This article originally appeared on VICE Belgium.Beards, hair, moustaches and not a piece of clothing in sight. It’s a concept that some Brazilian barbershops and salons are now offering their customers, where you can get your hair done while wearing nothing but your birthday suit. According to its supporters, this isn’t just a fad – it’s a quiet, laid-back alternative to the macho atmosphere of typical male grooming spaces.
To the best of my knowledge, there are currently four nudist hair salons spread across the country, each with their own distinct style. Barbearia Naturista in Fortaleza, the first to open in Brazil, according to founder Rodney Araujo, 29; Studio Motta and Barbeiro Itinerante in São Paulo; and Spa Naturista in Rio de Janeiro.Araujo lives in Fortaleza, the capital of the Ceara state in northeastern Brazil and one of the hottest regions in the country. He opened his place back in 2021 and claims to be the only officially registered nudist business in the country. “A lot of businesses are trying to copy our name to get more clients, but they’re not associated with us,” he explains. With eight employees offering multiple services, the male beauty salon offers a range of treatments.To Araujo, the point of the salon is to spread the practice of nudism far beyond beaches and campsites and into urban spaces. Due to high demand, his salon’s opening hours stretch to 2AM every night. “I wanted to encourage men to take care of their bodies and souls,” he says, “by showing a form of internal beauty that few get to see.”“Nudism has been a part of my life as long as music,” explains DJ Renato Erjo, one of Araujo’s clients. “So, if places like Barbearia Naturisa exist, I’d rather go there than anywhere else.” Erjo has taken friends to the salon in the past – “anyone who’d shown an interest”, he says. What he appreciates most about the environment is that it is always friendly and respectful: “Generally speaking, you quickly forget that you’re both naked.”
Almost 3,000 km south in the city of São Paulo, the economic centre of Brazil, 37-year-old Rafael Hacoma has made a name for himself as an at-home nudist barber. Talking to him on social media, Hacomar mentioned that, at some point, it became common in Brazil to have barbershops double as social spaces with booze, billiard tables and TVs showing football matches. “It almost became the norm for a salon to have these kinds of areas,” he adds.But not all men were comfortable in those environments, particularly queer men, who make up the vast majority of Hacomar’s clients. “They were annoyed by how toxic these places were and often found themselves caught in the middle of conversations full of prejudice and uncomfortable exchanges,” Hacomar explains.Clients choose his business, Barbeiro Itinerante, because they find naked personal care liberating, Hacomar says, though it’s not uncommon for him to attract customers who assume sex to be part of the deal. (This, by the way, is most definitely not on offer.)Although he isn’t a nudist in his daily life, Pietro Cassab finds the experience of getting his hair cut by Hacomar freeing. “The atmosphere in barbershops has always been very masculine, too masculine,” the 33-year-old teacher explains. “This type of experience breaks away from that model. There’s something intimate about it, even if it’s not sexual.”
During his haircuts, Cassab talks about everything with Hacomar – relationships, work, nights out. “We’re friends,” he says. “It’s a special moment for me. I lose all notion of shyness and I feel very at ease. He’s the best and I’m always satisfied with the result.”With his current 12 appointments per week on average, Hacomar has been able to quit his main job in logistics. He soon hopes to move to Portugal and offer his services there, too.
Also in São Paulo, 26-year-old Paolo Motta opened a nudist hair and beauty salon only five months ago. Studio Motta exclusively targets a gay male audience. “It’s easier to attract clients in this group,” he explains. “I think there’s a larger demand.” On average, he gets 20 clients a week, including some international tourists.When I ask why he likes to come to Studio Motta, visual artist and stylist Fabio Kawallys, 40, says he’s “interested in being naked and doing simple things.” Kawallys liked the atmosphere of the nudist beaches and parties he’d been to, and found himself at ease at the nudist salon, where he usually gets his pubic hair cut and trimmed, too.In the city centre of Rio de Janeiro, hairdresser and masseur Danyel Nacymento, who has been a nudist for over 15 years, has only just begun combining his two passions at his nudist spa, Spa Naturista. The 52-year-old is currently in the process of moving locations, and will soon reopen under a different name.Right now, haircuts are less lucrative than his other services, which include massages and massage classes, but he plans to continue on offering this option to his 30-odd weekly customers. Among them is Carlos Eduardo Santos, 43, a travel agent who finds Nacymento’s naked services “more comfortable” than those on offer in traditional spas. Santos is also often naked at home, but doesn’t have many other occasions to be nude. That’s where the spa comes in. “There are no rules about what to say or do,” he says appreciatively, “and even though everyone is naked, the conversations aren’t necessarily sexual.”In a country where it’s hot and humid most of the year, being naked just feels good. Though nudist spaces in Brazil are still few and far between, the success of naked salons shows people are interested in moving beyond typical standards of dress and approaching self-care in a more natural and relaxed way. Your local barbershop may have something to worry about.