HE is the former builder aiming to prove he is a cut above the rest.

Carl Allain is set to go head-to-head with 14 others for the coveted South East best wet shaving barber regional title in January.

But five years ago Carl would have laughed you out of town if you had told him he would be one of Hampshire’s top barbers.

A self-employed builder, he got into the cut-throat trade after his friend Steve Howell, who runs Steve’s Barber Shop in Aldermoor, suggested to him he might be good with a razor.

Carl said: “When Steve mentioned it to me – I just laughed at it for about three months, and when I told my mates they laughed too, but then the idea started to grow on me.

“Having a creative and very imaginative mind I thought I'd try my hand at something different and it turns out I’m a dab hand in the trade with the skill set for both wet shaves and high quality cuts.”

The 30-year-old dad-of-two from Lordshill believes the job change was the best decision he has ever made and just four years later he owns Uppercut Barbers in Shirley High Street.

Carl added: “I much prefer this industry to building, the job satisfaction is fantastic and it is amazing to get to this stage after just five years in the trade.”

The competition, which will take place in Poole on January 29, is organised by grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge and the British Barbers’ Association.

If Carl wins he gets a place in the national final, which will be staged in a boxing ring in February, with a shot at claiming the prestigious crown of being Britain’s Best Shaver.

He could also win £3,000 worth of Bluebeards Revenge products.