As Helen Garner wrote, the only difference between a bad haircut and a good one is a week. But you can spare yourself seven days of trauma by getting (or gifting) a trim at one of these six establishments. Whether you choose a London-inspired barber shop or a luxurious, sustainable boutique, you’ll leave feeling like a million bucks.

Tate and Lyle barbers
In the middle of Sydney’s CBD on Macquarie Street, Tate and Lyle is inspired by the London barber shops where owner Jacob Martin cut his teeth. It’s all class in here, from the shiny bottle-green subway tiles to the marble accents, luxurious brown leather barber chairs and Nikka whisky to sip while you wait. The luxury shave and facial will make a great gift for the gentleman in your life: a gentle facial exfoliation, two hot towels and two passes of the open blade finished with moisturiser, a cold towel and a splash of hand-picked aftershave. To top it all off, feel goo about your gift knowing that 95% of Tate and Lyle’s salon waste is recycled.
Shop 1/167 Macquarie Street

Raw Hair
Sydney-based hairdresser and editorial stylist Anthony Nader is a favourite among the fashion industry crowd, having spent time traipsing around international fashion weeks and winning multiple awards for his work. His Surry Hills salon (complete with a “relaxation room” and part of the Sustainable Salons program ) on Commonwealth Street has been going strong since 1997 and attracts busy professionals who love a low-maintenance cut. While you’ll pay top dollar for a prized slot with Nader himself (it’s $400 for a first-time visit), other stylists are just as talented and more affordable at the $170 mark.
100 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

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The Happy Sailors Barbershop
Owner Nathan Meers has brought a touch of fun to Redfern’s Happy Sailors Barbershop, which is named after a tattoo parlour from The Simpsons. The space is decked out with vintage accents he’s collected over the years: red and blue spinning poles out front, red leather barber chairs and retro plastic hair dryers. It’s gents-only here, and the retro aesthetic and simple prices ($50 for a haircut and $30 for a buzz cut) tend to attract all ages.
748 Bourke Street, Redfern

Headcase Hair
Headcase Hair has been around since 1997 (a good year for hairdressing), but the Paddington salon recently underwent a fabulous renovation. From the speckled terrazzo floors and the leather-lined walnut joinery, to the reclining shiatsu massage chairs made in Italy and ample natural light, it could well be the most beautiful salon in Sydney. Founders John Pulitano and Vincent Nobile pride themselves on client relationships, and haircuts and colour that grow out seamlessly. Haircuts start at an affordable $90 and go up to $210 for Pulitano himself.
Shop 4/91-93 Macleay Street, Potts Point 242 Oxford Street, Paddington

Que Colour
If you’re looking for a change, Que Colour is the place to hit. The Darlinghurst salon is known for their skilled hair colourists, some of them having worked at Paris and New York Fashion Week. If you’re just looking to treat yourself, they also have a blow dry menu featuring very Instagram-worthy dos: The Bounce (an old Hollywood type blowout), Famous Dry Off (softer, lived-in waves), The Swing (fostering natural curl and movement) and The Twist (beachy curls). Que Colour is committed to sustainability and is part of the Sustainable Salon program.
178 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst

Esstudio Galleria
If you’re looking for an old school barbershop/ hairdresser combo with a conscience, Chippendale’s Esstudio has to be on your hit list. Founded in 2011, the salon recycles 95 per cent of its waste and is committed to using sustainable products. They serve men and women and also provide beauty services like facials, waxes and manicures too. Plus they have salon dogs Ox and Onyx, who are waiting to greet you as you enter the door.
5 Queen Street, Chippendale

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with City of Sydney.Find more about where to shop, eat and explore in the City of Sydney this Christmas