by Kathryn Millhorn | Photo by Damian Magista
The first documented barbers used oyster shells and flint to keep ancient Egyptians in the height of 5000 B.C. fashion. Today, however, skilled artisans combine years of training with pomades, beard oils, moustache creams, soaps, and waxes crafted from natural ingredients. Near downtown Olympia, The Refined Man adds a timeless touch of something special to your usual humdrum haircut.
Located at 1303 4th Avenue East, owner Shawna Charboneau started the company in Nashville, Tennessee, but brought it with her when she returned to Western Washington in early 2016. It took a little time—and the invaluable help of Jenell Kurtz at Touché Beauty Bar—to build up word of mouth and a base clientele. But when she purchased the new location a few years later, Charboneau was up to five barbers and a full-time receptionist.
Even the location was chosen with deliberate care. “The vision I had for the shop is exactly what the location is now,” says Charboneau. “Having the shop in an old house gives it an amazing vibe and adds to The Refined Man’s brand.”
Originally from the Bay Area, Charboneau started out in a more traditional women’s salon setting but found it wasn’t a great fit. “I never really enjoyed doing women’s hair,” she admits. “I loved the versatility and creativeness that went with men’s hair. But not many guys went to salons in those days for haircuts. So, I took breaks from it here and there and did a lot of other jobs. I owned and operated a trucking company with my ex-husband in Tenino for over 15 years. I gained a lot of business experience from that.”
But with life changes came career changes too. “About ten years ago, I decided that I wanted to get back into the industry full time and made the change to barbering. I went to barber school and then continued with another 750 hours to get my cosmetology license again, so I am duel licensed. I am newly engaged to an amazing guy, have two sons, two soon-to-be stepsons, three step grandkids, three chihuahuas, and a cat. I spend a lot of time with family, enjoy traveling, and riding on one of our Harleys with my fiancé.”
Why choose a barbershop experience versus generic in-and-out salon? The answer starts when you open the front door. “From the moment a client walks in they know that The Refined Man is definitely not your basic barbershop,” says Charboneau. “We are unique in the sense that not only will our client get an exceptional haircut, shave, or beard trim by one of our very talented barbers, it’s about the experience that comes with it.”
And what an experience it is. “Our clients are greeted at the door, offered a complimentary beverage and then met by their barber and taken to their chair. We do a very thorough consultation to ensure that the needs of our clients are met, and any questions or concerns have been answered before we start. We offer a variety of services and each is tailored to the individual when they are meeting with their barber. We have a detailed menu of all our services available on our website. Every tailored haircut comes with a shampoo, hot towel, straight razor shave on the neck, and style with product. We are an appointment only barbershop. We also are one of the very few shops to offer a hot lather straight razor shave.”
The products they use throughout are of equally high quality. “We only carry top shelf men’s grooming products all the way from men’s skin care, hair, shaving, body washes to styling products like shampoos and conditioners,” says Charboneau. “If we don’t have it, we can get it.”
Over the next year, as COVID-19 restrictions (hopefully!) start to ease, Charboneau plans to expand their existing locale and start the process of adding a second location.
But for now, she and her team are happy to help boost morale with a little pampering and a fresh new look.
To make an appointment, call their receptionist at 360-918-8335 or book online at www.TheRefinedMan.Club. Whether for same-day service or a future event, they’ll do their best to accommodate every request. At the site you can also read rave reviews, learn more about products and services, or submit questions for the staff. Upgrade your shave today and leave the oyster shells to the oysters.