- Antica Barbieria Colla in Milan cuts hair with fire.
- The technique was popular in Italy in the 20th century.
- “The reason why this is done is because it’s good for the hair,” founder and creative director Francesca Bompieri told INSIDER.
- The shop uses a candlewick which is made bespoke by a supplier.
Cutting hair with fire was popular in Italy in the 20th century. Today, many barber shops have stopped practising this technique, except for Antica Barbieria Colla, in Milan.
So why is having your hair cut with fire still a thing?
“The reason why this is done is because it’s good for the hair because the candle welds the part of the hair that has been cut off, and the keratin inside the hair strengthens,” founder and creative director Francesca Bompieri told INSIDER. “If you cut only the tip and the hair is very weak, it can be split in two, the famous split ends.”
Antica Barbieria Colla was founded in 1904 by Dino Colla, and it soon stood out among barber shops in Milan. In 1949, ownership passed over to Franco Bompieri, who has now retired and left his daughter, Francesca, to run it.
“The thing with this haircut is, if you do a stylised haircut, the flame will change it,” said Francesca. “So style is something that’s a bit different from what you can do using the candle. Essentially what we do here is, trying to give a style to the client, of course, but something classic that allows us to use the candle as final step. Because we care more about the health of the hair. This treatment is good for you if your hair is weak, if something unexpected happened and you need to strengthen it.”
The shop uses a candlewick which is made bespoke by a supplier.
“It’s a specific object that has to be made in a specific way. The thing is, there doesn’t need to be any drops when you use the flame, otherwise the hair would be damaged. Therefore, you need a small amount of wax.”
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