Watching a barber can be a real piece of theatre. The blue liquid canister full of combs, the badger brush applying the shaving cream in circular swooshes, the clipping of the scissor blades. These are things that have been found in barber shops for decades. And while barbering is rich in history, one important change that you should be aware of was made almost 10 years ago.
One thing that you will always notice at Jimmy Figg's are our barbers changing the blade of their cutthroat with each new customer. You'll notice they will unwrap a new blade in front of you before putting it into their razor. The old blade will go straight into a sharps container. While it's important to do this so that the blade used is always sharp, there are far more important reasons for you to ensure that this always happens.
Public Health Acts in most states of Australia dictate that only disposable blades must be used in barber shops, and should be only used on one customer before being disposed of in a sharps container. This means that the blade is completely sterile when it is being used on your skin, preventing the spread of communicable diseases from one customer to another. Blood borne diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV may be carried by the blades, even if blood is not visible. In addition, infections from fungus or bacteria, such as impetigo and ringworm may be passed from customer to customer. A quality barber shop will assume that every blade has come into contact with a disease and treat the blades accordingly.
While you'll find that most barber shops follow this rule, it is sad to say that you'll still find a small number of barbershops who reuse blades in an effort to save money. Customers have told us of barbershops that use a fixed blade cutthroat, or even one that uses a single disposable blade all day. This will not only irritate your skin, due to the bluntness of the blade, but places you at risk of communicable diseases. The blue disinfectant synonymous with barber shops does a great job of disinfecting combs, it's not enough to disinfect blades. A quality barber shop will change the blade in front of you every time, and if they don't, don't risk it.