Dave Mancuso and the Art of the Perfect Shave


A Master Barber guides us through a classy and classic experience for men…

You may have noticed that this writer has been on a journey of self-improvement…and I’ve taken you along on the adventure. Together we’ve experienced a men’s spa day at Westgate Serenity Spa. Then we shot over to Cosmopolitan for a visit to STITCHED Haberdashery, followed by a series of sessions at Therma Slim Med-Spa. It was only a matter of time before our next must-do experience would be an expert straight-razor shave.

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There’s no question that when you look your best, you feel great too. And it doesn’t matter what brought you to Las Vegas. Even if you’re here just to sight-see or to attend a special event, those photos and memories are going to last a lifetime. Why not indulge in something that will relax, pamper and improve your looks all at the same time? You’ll get all that and more when you schedule a Premium Shave Experience at The Art of Shaving,

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The Art of Shaving at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place is much more than the usual retail outlets you’ve seen. It’s one of about fifty locations that also features a full-service Barber Spa. The AOS Barber Spas offer precision haircuts, beard trims, scalp treatments, express facials and Premium Packages. But as the name would suggest, The Art of Shaving Barber Spa is home to the world’s best straight-razor shave.

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Dave Mancuso has been with The Art of Shaving since coming to Las Vegas eleven years ago. His first nine years were spent at The Palazzo before transferring to Mandalay Place. It’s at their Barber Spas that Mr. Mancuso can fully utilize the skills he’s developed through thirty-nine years as a Master Barber.

The expertise and elevated level of service from a licensed Master Barber gives this Youngstown, Ohio native a distinct edge over traditional barbers. Dave keeps his license and craft up to date by attending regular Continuing Education courses. The fact that Dave’s also a licensed Cosmetologist ensures that your face and skin will be in the best possible care.

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A visit to The Art of Shaving is often a rite of passage. Men bring their sons here for their first professional shave. It’s also a popular must-do for Vegas visitors when arriving in the city. Just like ladies look forward to the many Vegas spas, men often make it their tradition to receive a straight razor shave when they come to town. And of course, many locals make this part of their regular grooming regimen. “We love our locals” says Dave.

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Walk-in visits are usually available, but it’s easy to schedule an appointment. The meticulously-presented retail area leads to a welcoming counter where you’ll be escorted to the Barber Spa. That short walk from the entrance will take you back decades in time, when the Barber Shop was a masculine cultural experience. The spinning barber poles and classic leather chairs set a wonderful mood for what’s to follow.

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Dave guided me through the entire process beforehand, describing every step in their famous Premium Shave. First comes the cleansing process, followed by hot moist towels to soften the beard and open pores. They’re infused with fragrant essential oils…and incredibly relaxing.

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It was at this part of the process that I started to go into a zone of deep relation. “Many of our guests fall asleep ” Dave told me. “Don’t fight it. I’ll wake you up in forty-five minutes or so” he joked. Fair enough….so I’ll let Dave take it from here in his own words.

I start with a warm steam towel, apply Peppermint Face Wash and cleanse the face using the Art of Shaving Power Brush. Next Peppermint Face Exfoliant is applied, massaged into the skin and removed. Pre-shave oil is applied and then a warm lather on top of the oil.

The Royal Shave is performed using a straight razor with a disposable blade (which is required by law so there is never any cross-contamination). I shave with the grain in which the hair grows, re-lather and shave against the grain. Another warm towel is applied to open the pores.

Rosewater Eye Pads are placed on the eyes and a Rose Clay Mask is applied to soothe and moisturize the skin. The mask is removed and then I give a face and neck massage using AOS After-shave Balm. I mist the face with rosewater and finish with a cold towel to close the pores…and more often than not to wake the guest up.

 

After that refreshing towel brought me back to my senses, it was time absorb the experience…and enjoy the feel and appearance of my smooth, immaculate face. Dave then took me into the retail and demonstrated some of the products that have made The Art of Shaving such a gold standard for men’s grooming.

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The New York City-based company was formed in 1996 by husband and wife Eric Malka and Myriam Zaoui. The two combined their skills to create the ultimate shaving products from natural and aromatic ingredients like those found in the kitchen. They published a book about their research, discoveries and a valuable guide to the ultimate shave in 2002. The company was acquired by Proctor and Gamble in 2009, so now the stores also feature Gillette razors and blades.

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While their high-end product line has been expanded to include all manners of body wash, beard care, grooming and fragrances, the core of their business is what they call 4 Elements of a Perfect Shave. These basics start with their pre-shave oil, a highly concentrated shave cream, a natural-bristle shaving brush and an after-shave balm. I picked up the 4 Elements set and was eager to try them in my own shower.

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“You only need to use a very small amount of our items to get the best results” Dave cautioned me. “One jar of our shave cream, for instance, will last for over eight months. In the rare event that someone is unhappy, it’s more than likely because they’re using too much. Once they use less, they’ll fall in love”.

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I left The Art of Shaving feeling like a million dollars and ready to enjoy a Saturday night on the town. Dave’s departing words were echoed a few days later after I’d given my Art of Shaving products a whirl at home. I wrote to express my appreciation…and my pleasure with the 4 Elements Gift Set. “I love my face again!”, I told him.

Mancuso’s response was priceless: “That is almost always the reaction we hear once someone plays with our products themselves. It will even get better with continued use. ENJOY!!!”

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The Art of Shaving/Barber Spa of Mandalay Bay is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm. It is located at Shoppes at Mandalay Place, 3930 Las Vegas Boulevard South. Call 702-632-9356 to make an appointment with Dave Mancuso. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STITCHED & CHILL at Cosmo Delivers the Ahhhhs….


Men’s haberdashery pampers guests with spa treatments, sexy cocktails and delectable dishes…

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It’s always enjoyable to report when businesses and individuals “give back” by way of charitable events, humanitarian causes and acts of kindness. Sometimes a simple thing like showing appreciation for your team can set a business apart from the rest.

Feel Like a Kingsman at STITCHED

In December I told you about STITCHED, the superlative, unique men’s clothing boutique inside Cosmopolitan Hotel Casino. This week I was lucky enough to attend a gathering called STITCHED & CHILL. This event is an opportunity for the STITCHED team to extend their thanks to vendors who supply STITCHED with their magnificent menswear, accessories and materials.

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Tuesday’s party was created to coincide with the MAGIC Fashion Trade Show at Mandalay Bay. Don’t be thrown by the name….the only illusions you find there may come from figure-enhancing undergarments. MAGIC stands for the Men’s Apparel Guild in California, which was established in 1933. The semi-annual show comes to Las Vegas every February and August, bringing hundreds of exhibitors for a massive fashion showcase.

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To alleviate some of the stress that cross-country traveling and setting up a trade show can produce, the vendors for STITCHED are treated on the eve of MAGIC for a bit of pampering. That means cocktails and delicious nibbles courtesy of Cosmo’s STK Steakhouse and Momofuku multi-cultural bistro. It also means a little taste of luxury by way of massages, mini-manicures and detailing from an on-site barber.

Arriving at a sweet suite on floor 67 of Cosmo’s Boulevard Tower, my pal Danny and I were greeted by STITCHED Marketing and Brand Director Charly Mapes. The scent of the shop’s signature fragrance candles filled the air as we were ushered through the vestibule. The gorgeous space featured a wrap-around balcony with spectacular 270-degree views of the valley.

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Once onside, we were shown around by Sam Glaser, VP of Purchasing and Operations. After grabbing some cocktails provided by sponsors Maker’s Mark Bourbon and Casamigos Tequila, Glaser told us how STITCHED & CHILL came into being and the purpose behind it. Our suave host then invited us to indulge in spa amenities courtesy of some very talented individuals.

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My first treatment was a lush and relaxing chair massage by Valarie Marck of The Body Connection On-site Spa Services. Valerie and her partner Shawna Naylor became quite popular as guests flowed in and Sam Glaser filled up the appointment boards, cleverly mounted in the main entertainment area.

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Next up was a gentleman-style mini manicure by Dominique Pfeiffer of The Body Spa at Green Valley Ranch. While giving me a tasteful trim, shape and buff (along with a wonderful hand massage), Dominique mentioned that her son Nick works for STITCHED. Even though she’s quite busy at her own spa, Dominique said she enjoys the atmosphere of CHILL events and considers it a pleasure to share her skills here.

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As I’d just been to the barber earlier that day, I didn’t slide into the next chair. However, many of the gentlemen in attendance were able to get their necklines and beards trimmed and neatened by the barber. The next morning they’d be able to look their best at the trade show.

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As the evening wound down, we spoke to a few young ladies who were staying at Mandalay Bay Resort. They’d just arrived from New York and had already set up their exhibit, so they were enjoying the opportunity to take in the gorgeous sights, smells, tastes and services for themselves.

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Sadly, the man of the hour, Ricci Lopez-Hammargren was unable to attend the festivities. He was at Cosmo’s second-level STITCHED boutique, giving world-class attention to a visiting customer. As I mentioned in my previous article, men fly into Las Vegas from the four corners of the country (sometimes from overseas) to shop at STITCHED. It’s just that special.

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Why not discover the unique world of STITCHED for yourself? Click here to schedule your own personalized fitting experience. Hours are from 10 am through 11 pm daily. Call 702-698-7630 for more information. 

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MAGIC LAS VEGAS runs through February 7th at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Click here for more information.