King’s Lynn barber is best wet shaver in the East

Yucel Olmezkaya
Yucel Olmezkaya

A Lynn barber is celebrating after being crowned the East of England regional winner in a competition to find Britain’s best wet shaving barber.

Yucel Olmezkaya, formerly from Gould Barbers Tesco Gaywood, but now working freelance, beat off razor sharp competition from scores of other talented barbers at the East of England regional final at Salon Services in Northampton in Britain’s Best Shave 2018.

Yucel impressed the judges on a number of criteria, including shave preparation, razor technique, post-shave routine, health and safety and overall efficiency.

As well as winning the coveted East of England title, Yucel will now go on to compete in the national final against seven other top barbers from across the country at this year’s Barber UK.

The two-day barber show takes place at the Birmingham NEC on 20th and 21st May, and promises to be a bigger and better celebration of British barbering than ever before. The final will take place inside the legendary boxing ring and will attract hundreds of spectators throughout the day.

Yucel reckons it’s his heritage which will give him the edge on the day.

He said:“Barbering and wet shaving is a big thing in my country, which is Turkey.

“It’s a part of our lifestyle to go to the barber for a haircut and shave and socialise with a nice glass of Turkish tea.”

After a spell away from the trade, Yucel, who won the British Barbers Association People’s Choice Award in August 2016 and October 2017, has gone back to barbering with renewed enthusiasm.

“I had learned barbering when I was very young but didn’t stay in the trade because of another career path,” he said.

“I got back to barbering in the UK back in 2013 when my friend – and current boss – opened his first shop.

“Now, I am the manager of the third shop.”

Now in its fifth year, the annual competition, run by industry watchdogs the British Barbers’ Association and premium male grooming brand the Bluebeards Revenge, is fast becoming the most coveted competition of the barbering industry.

Nick Gibbens, spokesman for the Bluebeards Revenge, said: “Each year we’re blown away by the level of talent out there, and this year we’ve had a record number of entries. What this shows is that competitions like this, along with the good work of the British Barbers’ Association, help to drive up standards in the barbering industry – that’s the overall objective.”

Trevor Studd, director of the British Barbers’ Association said: “Men are looking after themselves a lot more and have finally realised that the barber or a dedicated male grooming operation is the best place to go to get a decent haircut.

“There is also rising demand for hot towel shaves and beard trims, and barbers have fully tapped into offering these types of services.”

This year’s Britain’s Best Shave winner will walk away with £500 worth of Bluebeards Revenge grooming products and merchandise, and a chance to work with the brand and of course the coveted title.