Hank Hernandez and Daniel Ruiz

Paul Wellman

Hank Hernandez and Daniel Ruiz

Shave & a Haircut: La Arcada Barber Shop

Daniel Ruiz and Hank Hernandez Are Part of Santa Barbara’s Manly Barbershop Scene

Daniel Ruiz had already been cutting his own hair for several years before taking his shears to a few shaggy kids at Shoreline Community Church, where he was working part-time in the youth-group ministry. Around the same time, Ruiz befriended an unkempt older gentleman who avoided barber shops because Huntington’s Disease made him too shaky to sit still. Ruiz offered his services, and the old man agreed. After that haircut and beard trim, Ruiz decided to turn his hobby into something more. In 2007, he moved to Anaheim and enrolled at The Real Barber College.

Immediately after completing the yearlong certification program, Ruiz accepted an offer from Goodland Barber Shop, headed up by an old friend. After two years there, Ruiz, 29, made the move downtown, to La Arcada Barber Shop, which has been around since 1946, now run by 72-year-old Hank Hernandez, its third owner.

“I had always wanted to work for somebody who’d been at it for a while,” Ruiz said.

Tucked away in La Arcada Court, on State Street, Hernandez’s shop — equipped with century-old chairs and plenty of museum-quality décor — draws a lot of professionals from upstairs offices and the nearby courthouse and county administration building. Hernandez, a Carpinteria High School graduate who started barbering professionally 51 years ago, is a former California state champion in men’s razor-cutting, a seldom-seen technique during which a barber cuts with a straight razor instead of scissors.

“Razor-cutting is a technique I learned from Hank,” Ruiz said. “Most barber schools don’t teach it anymore. I enjoy it because you’re able to sculpt the hair in detail, cut in a way that causes stubborn areas to lay down, remove bulk while still maintaining a full look, and give people a unique experience. It’s a classic technique for a classic shop.”

1114 State St. Unit 6; (805) 966-4451

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