It’s become something of a tradition here on MBIP to go and get a straight razor shave at a local barber shop every year or so. It all started back in March of 2013, when I got my first ever straight razor shave at Skippy’s & Floyd’s, and I really enjoyed that. Last year I went to Menzoil and got my beard shaved off and got another straight razor shave there. So this year I grew another beard and my friend Amber told me about a friend of hers that’s opened up a classic barber shop in a spot that’s rich with local barber history right here in Peoria called, Cullen’s Classic Barber Shop and I thought I'd get a straight razor shave there. And the good news is, it’s just down the street from MBIP World Headquarters, we can be there in no time flat...
See, we’re here already! The shop is located here in Windsor Square Shopping Center on University Street right before you hit Pioneer Park. The sign says open, so let’s go inside and see what’s happening inside!
Wow, the place is really nice and has the look and feel of a vintage barber shop with the wooden floors and dark-paneled walls. There’s the owner of Cullen’s, Ryan Cullen standing behind one of the chairs in here. I told you this place was rich with barber history and Ryan confirmed this. This spot has been a barber shop since the ‘60’s when it was first opened by Bill Honaker. Bill was a barber here for decades and then it became, Chris’ Barber Shop. The last owner was Marilyn who named the place, Marilyn’s Barber Shop and a year ago, Ryan took it over and it’s now Cullen’s Classic Barber Shop. I’m guessing this is one of the oldest standing barber shops here in Peoria and it’s great to see Ryan keeping this tradition alive! He told me these two barber chairs have been here for years, so it’s time for me to take a seat and get my beard shaved off for 2017! But if I’m in the barber chair, who’s going to take photos?
Luckily, Ryan’s friend, Isaiah was in the shop and he’s volunteered to take the MBIP Camera and record today’s straight razor shave. If Isaiah looks familiar, it’s because we met him at the grand opening of W.E. Sullivan’s a couple of weeks ago, when he was bartending there! In addition to bartending and hanging out at Cullen’s Barber Shop, Isaiah is the owner of Rustic By Design and he’s done some of the woodwork here in the shop. Great to see him again and now it’s almost time for me to surrender the MBIP Camera...
But first one shot of Ryan at the ready by the chairs. Okay, Isaiah, take it away!
Here’s Ryan getting me all tucked away in the barber chair. Before the straight razor shave, Ryan said he’d sculpt a few different looks for me while taking the beard off of my face. Here’s look number one...
The goatee and sideburns! If my hair was a little whiter, I’d kind of have a Colonel Sanders look going on here!
Okay, time for look number two...
The mustache and soul patch! I’ve never had a mustache before in my life and I kind of like this look! But we’re here for a straight razor shave, so time to get down to business!
My favorite part of the straight razor shave is the hot towel wrap. It’s warm and your eyes are all covered up and your troubles kind of drift away for a few minutes. It’s like a Valium for the face and the mind and it’s really relaxing! Okay, after a few minutes the towel is off and it’s time for the shaving to begin!
If you’ve never had a straight razor shave, you should really try it out, even if you have a beard, hey, it’ll grow back! it’s a luxurious kind of feeling having your face shaved and it’s an inexpensive way to feel like a king and get pampered, in a manly way, of course! After the shave another towel is applied and now it’s time to see the results...
The beard is gone and Ryan did a great job. One cool thing about a straight razor shave is that it’s such a close shave, you can go the next couple of days without shaving. Okay, now that my face is smooth as a Michael Jackson song, let’s take a look around in here. Time for me to take back the MBIP Camera, and thanks to Isaiah for shooting the shaving photos!
Here’s a shot from the back of the shop and the paneled walls have all kinds of fun and classic signs and photos on them. A magazine rack hangs on the wall and beneath that is a coffee table with more reading material and a sign for Rustic By Design...hey, how’d that get there? There’s also two books, one all about whiskey and the other is Schorem, a book about a men’s barber shop in Rotterdam that’s an inspiration to Ryan.
Ryan visited the shop in Rotterdam and here he is with the book and the autographs he got while there. Below that are two bobbleheads of two of the master barbers at Schorem, you can read more about Schorem right here: Behind The Chair. Ryan said his other inspiration is his girlfriend, Vanessa Coletrain, who is also a hair stylist. You can see her work and read more about her right here.
Thanks to Ryan for a great straight razor shave and a fun afternoon and to Isaiah for taking the shaving photos! It was a blast and if you’d like to stop by Ryan’s for a haircut or styling, a beard trim or a classic hot towel straight razor shave, the address and phone number are directly below. We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Cullen’s Classic Barber Shop
7312 N University Street (In Windsor Square Shopping Center)