From blow torches to broken glass, Pakistani barber leaves a mark

“I thought I should do something different to attract more clients,” Ali Abbas said

AFP May 12, 2021


Hoping to prove a cut above the competition, barber Ali Abbas relies on an unusual array of tools to practice his craft — including blowtorches, meat cleavers, and even broken glass.

Abbas’s fringe style is proving a hit in the conservative nation, with customers flocking to his shop in Lahore. During a typical trim, Abbas will take a bit off the top with a blowtorch. He adds some layers with the help of a cleaver and butcher’s block, while occasionally thinning out a thicker mane with a bit of broken glass.

“I thought I should do something different to attract more clients,” Abbas said.

“In the beginning, I tried it on artificial hair, and then — after practising it for some time — I used it on a client, and he liked it a lot.”

Since first unveiling his style in 2016 and after brushing away customer fears, he says the unconventional approach has become a hit. His popularity has only grown since, resulting in television appearances and fashion shoots.

“There has been a very good response from my clients, who were quite scared in the beginning,” said Abbas, whose eccentric manner and own unkempt, frizzy locks gives him the look of a mad scientist.

Abbas charges Rs2,000 ($13) for the unorthodox treatment or Rs1,000 for a traditional trim with scissors.

“I am feeling quite relaxed and comfortable,” said Ali Saqlain, as the barber took a blowtorch to his head.

Abbas says he also enjoys a large number of women customers, who he charges an additional Rs500 for extra styling.


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