At Barbieria Colla tradition also means burning the hair weakest tips by fire

When a new customer calls our shop, one of the most frequently asked question is: “Can I get the fire haircut?”.

Unfortunately this is the wrongest thing to say, because we don’t cut hair with fire, and it would be quite a long shot to believe it’s even possible.

Therefore, today I would like to clarify the treatment we perform to strengthen the hair after cutting it with scissors.

Taking inspiration from the book “Antica Barbieria Colla ovvero la salute dei capelli” published by Feltrinelli in 1980 and written by Mr. Franco Bompieri, I will try to explain the purpose of our job.

Boldness and all the other hair and scalp issues are not a matter of therapy, but of prevention. We can’t make irreparably lost hair grow again, we can just take care of good hair and restore the damaged one. And this is what we have been doing at Antica Barbieria Colla for more than a century, since it is not enough to consider only the way the hair looks, but we need to understand what exactly we are dealing with and how to treat it.

There are several hair types: dry, frizzy, thin, curly, red, white, brown etc.

Our peculiar technique is particularly suitable to thin hair. Thin hair is very delicate and needs to always be clean; it can easily get oily and break, especially if too long.

This type of hair has to be cut with nothing more than a comb and a pair of scissors, if possible every 3 weeks.

After the haircut, it’s time for the curious fire:

using a wick with the right amount of wax so it doesn’t leak over the customer’s head, a small flame burns the hair tips just cut to seal it up in order to prevent split ends, which are quite common for thin hair.

As the flame moves past it’s immediately turned off by some skillful comb movements.

To better understand the reason behind this treatment, we need to talk about the hair structure.

The hair consists of:

a thin external cuticle of cells, one above the other like roof tiles,

the cortex, made of extended cells filled with a substance, keratin, whose fibers brought together into twisted bundles cause hair resistance.

With the flame, we are sealing the final part of keratin so it doesn’t easily flake off.


The cuticle and the cortex are lifeless, because when it comes to hair life is founded in the follicles, some sort of small canals dug in the skin which have a little mass of cells at the bottom that keeps reproducing, being filled by keratin and dying.

Once the burning is over, we move to the scalp massage and cleansing and then to shampooing and lotion massage, but we’ll talk about it another time.