By Javier Navarro / Photos by Ellie Alonzo
Contours, pompadours and even mullets are some of the few hairstyles barber Gary Barnhart has styled throughout his seven-year hairstyling career. The jovial barber, who admitted that he loathes cutting his own hair, is one of the go-to-men at AP’s Barbershop. We sat down with Gary to talk about his hairstyling career and a little about his personal life.
So what got you into hairstyling?
Gary: I was hanging here in Denton and was drinking some Sailor Jerry’s with a couple of friends. I was going to Richland Community College for a little while and I wasn’t sure what to do. I was talking to [my friends] about what my options might be, and one of them said it would be cool being a barber. I thought it was a cool idea, so I enrolled in Texas Barber’s College and I started learning how to cut hair from there. I had never cut hair before that and I fell in love with it.
How many shops have you worked at?
G: I started at Supercuts on Avenue C, actually. One of the track guys at UNT at the time came in to get a haircut and he really helped build my clientele. He would go back to Victory [Hall] and tell all of the guys that he got his haircut from me. Nobody believed him because they usually don’t do tapers or bald fades at Supercuts, they usually do a two on the side and spiky on top. From there I learned where the other shops were and left Supercuts, which I only worked at for three months. I started working at the barbershop called Andy’s by TJ’s Pizza. I didn’t really get along with one of the barbers there because he was really aggressive and I couldn’t really take it anymore, so I left. That’s where I found Jenesis Barbershop and I worked there for a few years and then it was moved over here and changed owners.
What are the most common hairstyles you do?
G: One that’s out right now that I hate the name of is the comb-over. I don’t like the name because it’s so simple and doesn’t give any homage to the actual style. It’s a side-part contour haircut or a variation of that. So when people come over and say they want a combover, I tell them what it really is. Modern contours is another one I’ve been seeing. Sometimes you’ll have a light fade, a taper and then an edge-up, which gives it a modern feel, but the contour is still giving homage back to traditional cuts. The faux hawk was pretty popular a while ago and I still get requests for them sometimes.
What’s the weirdest request you have ever gotten?
G: My first cut at Supercuts was actually a mullet, but the guy didn’t ask for a mullet. It was this older guy and he had long hair already. He came in, had his hair combed down and was like “Okay, I want mid-ear on the sides and then layer it in the back.” I’m thinking “You’re describing a mullet to me, I don’t know if this is right.” So I start giving him the haircut and I get to the point where I feel like the cut is done. I show him the mirror and hand him a comb, and he grabs the blowdryer and starts feathering it. Then he’s like “Yeah, this is perfect!” I don’t think he wanted to call it a mullet to begin with. I don’t blame him.
What are your favorite cuts to style? Least favorite?
G: I do enjoy doing the traditional style like contours, pompadours, and razor fades, which is something else I’ve been doing a lot of. The blowout is a haircut I don’t really like doing. Pauly D, from Jersey Shore, that’s the kind of haircut I’m talking about, it’s like ‘Vegeta’ hair. But I’m here to give the client what they want, whether or not I like it. I do that style well and I’m not going to mess up anybody’s haircut just because I don’t like that style. That has my name attached to it and I don’t want anybody walking out with a bad haircut.
What are some of your hobbies?
G: I recently had a kid, so hanging out with a kid is a hobby I guess. It’s cool, he’ll be a month old soon. I also play music and that’s basically it.
You’re also in a band, right?
G: Yeah, one is a two-piece called You and Me. Sometimes I do solo things as well. Starparty is the full band that I play with. I play rhythm guitar.
What is your spirit animal?
G: Pizza and beer. They go great together.
You can find Gary at AP’s Barbershop at 318 E Oak St Suite 130. Haircuts for adults are $15. You can contact Gary and schedule an appointment via phone at 903-830-1329 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.