Congratulations! You just got a great haircut. Everyone at the office told you so, and some of them even meant it. Now it’s your job to keep it looking good — which is where hairstyling comes in. We know, hair style sounds like a term reserved for the heads of old-school rockabillies or modern-day hipsters.
But styling doesn’t mean fussy; it’s simply an informed way to maintain the just-left-the-barber look. It can — and, in our opinion, should — be minimalist and require no more than a couple of minutes and one or two products. To that end, we’ve gathered simple advice, broken down by hair type, from expert groomers nationwide. Use it to get your best hair with the least effort.
Your hair requires a little more styling time and a couple of products, but the result will be worth it: fully tamed coils.
1. Get product savvy
Curlier hair is apt to become dry and listless, which means finding a great moisturizing shampoo is essential. You want one that has silicones and oils on its ingredients list, and the product should have a pearly sheen rather than be clear. If your hair still feels dry, try a hair oil, says Collin O’Callaghan, barber at Los Angeles salon The Cut By: “It doesn’t need to be an expensive product. It can be argan or coconut oil.” Massage a drop or two into hair before bed to let the oil work its way deep into follicles; wash it out in the morning.
2. Block out humidity
The secret to beating frizz: hair spray. “Hair spray creates a real barrier to humidity,” says celebrity hairstylist Kevin Mancuso. “It’s the best defense to insulate hair.” This doesn’t require an industrial-strength product (light versions work just as well) or a helmet-like application. A five-second allover spray is enough to create a solid barrier.
3. Pick the right style
The bad news: Most set-in-place styles (pompadour, greaser cut) don’t work for you. The good news is that a natural look does, and it’s easy to do. Celebrity hairstylist Anna Bernabe’s suggestion to get it: Mix a dollop each of styling cream and gel between your palms, and apply the mixture to curls by squeezing sections of hair in your hands. The technique holds your curls in place, and the mixture adds texture without creating a crunchy feel.
1. Streamline your styling routine
Yes, straight hair can do just about anything, but making it look good doesn’t mean you have to labor over a precious pompadour. Anna Bernabe — who, it’s worth noting, keeps Shawn Mendes’ and Steven Yeun’s straight hair camera ready — recommends this simple process for a polished look: Rub matte pomade directly on your fingertips. Run your hands through your hair. “With straight hair,” she says, “you just need enough product to give it direction.” Be sparing — a dime-size amount to start — and avoid letting the stuff get to your scalp, where it can gunk up pores and make hair look oily and heavy, says O’Callaghan. “Instead, shape the hair with the product from the middle of the hair shaft to the ends.”
2. Manage waves
If your hair’s more wavy than straight, modify your routine to keep waves intact and smooth. The simple way to do it, says O’Callaghan: When shampooing, spend 30 seconds or more massaging your scalp to work the hair’s natural oils into the hair shaft. When your hair dries, this light coating of oil will help lock your waves in place. Plus, it makes hair look healthier and helps set in any product you use for styling.
Win With Thin
Your mission: Employ a few easy styling tips to fake a thicker mane, and leave no strand behind.
1. Comb-overs: Vote no
If you really need an explanation why, look to POTUS. Growing hair long to make up for less of it just makes the strands you’ve got look thinner and more fragile. The best solution, according to Bernabe: “A classic short on the sides, two inches on the top.” This leaves enough to style, which can help add volume and make hair appear thicker, but not so much that you look crazy.
2. Don’t avoid washing
The idea that shampooing your hair often makes you thin faster is an old wives’ tale. When hair thins, your scalp produces more sebaceous oil, explains hair-care expert Michelle Blaisure. “That oil is bathing the scalp, and over time can clog hair follicles and lead to inflammation,” she says. That can create even more loss and slower regrowth. Blaisure recommends shampooing regularly and being extra-gentle when massaging in product. Be sure to condition, too, she adds, which “smooths the hair fiber,” making it more resilient.
3. Go light on product
What happens when you put a heavy product on thin hair? “If you’re a wee bit bald, suddenly you look 10 times more bald,” says O’Callaghan. Stick to a peasize amount of airy products — light creams or mousses — and style with your fingers. “Combing, brushing, blow-drying, using a towel: All of those rough up the texture and cuticle of the hair,” says Blaisure. “And that causes more damage and loss.”
If you spend more time worrying about losing your hair than styling what’s left, it’s time for a shearing.
1. First, get right with it
Shaving your head isn’t giving in — it’s taking back control. And perhaps even exuding an aura of power. A University of Pennsylvania study found that guys with shaved heads are perceived as more dominant than hirsute peers. That said, a new shaver is a nervous shaver. Have a professional barber do the first honors, then follow these tips from Russell Cordeiro, master barber at Brooklyn’s Persons of Interest.
2. Use a separate razor
Dome-specific razors, such as the HeadBlade Sport, have better grips, are easier to control than facial razors, and have flexible blades built to handle your head’s curvature. Still, shave slowly your first couple of times. “It’s going to be a learning curve,” says Cordeiro, who advises shaving daily in the shower. “Have a mirror in there, and really pay attention to the back.” Cordeiro recommends using a shaving cream, but in a pinch, he says, “a bit of soap lather is great. You just want something to lubricate the skin.” Nick yourself? Use a styptic pencil to help stop the bleeding.
3. Above all, sunscreen
“I’ve seen way too many newly bald men spend a day in the sun, and suddenly their head is peeling,” says Cordeiro. “That’s more unflattering than just thinning.”