Gallery of Grooming opens in La Jolla to offer luxury experience for men

Alexander Shelton cuts a client's hair at Gallery of Grooming in La Jolla.

Just in time for hair salons to reopen with strict new health and safety guidelines, Alexander Shelton has opened Gallery of Grooming in La Jolla.

Specializing in luxury experiences and the skin fade haircut for men (think football player Odell Beckham Jr., singer Justin Timberlake and actor Brad Pitt), Gallery of Grooming started welcoming customers June 8.

“Skin fades are something I enjoy doing, and it’s a trendier look for men,” Shelton said. “The hair at the bottom of the head is cut down to the skin and gradually blends up to longer hair on top. You could do a comb-over or a man bun or dreads with it. The blend looks a lot cleaner and nicer, but it is up to the client and what they want, their texture and style.”

The Maryland native also can provide simple men’s haircuts, shaves, beard cleanups and more.

“Men don’t typically pamper themselves, but we all need to unwind from time to time. So I offer a luxury experience that sets me apart. All my clients walk away with an amazing haircut, and every service includes a hot towel, face toner and other soothing services.”

The timing to open his business could not be better, he said. With stay-at-home orders in effect and hair salons closed beginning in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, “everyone needs a haircut right now! So I’ve been busy since we opened,” he said.

Those who visit Gallery of Grooming must adhere to San Diego County regulations under which salons were allowed to reopen the last week of May. Shelton said clients are asked to wash their hands before they come in; must wear a mask; cannot bring guests and, if they arrive early, wait outside the salon until he is finished with the previous client.

Shelton said he started cutting hair while attending community college north of Baltimore, mostly for his brother and some friends.

“My mom was happy I was saving money on haircuts,” he joked. “My sister pushed me to go to barber school. It was never a dream or anything, but when I was done with college and didn’t know what I wanted to do, I took a chance on this. As soon as I got into it, I fell in love with it. I graduated early [from barber school] because it is all about the hours you put in. As soon as I was done, I wanted to get started.”

After bouncing around barbershops on the East Coast, he visited friends in San Diego in 2015.

“I fell in love instantly. I went home, packed my things and moved to San Diego two weeks later,” he said.

He chose La Jolla for his shop, Shelton said, because “local barbershops here are fairly generic, nothing too trendy. I think I stand out in a good way. And being a high-end men’s salon, I thought this high-end area would be the best place to launch.”

Shelton said he is offering 25 percent off the cost of services during June.

Gallery of Grooming is in the Phenix Salon Suites at 7655 Girard Ave., Suite 102. The phone number and website are still being established, so the best way to reach him is at ◆