From beard trims and shoeshines to brow-shaping and blow-dries, these are the best places to get primped and pampered.
The Barbershop Canberra
Brooklyn meets the national capital at The Barbershop Canberra (0403 935 877), a cool space decked out with old hip-hop albums and a Biggie Smalls mural. Ask for Adi Putra, who started cutting hair for family and friends in his garage at the age of 13 – he specialises in fade cuts. Appointments are required Monday to Friday but walk-ins are welcome on weekends.
Best for beards
Antique leather barber chairs, reclaimed timber and vintage lights set the mood at Groomed, a “gentleman’s general store” in Braddon. Owner Steve Gamarra opened the 1920s-inspired shop in 2015 and has become known for his beard and moustache services. If you have time, stick around for a shoeshine, which will set you back $15.
Barber Shop at QT Canberra
Opt for the 45-minute Mr Bond Shave at the QT’s Barber Shop – which, incidentally, conceals the entrance to the hotel bar, Lucky’s Speakeasy. To start, a steaming towel scented with lavender is used to soften the beard before a lather of rich Geo. F. Trumper shaving cream then a straight-edged razor shave, eye mask and choice of hand or shoulder massage.
Mudd the Spa
Set aside 75 minutes to indulge in the Men’s Facial at Mudd the Spa, tucked beneath Hotel Realm in Barton. The treatment includes a double cleanse followed by an exfoliation, facial massage and targeted mask.
The Signature Massage at Hale Spa uses Swedish techniques and is available as a 60- or 90-minute treatment. After your session, make use of the wet-room facilities, where you can dive into the plunge pool (heated to 34°C) then grab a handful of shaved ice and take an ice-wash shower to cool down. Finish up by releasing toxins in the infra-red sauna and getting Zen in the steam room.
You can expect soft, natural-looking hues and subtle highlights when you’re in the hands of colour director Michelle Ciaccia, who has more than 20 years’ experience (and a long waitlist – so book ahead). Axis Hairdressing in Braddon is chic yet unpretentious, featuring rustic doors, handcrafted Japanese salon chairs, a high ceiling and wooden floorboards.
A hairdressing heavyweight, Cataldo’s Salon is where in-the-know locals get their cuts. Giuseppe Cataldo opened the first store in 1965 and his children and extended family still run the business. A wash, cut and blow-dry ranges from $92 (by a stylist) to $125 (director). There’s a salon in the city and another at Woden; both use Kérastase and Kevin Murphy products and offer complimentary wi-fi.
The indulgent Caviar + Pearl High Performance Anti-Aging treatment promotes youthful-looking skin but we bet those fine lines will start disappearing the moment you walk into the waiting room at Hale Spa. The spacious relaxation area is fitted with sheer dividing curtains, a fireplace and plush armchairs.
Book a Tint + Tidy ($60) at The Lab, a specialist brow salon housed in a heritage-listed 1920s building in Braddon. This signature treatment takes half an hour and while you’re there, you can stock up on products from brands including The Beauty Chef and Becca.
Located at Hotel Hotel, Roji is the sleekest salon in the capital (and it might just have the best in-salon dining in Australia; you can order a bite or cocktail from the hotel’s Monster Kitchen and Bar). Roji’s blow-dries are also topnotch, kicking off with a heavenly scalp and shoulder massage using cruelty-free Aveda aromatherapy products. ￼