An Evening with the Ruffians

“The quintessential must-cut for every modern man.”

Disclaimer: a cut at this place will have people complimenting you for weeks after.

Welcome to Ruffians, tucked up and perched in Covent Garden, greeting the hairy to become a little less hairy and the cool to look a little more cool. Indeed, this could be London’s best barber shop.

Refined, defined and slick, Ruffians is a dream of a barber shop. Welcomed by bare brick walls, a plethora of post cards, clippings, photographs and posters, the smell of coffee and hair products and a myriad of Ruffians’ own products, the barber shop is a feast for the eyes and more stylish than half of LFW16. It’s an East London pastiche tucked away in Zone One.


Photo – Joe Josland

Boasting awards such as Winner of Best Salon Team in the UK at the Creative Head Awards 2015 and Best Independent Newcomer, Best New Salon and Best Designed Salon in the UK in previous years, I don’t think I’ve been so excited to have a haircut. Even with such a metaphorical cabinet of awards, Ruffians has ensured its instantaneous fame did not go to its head.

I arrive resembling Chewbacca more than a magazine editor, a pain for me but a blank canvas for the Ruffians; I assume. I’m not only greeted with smiles, but genuine ones. This is the kind of team who haven’t had to be trained to smile, but possess honest and pure integrity within each scissor snip.

My barber, Emmalene shakes my hand and I can’t help but completely adore her haircut and her style. Saying that, every member of staff could probably double up as models found in GQ. Swish, slick and stylish, you can’t help but feel cool here. I’m a nightmare for barbers. I’m indecisive and never know how to describe what I want, but Emmalene manages to coil out a plan from the chunks I gave her. In theory, she was taking my usual hairstyle, and making it prettier.

My barber is the same person to wash my hair, give me a scalp massage and brew honest and genuine conversation, mainly about Birmingham’s gritty gay scene and her suggestions for good restaurants that haven’t been completely gentrified by the plastic environment of Covent Garden. Polite and not forced. Nice.

For those a little hairier than myself, Ruffians also offer wet shaves, moustache and beard trims.


Ruffians offers those sat in the leather chairs a supply of drinks, from coffee to whisky. Settling for a beer, I’m given a bottle of Fullers Frontier to sip at during my cut. Such an idea manipulates typical conventions of hairdressers and barbers, formulating a social environment. The use of craft beers mirrors the brand’s ethos of interpersonality. You’re more likely to get better ingredients in craft drinks as they are made smaller batch. Not to mention – the packaging is generally nicer too!

They also have an “in-house” drink which rotates throughout the year. Whisky’s and Bourbon’s are complimented with in-house events, dinners and bars, creating a thriving hub of social excellence and cool hair-dos.

Finishing touches to my hair were collaborated with an amalgamation of their own products and L’Oreal’s Super Dust. The dust is simply put in the roots of the hair to create an instant volumised effect. I went straight to a star-studded party from the venue, so the cut definitely gave me the confidence I needed.


Their own products are excellent too. Alongside Exuviance’s Expert Glycolic Acid and Cornerstone’s Post Shave Balm, their daily moisturiser is a god send, fragrance free and engineered for men. I’d also recommend both of their fragrances. God, is there anything Ruffians doesn’t do…

What?: Zone one style with an honest and organic ethos. More than just a cut.
Where?: 27 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2E

More?: For Emmalene personally, contact