Since 2015, Deniz Uzunoglu has been working for MÜHLE as a barber and hairdresser. The native American with Turkish roots, born and raised in San Francisco, has been living in Berlin for nine years. Here, he discusses the most common mistakes in shaving and the advantages of a wet razor.

“Respect people’s ideas – no matter how crazy they may be”

Deniz, you’ve been working as a barber at the MÜHLE Store Berlin since 2015 …

As a barber and hairdresser, you should add in Germany! People here often think that barbers are only responsible for shaving. Many don’t realise that we also cut hair.

From men.

Well, when I worked in San Francisco, women used to come into our shop all the time and get their short haircuts cut by us. That never happens here. It’s a shame, really. What does happen, however, is that men shave their beards and have their hair cut by different people. I would always advise against that. It’s a mismatch – it doesn’t fit.

What is your story? How did you come to be a barber?

I was about 17 years old when I started working in a hairdressing salon. It belonged to a friend of my mum. Back then, I loved drawing and being creative. I thought it was great to watch the hairdressers there cutting hair. And so at some point I started cutting hair myself and realised that I could express my creativity wonderfully in this profession.

So you started out in the classic role of a hairdresser?

I only became a barber some time later. I found the atmosphere and energy in barber shops to be quite different – I liked these places right from the start. Somehow, it felt more relaxed, more like Rock’n’Roll. People talked about politics, philosophy, life.

How did you end up at MÜHLE in Berlin?

My story with the company began in San Francisco. We were looking for a gift for my girlfriend’s father, something really good of high quality. We found it in a barber shop: a shaving set from this German manufacturer called MÜHLE. So, when we moved to Berlin years later and I was looking for a job, MÜHLE happened to be opening a store in the Hackesche Höfe, along with a barber salon. That’s how it all came together.

What three qualities should one possess as a barber?

Firstly, I believe one should always respect people’s ideas. One should genuinely try to give them what they are looking for. Sometimes, people come in with the craziest ideas, and as a barber, one should use their own experience to translate those ideas into successful outcomes, leaving customers satisfied.

And secondly?

This probably applies not only to the barber profession: One should be able to develop confidence in their own opinion and expertise. You will never be the perfect fit for every person, and that’s okay. It shouldn’t make you insecure. Regardless of how well you match with customers, what you can try to do is always perform your job as well as possible. And then, thirdly: Winning, for me, means always wanting to keep playing, not resting on your skills, but continually learning and striving to improve. That’s my motto, and I believe it’s important in the barber business.

What would you say are the most common shaving mistakes?

Oh! That’s, of course, a broad field. After all, there are few ways to do it right and endless ways to mess it up. What is most commonly done wrong: Skin and beard are not properly prepared for shaving. You need a good shaving cream, a good brush, hot water, foam, and some time. Some just start shaving without proper preparation. But the skin needs preparation.

And then: Many people shave with too much pressure. A wet razor is extremely sharp and essentially doesn’t need much assistance in its work, just the right shaving direction. You have to stretch the skin a bit with your fingers so the hair comes out, and you can shave it off well. Too much pressure only causes irritation and cuts.

What is better for shaving beginners: an electric razor or a wet razor?

An electric razor always seems so much easier. At first glance. But it actually requires much more effort. Because you always shave quite superficially with it, not getting really close to the hair. With a wet razor, you can shave every 2-3 days, with an electric razor, you have to shave daily, if not multiple times a day.