble with them.
#66 Feb 16th, 2012, 15:58
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#66
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Originally Posted by capt_mahajan View Post Just because a man spends less money does not make his experience more real.
I don't think anyone has suggested that, though Peak seems intent on making it sound that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post Yes, perhaps there's a 'support your local street merchant & give yourself a pat on the back' factor thrown in their as well for some ......
Peak, a comment like that is what I'd expect from a former workmate, he returned from his 2 week resort holiday in Goa almost proud that he'd spoken to hardly any Indians.

I'm thinking you probably walk a mile to the nearest Wheelers store to get your newspaper, at least is saves you having to pat yourself on the back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post regardless if you happen to take a few nicks, an ear lopping, or ending up 'owning' the latest strain of the barber's rasharoo.
A comment like this just gets me wondering if you've ever had a shave from a street barber, it sound like you've read about it in the guidebook.

I've had 2 nicks in over 100 shaves, one from a street barber, and one from a more upmarket place in Delhi.

I'm good at keeping my head very still, one of the reasons I love being shaved in India is because it slows me down to the right pace for the day, forces me to relax, and leaves me feeling great, isn't that what a great holiday is all about.
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Please look at this thread, even if you are not in India.: Have you seen Jonathan Spollen?

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#67 Feb 16th, 2012, 16:35
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#67
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Originally Posted by prince09 View Post ..Some of these street barbers are super talented in their field and offer great services with an added bonus of head/shoulder massage ..
that reminds me of one. Long back when i visited a local barber near my place, after the shave he gave that added bonus of head/shoulder massage to show off his talent.. in one of the trick he placed his right hand on my chin and left on the top of my head and began to slowly pull it towards my shoulder as in stretching the neck to relax. It was going fine until.. Crack[..i heard a sound in my neck..
And there i stopped him.. looked him in eyes and told him not to do it again. Ever!
politely he asked me to get it on the right side as well to complete it? And i looked him again. In the eye. Widening my eyes a little more this time unitl they started coming out..
it was like the crackle sound we do with our fingers and toe joints stretching them.. nothing happened as such..
Why is this screen tilted to the left though??
I don't know, I don't care, and it doesn't make any difference!
#68 Feb 16th, 2012, 16:43
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#68
In fact the few times they've done the neck or nose crack/pop on me, I might get peeved with it especially if it wasn't asked for, but they'll do it in the right way.

Can be disconcerting though, and so I'd rather have it they didn't, and would kindly enquire first, and so leaving it up to me to say no thank you. But so it seems to be a technique they're normally good at, they're not just giving you some random twist of the neck. And I'd imagine they'd soon be out of business if they did, indeed.

It's been mentioned above, but when I said here or on the other thread that spawned this discussion that in fact in the Netherlands few Dutch barbers, save for perhaps the most old-fashioned and traditional, do shaves anymore, but some ethnic barbers do, they invariably tell me it's because it's not an easy technique. Dutch barbers just don't learn this anymore, or might be afraid of it (and then their customers may not so often be looking for it anymore, of course, but will rather do it themselves for the money), whereas among say Turkish barbers and their clientele apparently it's just a more common service still (and indeed still fairly affordable, if of course not downright cheap). I reckon many clients indeed don't have it done because they can't do it themselves, but it's just a nice luxury whilst an affordable treatment, and with indeed a cup of tea and some chit-chat along the way, so even in the Netherlands where I live. Reading a paper as you wait, indeed requiring some time and patience and some social interaction that perhaps many of us are no longer used to or in fact get nervous about, and so on.

There's really no one holding a gun to anyone's head to make use of their services, either; not here, and not there.

Guess what, being an old punk rocker, we'd cut and shave our own and each other's heads, anyway, what do you think Then in fact I've had these Indian barbers crisply shave my mohicans and in a jiffy like they'd never done anything else, even though of course it was a first to them. (One reckons shaving pilgrim's heads and those of the bereft indeed will make the technique as such not so uncommon to them.) I found that comment by Klompen pretty on-the-mark, they do seem to have a knack for seeing exactly where the original cut or style was, though of course they won't tend to be very up-to-date with the latest Western fashions. These guys are generally pretty good at what they do, believe me, and no it isn't an easy trade to learn; you don't think in NL or someplace again you can get busy just cutting people's heads just like that, right?
Last edited by machadinha; Feb 16th, 2012 at 17:27.. Reason: edited
#69 Feb 16th, 2012, 20:02
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#69
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I don't think anyone has suggested that
Absolutely true. I just thought the two 'sides' were talking at cross purposes here.

Quote:
one of the reasons I love being shaved in India is because it slows me down to the right pace for the day
That is my precise intention the few times that I add a shave to the haircut. Unfortunately, it doesn't work for me, because it is my brain that needs to slow down. Maybe the guy should shave inside my head instead of outside.
#70 Feb 16th, 2012, 22:03
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#70
Interesting poll and discussion ! Here goes my two pesos worth opinion.

Well here is what I know from personal experience and having grown up in India for the first 21 years of my life or so. I am ambiguous on what exactly 'street barber' means as far as this poll is concerned, whether it is the shop literally on the pavement or some rundown shack make shift barber shop but in either case, the typical middle class and upper middle class Indian do not go there. And definitely not the rich. They are meant for the economically weak strata of the society and most Indians from the middle class to rich would not be caught dead getting a haircut or shave in a roadside open air barber shop or even a ramshack setup. They typically go to places which are Indian equivalent of Supercuts or similar and though they may not be as fancy and nice as Supercuts, it is relatively clean and has more than one person working in the shop and has all the basic equipment.

As for getting a shave, I personally have never ever gotten a shave from a barber in India or wherever else and my personal motto when it comes to shaving is 'Gillete. The best a man can get' and I'd rather go buy a razor and blade and shaving cream from a drugstore and do it myself than go to a barber shop or salon. Not too fond of the idea of knives and razors that have been used on someone else used on me but that is just me. I'd only get a haircut from a barber shop or salon wherever in the world it is. The other thing I must mention is, in India, typically the barbers do the trimming post haircut with a knife and I'd personally refuse this service and always have. In the west, the salons typically do this with a clipper and if I remember right, in India they used to have a manual mechanical contraption called a 'machine' which crimps hair and I've let that one used on me sometimes for trimming (that thing is irritating after a while and it pricks) but never ever a knife or blade.

I am chuckling at the whole 'real India' stuff in this thread and I think the poster few posts above (capt_mahajan) hit it on the head on that one. If your idea of real India is thinking everyone in India (I've seen bold claims such as 99.999% if I remember right) gets a shave or haircut in a roadside shop or ramshack, I am afraid to say you know diddly squat about India or Indians. The beauty of India is there are wide choices available for every economic strata. And most people from India who have a computer and internet and logs on here belong to middle class or above which is about 25-30% of India and I can say most of them would have never gone to a ramshack barber or streetside barber ever.

So if you are one of those uber cool backpacker dudes(or so you think) with the wind on the back and wearing clothes you bought during the Reagan administration and got a shave and haircut in a roadside barber shop in India and made sure you documented it digitally by taking pictures of it and posted it on your facebook page and blog, I hate to burst your bubble but you are not proving anything but to brag to your friends back home that you went slumming in India and hence you are cool. It will be the same as me taking a picture dressed up as a cowboy in Texas and hang out in a country western bar. And one more thing. The real India is also not in the backpacker ghettos some of these uber cool backpacker tourists choose to stay and hang out in Paharganj or Sudder St or Colaba which in my opinion are infestations and hardly any of my western friends would stay there just to prove they are cool or they can hang with the real Indian gang.

And you will never get the 'real Indian perspective' on this matter because as it happens, this poll is on the WWW so any Indian who has a computer and internet access is well off than atleast 70% of the Indian population. People from 'real India' who get shaves and haircuts on the pavement(if at all they do) neither have the time nor have the resources to log on to the internet and skive off on a internet forum because they are too busy looking for the next meal. It is a poor attempt to use that against whoever started this poll because it is implicit that the OP of this poll is trying to evoke responses from Indians who have internet access and potentially members of India Mike.
#71 Feb 16th, 2012, 22:46
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#71
I need some popcorn while I watch this thread implode!

...but should I buy from a street vendor?
#72 Feb 16th, 2012, 23:04
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#73 Feb 16th, 2012, 23:04
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#73
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Originally Posted by carcorodoncarcharias View Post If your idea of real India is thinking everyone in India (I've seen bold claims such as 99.999% if I remember right) gets a shave or haircut in a roadside shop or ramshack, I am afraid to say you know diddly squat about India or Indians.
No, you're misquoting, as many do, and it isn't helping.

I gave that number (obviously rhetorical), saying that's the percentage of customers you'll find using their services, not the percentage of Indians that make use of such services. I'm sure many will just shave at home, like any men anywhere else would (I know I do, but so find it a nice luxury in these countries and where it's a simple and nice luxury. Maybe like ladies might go for a good facial treatment, I don't know); I often figure these shaving clients in India will be commuters on the move, or commuting office workers in need of a fix. (You -- the plural you -- don't assume the poorest of the poor would have the money for a shave not done by themselves at all, no?)

It was in reaction to the initial suggestion that it might be a "backpacker" thing. Well, backpackers or any foreigners will usually be scarce to find in such places, and they certainly don't keep these businesses running.

Anyway, I, too, am thoroughly sick and tired of this discussion. The thread starter apparently wanted to be confirmed that certain services there are iffy, and to be avoided. Some others have argued differently. That's about it, or so it seems to me.
Last edited by machadinha; Feb 16th, 2012 at 23:11.. Reason: edited
#74 Feb 16th, 2012, 23:14
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#74
Mod Note
This thread has cut itself shaving.
Some foam has been deleted.
Thread closed.
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