Why This Man Spent A Year Giving The Homeless Haircuts In NYC

UPDATE: A selection of Mark and Devin Masga's photographs of Bustos cutting hair will be on display through the month of December at Blick Art Materials for the first time. The 10 images will be exhibited at the store's Sixth Avenue location (650 Sixth Avenue, at 20th Street), where Devin has worked for the past two years. A larger retrospective of the duo's pictures is currently in the works for the winter.
This story was originally published on August 22, 2014.
Mark Bustos, a resident stylist at Three Square Studio in West Chelsea, has gotten a ton of attention recently for his yearlong project cutting hair for the homeless on the streets of NYC. A pro stylist who counts famous faces from NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and designer Phillip Lim among his friends and clients (Lim actually comes in to see Bustos every five days, for a trim), he's probably the most high-profile hairstylist to have ever taken on a project like this. Essentially, he's spent most weekends over the course of the past year giving haircuts to homeless men and women on the streets of NYC — as well as in Costa Rica, Jamaica, and the Philippines, where he still has family.
Thoughtful and soft-spoken, Bustos says, "I started cutting hair when I was 14-years-old, out of my mother and father's garage in New Jersey. I still go back every Tuesday to service all of my friends and all the people I've been cutting hair for, since day one, just to show them that I appreciate them and appreciate where I came from. It just brings me right back to my roots to appreciate that and to give back to people who wouldn't be able to afford it." And, with this project, he's been able to take that idea a step further.
Over the course of the past year, he and his photographer, Devin Magsa, documented a lot of the cuts he's done. Up ahead, we've got truly inspiring pics and some thoughts from Bustos, as well as the men and women in the stylist's chair.

More from Hair

R29 Original Series