The Treatment

A haircut (£40) and Ruffians Refresher (£15) at Ruffians Edinburgh (23 Queensferry Street, EH2 4QS, 0131 225 8962 www.

A Ruffians haircut is a comprehensive 45-minute process, beginning with a consultation, to help match a style to the customer’s face shape, hair type and general style. Next comes a shampoo and conditioning treatment, a scalp massage, then the all-important cut, finish and style. The Refresher is an extra luxury that includes an exfoliating and moisturising facial treatment, soothing hot and cold towels, and a shoulder, arm and hand message.

Why go?

Ruffians (who also have three branches in London) are currently celebrating their fifth year in Edinburgh, where the concept began. The brand was born from the founder’s desire to provide blokes with a barber that delivered the high levels of cut and customer service he’d only been able to find in women’s salons.

Alongside the high-quality haircuts, Ruffians also offer beard trims and treatments, cut-throat shaves, and sell their own range of toiletries (from hair pastes and pomades, to facial moisturisers, shaving gels and beard oils).

They take their complimentary extras seriously too. The part of the salon with the sinks doubles as a bar, serving up freshly ground coffees alongside seasonal drinks.

Of course it’s all about the cut. Whatever the latest look, from the textured high and tight, to ‘modern curtains’ (think middle-parted 90s grunge after a makeover), you can get it here.


Our spy says

Stepping into Ruffians was more like entering a trendy bar than a barber. I felt like an interloper in a hip scene but was warmly welcomed, offered a drink (that day’s list included Ruffians’ own beer, brewed for them by Stewart of Edinburgh) then left to chill with an iPad whilst I waited.

The interior is reassuringly stylish: bare Scottish oak, pale grey walls, big, white Belfast sinks, and retro blue-leather Belmont barber’s chairs.

My barber, Laura, considered my current style, what look I was after and offered a suggestion as to what would best suit me. We’d decided to leave most of the length on top, add in some texture, and go for soft-undercut sides – a perfect fade with a fastidious flashing of silver scissors.

Before the final style and big reveal came the Refresher. My face was exfoliated before being wrapped in a cocoon of hot towels. A blissful few minutes followed, with a shoulder, arm and hand massage, before I came blinking back into the light. Then came the moisturiser which, like all the products used, was Ruffians’ own, in this case their Daily Facial Moisturiser.


The results

A touch of Ruffians’ Styling Paste (with Brazilian carnauba, apparently) and my hair looked great, perfectly cut, and styled in a manner that suggested it just fell that way because I was ever so cool. My skin looked good too, fresh and aglow, not its normal look after a day at work. I trotted home pleased to have found a new favourite local bar, er, barber.

This article first appeared in The Scotsman magazine’s Spa Spy section.