Reader Questions: Experts Edition
A Guide to Guys' Grooming
Recently I met with Victoria Kalesis, Salon Director at Sassoon Salon (formerly Vidal Sassoon), to talk men’s grooming. I came prepared with a notepad full of your pressing hair questions that I wasn’t equipped to answer, as well as a few of my own. Check out what she had to say about 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioners, paste v. gel and the dreaded combover.
“What amounts for the difference in price between a barbershop and a hair salon? I know what I’m getting with a $10 Cost Cutters job (and I know it’s not good), but I’m less clear on how it scales up from there.”
At a salon, the first difference you’ll notice is the consultation you have with your stylist before even getting your hair washed. A stylist will talk with you about what you do for work, for exercise, how often you wash your hair, etc etc – and take these factors into account when helping you decide on a style.
After your salon visit, is when you’ll notice the second difference from a barbershop cut. As your hair grows out, it still maintains the shape of the original cut and that increases the longevity of the look.
“What do you think about 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner versus using them separate? I think a lot of guys don’t even use conditioner if they don’t do a 2-in-1…is that really so bad?”
Shampoos are supposed to cleanse – if there’s too much conditioner in the formula, it’s not going to do its job. It’s okay to skip conditioner if your hair is short. If you want, you can use it every once in awhile to add some moisture to your hair.
“So I’ve been thinking about this for a bit, and the best way I can phrase my question is that when I have longer/floppier hair, I’d like my part (which is necessary when it’s longer) to look more casual like Michael Bluth’s and not prissy like a 28-year old John Edwards’s. Thoughts on whether 1) this is a worthwhile goal and 2) how to accomplish it with only a reasonable amount of trouble?”
First of all, amazing examples. Second, you can achieve a non-prissy part by adding texture at the base of the part. A good stylist will be able to cut into the the hair to keep it styled without looking either floppy or too “done.” To style, use a matte paste. Don’t go glossy, or you’ll look like a ten-year-old on school picture day.
“I live in California and go to the beach a lot; how can I keep my hair healthy? I’ve heard not to use shampoo everyday so the natural oils and such actually help your hair. Fact or fiction?”
Your scalp has pores – hair follicles – that can get dirty and clogged, just like those on your face. And just like on your face, some natural oil is healthy, but too much makes you break out. So washing your hair is still important, as it removes those excess oils from your scalp.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to keep guys’ hair healthy since (most of) you don’t color it. Wash every other day, or three days a week. Salt water can be drying, so consider using a conditioner too.
“My hair naturally grows forward (like Ross from Friends), which means I fight with it all day to lay back on my head. What products can I use that will keep my hair back and not make me look like a grease ball? And if the answer is hair spray or mousse you can forget it.”
Use a paste. Put between a dime- and nickel-size in your hand and rub it around til it’s warm. Then use your fingers as a rake, with the product between your finger wells.
“Is there anything a guy can do about thin/balding hair??”
Yes, accept it! Shorter is best for thinning or balding hair, so start cutting it off. Balance lengths on the top and the sides, but accept it gracefully. Don’t try to hide a bald patch (like with a combover).
And last but not least, I asked:
“Can too much hair product be bad for hair over the long term? If so, what can a guy do to give his hair a good deep cleaning once in awhile?”
It sounds simple, but just wash your hair more often. If you feel like your hair needs a deeper clean, apply a little shampoo to dry hair to break up any product that’s in there, then add a little water and wash normally.
“When stylists cut my (long) hair, they always want to chop it into a bob. Is there a guy equivalent of a “big change” haircut that’s fun to give?”
This summer, the look is long on top, short on the sides. This look can be extreme, or cut more subtly depending on what you do, and how trendy you want to be.
“How much does face shape matter in the cut a guy gets? For women, we have to think about the size of our forehead when considering if we get bangs, etc.”
Yes, which is why you should consult with your stylist before you even get your hair washed. They’ll be able to tell you if the particular hairstyle you’re going after suits your face. It’s also important to talk about what your maintenance routine is, your job, if you work out – anything to give your stylist a better idea of what your hair goes through in a day, which will also help inform the haircut.