Up until the metrosexual movements of the early 2000’s, men’s hair care was a strange and unfamiliar world to most guys, with cheap goo’s and gel’s basically dominating the medicine cabinets of bathrooms everywhere. But time heals all, and just as your hair will keep growing (hopefully), the amount of information, and the products available for a guy have increased ten-fold. So without further adieu; long or short, spiky or smooth, thick or thin, abundant or bald, this is your complete guide to mens hair care.
The Cut: Some people might disagree with this first point, and that’s a shame, because like it or not, it’s essential: get a man to cut your hair. The reason for this is that he’s got a level of knowledge about the nature of a guy’s follicles that means he’s not only going to understand what your hair is like, but also probably what you’d like him to do with it more clearly than his female counterpart.
Make sure you know what you want before you go in, and don’t be afraid to make this as clear as possible to the individual cutting your hair. Also, NEVER try out a hairdresser for the first time when you plan on changing your look drastically. Build a relationship; test a new guy out with a simple trim. Baby steps.
Clean: There are a lot of arguments on the subject of shampooing, since most people agree that doing so every time you shower everyday, strips your hair of the natural oils that keep it soft, healthy, and shiny. As a general rule then, you can get away with washing your hair with shampoo every other time. This will keep it clean without putting too much stress on it. But always make sure when you shower to rinse your hair out with warm water even if you’re not shampooing.
If you use any kind of product to style your hair, like gels, mousses, or pomades, then make sure to shampoo your hair when it’s dry and then rinse it out while showering at least once a week. Product will build up over time, and once your hair is wet, your shampoo isn’t going to get it out of there.
Comb: Most guys just run their hands through their hair, and those with short cuts tend to do this only when putting product in, but combing your hair, even if it’s short, helps to stimulate the scalp and separate tangles ends or roots. A comb can be bought for next-to-nothing, and the whole process takes a few seconds, so there’s really no excuse for opting out.
Styling: This is too expansive a subject to really get into with too much detail, given the myriad of products and hairstyles out there, so here are the basics:
- no matter what product your using, always start with a SMALL amount and work it thoroughly through your hair before adding more. For pastes, molds, or gels, a dime-sized portion will probably do for most hairstyles, and always start at the back and work the product to the front.
- These products can vary in price by substantial amounts, but a good rule of thumb is to buy the best you can afford, since it will not only provide hold, but also likely include natural ingredients that nourish your hair too.
- Go to a salon and ask for samples, and if you like what a stylist puts in your hair when you get yours cut, ask them about it, since they almost always sell it.
- If you buy from a salon, you can probably return the product if you don’t like it, since they’ll just use it on future customers.
- Try out a few different stylists/barbers, and always do so by getting a trim. Don’t make a major change in hairstyle with someone untested behind the clippers
- Ask a friend with hair you like where they go, there’s no shame in it.
- Experiment with showering every other day, depending on the natural oiliness of your hair, washing each day may do more harm than good.
- Use product sparingly, start with a nickel’s worth, and always work it into your hair from back to front.
- Remember, hair grows back, so don’t stress!
Erik R. Adler
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