Karl MacKenzie is a barber currently cutting out of Handsome Devils Barbershop in Moncton, New Brunswick. Armed with a Red Seal from the New Brunswick Registered Barbers Association, he specializes in classic haircuts and hot towel, straight razor shaves. With three years experience under his belt, he is quickly becoming a master of his craft. At 35 years old, he is the old man of his shop with a limitless knowledge of all things pop-culture. (He usually has some sort of fun fact about any subject.) Outside of the barbershop, Karl is all about his family, Muscle cars, and all things he thinks are cool! (Ask him what he loves more, his Mustang, or his pugs! Or who is favourite Doctor is!) You can find him on social media at @karlmackenziebarber on instagram!
What made you become a barber?
My journey into the trade is quite plain. There was a barbershop that opened in my old hometown that was offering classic cuts and shaves. Knowing the barber personally, I walked in for a haircut and basically never left! My hour-long lunch breaks turned into two hour breaks which turned into enrolling in Barber college, and after some blood, sweat, and tears, BAM! Here we are!
2. If you could do anything other than barbering, what would it be?
I always wanted to race cars. I would love to be a race car driver! I’d really like Chris Hardwick’s job too!
3. If you were stuck on a deserted island with one person, who would you want it be?
My fiancée, easily! Not only is she the best thing that ever happened to me, she's a nurse! So when I fall out of trees or break something trying to get us rescued, she can put me back together!
4. If you had Dr. Emmett Brown’s DeLorean, what year would you travel to?
2015 to see Jaws 19, of course! This is a hell of a question! Honestly I'd go back to the night the War Of The Worlds radio broadcast to watch the hysteria. If you’ve seen the documentary about it, you’d know it was a hell of a time!
5. What is your favourite movie or book?
Favourite Movie - The Warriors. Followed closely by Tombstone. They're like 1, and 1A. Cyrus laying out plans with all the gangs is so cool. And then the scene where Doc Holliday meets Johnny Ringo. It’s the best scene in any movie ever! Citizen Kane be damned!
Favourite Book - To Kill A Mockingbird. It was required reading in high school and while everyone hated it, I loved it. I still do!
6. What’s your go-to product when you’re working at the shop?
We have basically major pomade company Ultimate Barber Supply carries, but unless my client asks for something else, my go to product is Prospectors Pomade. It smells great, really easy to apply! Their oil based pomade is deadly! Most of my cuts are styled with Prospectors.
7. What’s your most memorable barbering experience?
An older gentleman came through the shop one day. He booked in a cut and straight razor shave. I got to work cleaning him up and after our consultation he didn't talk much despite my efforts to engage in conversation. After I finished the shave and asked him what he thought he looked up me and said, "You have no idea the weight you took off of me. My wife passed away two weeks ago and this was the first time I got to truly relax in months. Thank you." I just about cried, man! I shook his hand and gave the man a hug. I couldn't find the words to tell him how much that meant to me, and I still can't find them. It was really humbling and something I'll never forget.
8. What has been your biggest success in life up until now?
My biggest success in life has been being able to help my family. Through the years they've all helped me too many times and in too many ways to count, so it's been nice to return the favour.
9. How would your friends describe you?
I'm a nerd. So probably that! I work with my friends and I'm the pop culture guru. Ask me anything, and I'll have some sort of fun fact for you! I'm that guy!
10. If you could give one piece of advice to up and coming barbers, what would that be?
Keep learning! Your education doesn’t stop once you’re out of school. The best thing I’ve done as a barber was learning under someone who’s been there. Being an apprentice isn’t something that should be looked down at. Being an apprentice made me a better barber, and it will make you better too. Trust me. Also, don't be afraid of criticism and always put your best foot forward. And above all else, be courteous, and respectful of your clients. Without them, we're nothing!