This archived article was written by: Kris Kohler
A forgotten art is catching a second wind since the College of Eastern Utah recently resurrected an “old fashioned” barber program that will allow students to focus on learning the subtle and expertice ways of a nearly lost craft while infusing modern techniques to the old-school profession.
According to Lisa Critchlow, lead instructor in the new barber program, implementation of the program is already showing great success and she is confident that it’s a sure fire method to get more men to come forward and join CEU’s cosmetology department.
“The problem with cosmetology is that male students feel that they will be stereotyped for joining the class,” Critchlow said. “With the new barbering course, we feel that more men will be interested in joining because of the predominantly male history of the profession. Our class is nine-months long, the requirement is only six months but there is way too much material to cover in that amount of time. We feel that nine months is even pushing it but we think we can get it done.
Critchlow noted that since the program’s inception, many young woman have also shown an avid interest in the barbering program versus the traditional cosmetology program.
There is only a small handful of barbers practicing in Price, most of whom have been around for a long time and are nearing retirement.
“There is a constant need for barbers, it seems like the good old fashion barber shop is getting to be a thing of the past,” said Donnie Leonard, a student enrolled in the CEU barber program. “I want to give Carbon County residents a choice. My goal is to start a shop here in Price and stick with it. I remember when my dad used to take me to a barber when I was a kid. I’m not talking a salon, but a real barber shop that was always full of guys just shooting the bull. There was always Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra playing in the background just to top it off. I am excited about the new program, so far things are going great but the best part is the fact that in a year from now, going to the barber won’t be a thing of the past.”
The cosmetology department has never had many male participants, according to Critchlow. Some of the class requirements such as doing nails, hair color, perms and so on are off putting to males for the most part, reported the CEU cosmetology instructor, but many of the barber students feel that some of these services will be helpful later in their careers.
Several students are interested in staying on in the cosmetology department to learn all they can before going out there in the real world, quipped Critchlow.
“Our program is very structured and will turn out a higher level of barbers than what’s out there now,” Lori Palacios said, assistant instructor of the barber program. “There are many things the barbers are learning about cutting hair that they wouldn’t be able to if they were going through the cosmetology program, due to the amount of disciplines that the cosmetology course goes into. With the barber school it makes it easier to focus on just cutting hair and doing face shaves. There are a lot of men that don’t like going to a salon to get there hair cut because they can’t get the cut that they really want. Our program addresses this issue along with others, so when someone comes to one of our barbers and asks them for a certain haircut, they will be able to accommodate with ease.”
The new barber program is recruiting students from all over the county with various and diversified backgrounds.
“I would love to see a new ‘old school’ barber shop here in Price,” said Nick Lucero of CEU. “I would love to be able to get a shave and a manly haircut in a place where I can feel comfortable being myself. What made me want to be a barber is that fact that it can kind of be a guy’s club, where men can be men and no one will judge them.”
That fact that there are several women enrolled in the program shows that it is not a guys only club but the return to a time when things were simpler and a haircut and shave didn’t cost an arm and a leg.