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Barber who uses an axe to shave hair

 Julius Mwangi uses an axe to shave hair. [Courtesy]

When one thinks of an axe, the garden tool comes to mind. An ordinary, dull gadget whose job description is well known.

The tool has long been used for heavy chores, utilising an inclined plane to execute tasks like cutting wood, harvesting timber and even being used as a weapon. But one Kenyan has stunned many with his special use of the farm tool, moving it from the garden to the barber chair, literally. Julius Mwangi, a 24-year-old barber based in Kiambu, says that he was looking for ways to be unique when he stumbled upon the idea of shaving people using an axe.

The young hairdresser, who is a family man with an infant child, opened up in a phone interview about his journey as a barber and how he performs the job to give clean shaves, leaving satisfied customers.

Speaking about his background, Mwangi said he grew up in a typical, loving household, where both parents worked hard to make ends meet. “I recall having a good childhood. I lacked nothing, but everything changed when my father passed away. I was seven years old at the time. From then on, getting basic needs at home became a struggle,” he said.

 Barber Julius Mwangi. [Courtesy]

The stylist says that things got so tough that he would later perform odd jobs to raise fee to complete secondary school education. “Growing up, I wanted to study something to do with electricity and wiring because I found it interesting. What I am doing right now had never crossed my mind,” said Mwangi. But a chance visit by a relative would change the young man’s fate over the next few years. When a brother-in-law stopped by to see Mwangi’s family in Murang’a, he offered to employ the lad at a barbershop - on condition that he went to cosmetology school and got trained.

“I quickly went for an apprenticeship-type training at a barbershop near our home. After my training, I started to grow my clientele, who would call me and refer me to their friends,” he said. Mwangi noted that he began his career as a barber in 2014, with close friends forming the bulk of his client list.

As for using an axe, he practised on the heads of family and friends until he perfected the art. “I wanted to give people cheaper services. I kept challenging myself on unique ways to cut hair. If someone can use something like an axe, which does not require electricity, it means they can cut hair anywhere and for a more affordable price,” he said.

And shaving people’s heads using an axe is no easy feat. It takes delicate hands, gentleness and a balance of pressure, said Mwangi. “I started spreading the word to friends and people in the neighbourhood that I was offering these services.

People would come to the barbershop, even as spectators, and be amazed at how I would complete the job well, giving customers haircuts they wanted and never experiencing an accident at my chair,” said Mwangi. The hairdresser currently works at a barbershop in Thindigua, Kiambu Road. He charges Sh500 per haircut. He completes the team of seven hairstylists employed at the establishment.


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