CRESTVIEW — Quentin Paulsen, a local barber who won an international competition sponsored by Reuzel, American Salon, and Project X, has returned from the Netherlands trip that was part of his prize package.

The grand prize came as a surprise.

"I thought possibly I might be a finalist, but totally did not expect to win the competition. I knew that the haircut was good, and I was very proud of it," he said. "I was so surprised when I woke up to the alerts on my phone that I had won."

It also included training at the Project X Old School Barber Academy in Amsterdam, Holland.

"Their style of cutting is more old-world, old-school style, soft clipper over comb," Paulsen said. "You can shape the haircut in a style that better fits the client."

They cut classic styles he prefers from the 1940s, '50s and '60s, such as pompadours, quiffs, executive contours, jelly rolls, the elephant trunks — the kinds in shows like "Mad Men" and "Grease," according to Paulsen.

He and fellow students  got to see the techniques old-school barbers use from start to finish. They also performed four haircuts themselves with instructor critique. 

Paulsen learned "a more refined approach to doing a haircut. I do model myself a lot after their approach," he said. He was able to pick up on the small details he hadn't learned from their Youtube videos, photos and seeing them speak at events.

Another takeaway from the trip was it opened his mind to similarities and differences between Crestview and another part of the world.

"Over there, it's very similar to how we approach life over here, and getting their point of view was a great experience," he said.

Paulsen became interested in the craft of barbering while a member of the U.S. Navy.

"While we were deployed, the guys would need to get their hair cleaned up a little bit, so I was the guy they would come to see. It was nothing fancy back then, but it piqued my interest in it," Paulsen said.

After the military, he used his G.I. Bill funding to go to barber school at Pensacola State College.

Paulsen said attending the Netherlands school has re-energized his love for his profession.

"I love the effect a good haircut has on every person who gives me the privilege to sit in my chair."

Hub City Barbers is located at 211 N. Main Street in Crestview. Appointments are available 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Call 398-6555 or visit their Facebook page to book an appointment.

Paulsen and his wife, Melissa, have three children, with one more on the way.