Pedro Antunes has some of the fastest hands in the barber biz. He used to fly state to state to compete in regional “Fastest Fade” competitions, and he often won; his record was four cleaned-up domes in under 15 minutes. And while Antunes values care and precision as much as any other barber, it's this speed, accuracy, and confidence that earned him the name “The Wolf of Broad Street.” (One of his three Klippers) barbershops is located on Broad Street In Elizabeth, NJ.) He would replicate these speed-rounds at the shop whenever too many walk-ins would show up simultaneously.
Antunes’ notoriety landed him more than gilded hardware: He now has regular celebrity clients including Rick Ross and DJ Khaled—two guys whose grooming game is as nearly as celebrated as their musical accomplishments. (Ross himself has an entire beard-and-hair grooming line, RICH by Rick Ross, to prove how serious he is about self care.) So, what does it mean to be a barber to that kind of celebrity? A lot of travel. Antunes accompanies Ross and Khaled to the Grammys, magazine shoots (like Khaled’s recent GQ story), and red carpet events, to trim them up and keep their beards, fades, and line-ups camera-ready.
Since speed rounds are his specialty, we tossed Antunes a few grooming fastballs to get his tips, tricks, and product recommendations in the beard-and-hair arena.
GQ: What is the biggest mistake that guys make when growing a beard?
Antunes: Not having the patience to let their beards flourish. A lot of guys want to cut their beards because they say it gets itchy or it’s not growing in right, but that’s only a phase in the growth process. You should first grow your beard for at least three weeks to see its full potential. As long as you comb through your beard, as well as wash and condition it, then you will achieve a healthy, full beard. Beards carry tons of germs so I recommend washing and conditioning every day.
GQ: What’s the best way to shape your own beard) at home, if you don’t want to mess up on the first pass?
Antunes: Always start from the bottom at your neckline. This builds the foundation for your beard. Then continue on to shaping the cheek lines. That bottom line becomes your level so while shaping up the cheek areas you can step back and make sure everything is even and proportioned. Doing otherwise can result in an uneven beard. It's almost like building a house—you start from the ground up.
GQ: What’s the single best hair product that all guys can use, regardless of hair texture?
Antunes: Classic pomade is an essential hairstyling product for both black and white males. I use RICH by Rick Ross’ pomade because it gives hair a long lasting clean finish. It won’t disappoint you by the end of the day.
GQ: For daily beard styling, do you prefer balms, or beard oils?
Antunes: I don’t use beard balm on myself or others, because it leaves residue in the beard. Personally, I like beard oils better, especially because they leave a nice shine and they moisturize at the same time. Another benefit is that beard oil keeps your skin and hair follicles hydrated.
GQ: There’s a lot that goes into the sculpting of a beard, including shaving the cheek and neckline. What are your favorite beard-sculpting products—razor, blades, cream, post-shave, and clippers?
Antunes: I've used a lot of different brands but I prefer Parker’s safety razor. They’re affordable but, more importantly, they are weighted nicely and durable enough to give a good shave, every time.
My favorite blades are the Wilkinson Sword classic double-edge safety razor blades, because they give me my desired look in the first attempt, and don't skip over hairs like a lot of other blades on the market.
When shaping up beards I like to use Pacinos shave gel. It moisturizes the skin for a clean shave while giving it a fresh cooling effect.
My favorite beard trimmer is the BaByliss Pro cordless gold FX Skeleton Outliner. The size, weight, balance, and the sharpness of lines once the blade is adjusted are great.
GQ: How often should guys clean up their beards and haircuts?
Antunes: Guys should be groomed on a weekly basis to upkeep the same clean appearance, especially with these tighter, trendy haircuts. They grow back so fast! You can skip on the haircut for a week but definitely need to maintain your beard on a weekly basis.
Originally Appeared on GQ