Friday, August 26, 2005

Trade Your Barber for a Stylist

Men, this article is for you. Most women know that men are an excellent accessory, but in order to look your best, a good haircut is Step One. It doesn't matter what your outfit looks like, whether or not you tweeze your eyebrows (still hotly debated at Las F) or if you've been working out - if you have bad hair, you will always look like a fool. Bearing in mind that most men are not metrosexuals, we're here to help.

The first step to getting a good haircut is saying goodbye to your barber. I know, you've been going to him for years and he's always been very nice to you, but it's time to cut the umbilical cord. A friend of mine recently complained of a bad haircut from his barber. When I suggested a stylist to him, he replied, "I trust my barber - he's a family friend." Apparently there's a lot of love between a man and his barber. Of course, I can't fathom why you'd trust the bad haircut giver, but what I can promise you is you can find that trust in a stylist, too. There are a few major differences between the two that will mean the difference between a cut and a cut. The barber is most likely a self-employed entrepreneur who, although licensed, doesn't need to update his skills as trends dictate. How antiquated. Your stylist is not just a scissor-wielder; he will have undergone trainings throughout his career to make sure that he can not only keep himself sharp, but also know how to cut hair into the in-demand styles. Think about it - if you sit in the barber chair and ask for a fauxhawk, he will not know what your talking about and you will walk out unfulfilled. While I don't advocate the fauxhawk, I do advocate going to someone who can not only style your hair right, but also show you products you can use to keep it looking nice for months. In the end, it's the worth the money - you will look better more days out of the week.

Step Two on the road to bad-hair recovery is becoming familiar with putting something in your hair other than a comb. I can tell I'm losing some of you already. You're thinking, "It's a miracle I use shampoo regularly." You need to step out of the comfort zone you've so readily ensconced yourself in and dare to look good on a regular basis. I'm not suggesting a lot of product - most guys get away with one well-used product, and this is where your stylist comes in. Once you get the haircut you want, he can tell you how to maintain it, and take his suggestions! However, it might get pricey to ring up your products at the salon. Ask your stylist what kind of product it is (mousse, volumizer, gel, etc) and what it's meant to do. Then go to the drugstore and find the much cheaper equivalent - it often does the same job. Of course, a truly excellent stylist won't need to be asked what products he's using; he will tell you as he goes along to keep you well informed.

Now that you're familiar with the process, it's time to get a new haircut. The blank stare I'm sure you're reading this paragraph with means you have no idea what cut to get. Again, there is no better place to turn for this advice than - that's right - your stylist. A barber will just give you a crew cut and maybe trim your ear hair. Your stylist will suggest a cut that's not only cutting edge (groan at that terrible pun, will you?) but also suits your face and personal style. I bashed the fauxhawk before, but some men actually look good in one, such as David Beckham, at left. It depends on who you are, and what look you're trying to accomplish. It works for Becks because he's a footballer, for crying out loud, and Real Madrid's star athlete is certainly no shrinking violet. Failing that, look through magazines, or see what TV personalities are doing with their hair to get some ideas. The boldest of you might even try creating a brand new style, a one of a kind, like Jennifer Aniston's signature shag. You never know - you may start a brand new trend.