With cleavers and blowtorches, barber offers hair-raising cuts

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (AFP) – Hoping to prove a cut above the competition, Pakistani barber Ali Abbas relies on an unusual array of tools to practise his craft – including blowtorches, meat cleavers, and even broken glass.

Abbas’s fringe style is proving a hit in the conservative nation, with customers flocking to his shop in the eastern city of Lahore.

During a typical trim, Abbas will take a bit off the top with a blowtorch. He added some layers with the help of a cleaver and butcher’s block, while occasionally thinning out a thicker mane with a bit of broken glass.

“I thought I should do something different to attract more clients,” Abbas told AFP.

“In the beginning, I tried it on artificial hair, and then – after practicing it for some time – I used it on a client, and he liked it a lot.”

Photos show Pakistani barber Ali Abbas at work with clients. PHOTO: AFP

Since first unveiling his style in 2016 and after brushing away customer fears, he said the unconventional approach has become a hit.

His popularity has only grown since, resulting in television appearances and fashion shoots.

“There has been a very good response from my clients, who were quite scared in the beginning,” said Abbas, whose eccentric manner and own unkempt, frizzy locks give him the look of a mad scientist.

Abbas charges PKR2,000 (USD13) for the unorthodox treatment – or PKR1,000 for a traditional trim with scissors.

“I am feeling quite relaxed and comfortable,” said Ali Saqlain, as the barber took a blowtorch to his head.

Abbas said he also enjoys a large number of women customers, who he charges an additional PKR500 for extra styling.

“I had my hair cut done at this salon three times,” said Arooj Bhatti. “I prefer it to be done with a cleaver as my hair grows fast after,” she added.