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Boston Common - Niche Media - A side of Boston that's anything but common.

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YOU, EVEN BETTER gentlemen's hour W LUXE NEW BARBERSHOPS HAVE EARNED A DEVOTED FOLLOWING IN BACK BAY. BY KAITLIN CLARK Bocote Wood Straight Razor, The Art of Shaving ($225) e have a reputation as traditionalists with a penchant for tasteful indulgences—close-cut shaves in particular. At last count there were seven high-end barbers on Newbury Street alone, while 445 barbershops grace the streets of greater Boston. Whether you get your stubbly jaw groomed at a 114-year old favorite like LaFlamme Barber Shop in Harvard Square (President Obama's go-to barber during his Harvard Law School days) or have been seduced by one of the new spa-inspired barbershops, there's no denying that the classic shave has been elevated to a new level of indulgence. In 1927 The Statler Hotel (now known as The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers) opened with the largest barbershop in New England in its lobby. Fast-forward to the present and The Art of Shaving has just debuted its second Boston boutique on Newbury Street: a 1,264-square- foot flagship with checkered tile floors, wood paneling, and leather furniture, where two master barbers dispense haircuts, shaves, beard trims, and mustache touch-ups. "First-time clients say they've never had so much attention paid to their face as during the Royal Shave," says The Art of Shaving veteran barber Jacob Sicard, who counts several Boston Celtics players as regulars. Dubbed "the Cadillac of shaves" by Sicard, the Royal Shave is a 10-step, 45-minute treatment, which includes two hot towels doused in lemon essential oils, two hot-lather shaves (one with the grain and one against it), a rose-clay mask, and finally, a vitamin C and shea butter aftershave balm. The new trend, declares Sicard, is "being really closely shaved, not a trace of a beard. Sloppiness is out." He credits the popularity of midcentury TV shows like Mad Men as an influence on today's smarter style. The Barbershop Lounge offers a club-like atmosphere in its Newbury Street storefront, which houses a grand pool table and beverage bar. "We have gen- tlemen who come in together on their lunch breaks or for bachelor parties," says manager Stephanie Acciacca. "Several clients also come in just to eat lunch at the bar. Our shop is meant to be an all-around sensory experience." With lavish barbershops spanning two centuries and counting, Boston proves that a smart shave is always in style. BC INSIGHT Barbershop Lounge: Master barber Karen Belair is legendary for her straight-edge razor shaves ($35). 245 Newbury St., 617-450- 0021; barbershop LaFlamme Barber Shop: The no-nonsense shop was reportedly Obama's former haircut haunt. Classic shaves are an economical $15. 21 Dunster St., Cambridge, 617-354-8377 The Art of Shaving: Both the Traditional Shave (30 minutes, $35) and the Royal Shave (45 minutes, $55) elevate the classic to new heights of indulgence. 139B Newbury St., 857-239-7261; 90 BOSTONCOMMON-MAGAZINE.COM PHOTOGRAPHY BY SETH OLENICK AND JEFF GALE

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