Last week, Cremo Company announced their partnership with multi-award winning barber, Philly “BarberKing” Garcia. To celebrate the occasion and launch of Cremo’s new Barber Grade Razor, the LA-based barber took a one day Razor Residency at Otis & Finn Barbershop in Long Island City, New York.
Trusted by the likes of star athletes like Jalen Ramsey, LaMelo Ball (who Philly says is by far the funniest Ball brother), and Brooks Koepka, among others, Philly took the time to drop some soundbites with us and explain not only why the new razor is amazing, but also how he dealt with the pandemic as a barber, hairstyle trends, New York City, and to give advice to young and aspiring barbers.
The Big Apple
The first thing me and Philly talked about was New York. He says he comes out once or twice a year and it doesn’t have to be for any particular reason, he just loves the lights. For many, NYC is love or hate, for Philly it’s all love (makes sense for someone who shares a name with the City of Brotherly Love right?).
“I come because I get inspired. I look at the lights and I’m a SoCal boy, I come across the country because something about the lights, they just do something to me. Any time I get a chance to come out here, I’ll definitely take that chance.”
He added that, “Coming out here is super fast paced. When Cremo asked me to come out here and host the Razor Residency, I was super down. I didn’t even think twice. I love this city and everything that comes with it.”
Like any one of our Brand Masters will tell you, getting a crisp, clean haircut and shave is all about confidence. When you look your best, you feel your best. The goal of Cremo’s partnership with Philly is to provide that barbershop feel and shave for you at home.
“When you talk about self-care and grooming, that’s a huge thing. It’s one of the main things that men were struggling with when the whole pandemic happened. We couldn’t go to our barbers anymore and we couldn’t do our normal cleanups and so forth right? When I cut hair and when I do any kind of shaves, I’m selling confidence. It’s obviously a good haircut but also confidence. Me being down here and working with Cremo, we’re selling confidence. We’re giving the guy the barber grade razor that we’re all used to using or getting. When we walk into the barbershop and we get a shave, no one can mimic it.”
Philly continues with, “Cremo really hit the nail on the head with this one when they got this razor. The way it pulls, the way it moves and flows, it’s super duper sweet, nothing like I ever seen before.”
He also said that because of the razor, he catches himself shaving more often than not now.
“I shave maybe once a week. I keep everything off the sides of my face and just keep the goatee. But ever since I had it in hand, I catch myself shaving more often than not just because I love the way it feels. This razor is heavy, I mean it has good weight to it, it has good flow to it, all the thing you want, it checks off the boxes and that’s what I love about it.”
The next trend in barbering
After we talked about why the razor is great for barbers and consumers alike, Philly and I got to talking about trends and his take on where they start nowadays.
“It’s hard to pinpoint what the next hairstyle is going to be. But as a barber, I’ve noticed where the trend usually starts is with the soccer/football players overseas — European soccer players. They set a trend and it comes to the states and we put our swagger on it. We do the fades to it. It starts there and you know, it blows up here and then you see a bunch of people rocking that.”
Changing hairstyles and trends is one of the things Philly loves as a barber. It’s definitely a unique part of the job.
“That’s the beautiful ting about being a barber — tomorrow I could cut my hair and get a clean fade, or buzz it right off or grow it out. Or get a comb over. Mullets are so cool right now too — which is crazy. 5 years ago if I said I wanted a mullet, people would’ve laughed, now it’s like mullets are super sick. You never know where the trend is going but I will say, history does repeat itself when it comes to hairstyles. Trends are always gonna be changing and that’s for a good barber to know and to keep up.”
He adds some advice for veteran and beginner barbers alike, “Keep your eyes peeled and just make sure you know what’s going on and when people ask for it, you have to be versatile.”
Philly and I also talked a bit about his pandemic experience. The Cremo razor collaboration comes at the perfect time too when people are deciding to ditch the long beards they were too lazy to shave or are forced to shave in order to return to office life.
“Once I found my way to cut hair again, during the whole situation, I was able to do some home visits. But during the pandemic at first, it was just people calling me to ask ‘What do I do here?’ For instance, Brooks Koepka, the famous golfer, he had his now wife cut his hair. And I tried to walk her through the scenario and it was one of the funniest things on the internet. But a lot of people went that route. I taught my wife how to cut my hair and my cousin’s family members all had their significant others cut their hair as well. You try to do as much as you can over Zoom or FaceTime showing them how to cut their own hair, but as as soon as the doors were open, we started doing house calls.”
Like many people during the pandemic, Philly noticed that buzzcuts were the wave and that long facial hair was the norm. With this Cremo razor, there’s a built in function to nice lines too for people that aren’t willing to give up their new found love of facial hair.
“People loved buzzcuts. It was clean and easy. Undercuts too because it’s up to the hairline and also the long hair type of thing. During the whole shutdown, a lot of people were like ‘I don’t have to shave’ or ‘I don’t want to’ and it’s really grown on them. So what’s cool about that is with the razor, you can do many things, not just shave it all off. You can obviously line it up but the cool thing about the Cremo razor is the way it flips back on top — it allows you to get some barbershop clean lines on top. It’s fire, super dope. I’ve never seen a razor like this before.”
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Advice for new barbers
In addition to talking about his new partnership, Philly also wanted to drop some advice for aspiring barbers. To sum it all up, it’s all about consistency — just like the star athletes he cuts, you have to put in the work to get results.
“I always tell new barbers that you got to talk to your clients. Don’t be shy to talk to them because all my friends right now, I used to call them clients. These are people that you’re going to grow with. And be consistent. One good haircut doesn’t mean anything.”
As a barber, you have to ask yourself tough questions: “Can you do that haircut twice or even three or four times? And can you get better each time? Can the client sitting in your chair be confident without looking in the mirror and walk out knowing you didn’t miss?”
He continues by saying, “Stick to the basics and really be consistent in your game. Always want to get better. Talk to your clients and ask them about their day a little bit. If you come off shy or rude, you’re screwed. Half of the experience in getting a cut is talking with the barber. The other half is getting the cut, the clean fade, or whatever haircut you desire. These are the rules, follow and your business is going to flourish.”
Philly leaves everyone with these words, “I never would’ve imagined where a pair of clippers would’ve taken me.” Believe in yourself and put in the work to achieve your dreams.
After chopping it up with Philly, he took me into the chair and lined me up. Aside from the shaving creams all smelling amazing, I was surprised that I didn’t even feel the razor hit my skin when he did my lines. A good razor should glide perfectly through the cream and that’s exactly what the Cremo Barber Grade Razor accomplished.
Where to cop
If you want to experience the Cremo Barber Grade Razor for yourself at home, you can purchase one from Target, Amazon or cremocompany.com for $17.99.
The awesome smelling Cremo shaving creams come in a variety of scents and range from $1.99 for the original to $8.99 for Reserve Collections scents. I recommend the Silver Water & Birch and Bourbon Vanilla. If you’re applying shaving cream, make sure to get yourself a nice shaving brush.
For those of you who might’ve forgotten what a shave feels like, are out of practice, or even if you’re shaving for the first time, here’s a guide on how to shave with a safety razor and how to prevent ingrown hairs while shaving.
Photos via Mitch Zachary