I have some really exciting news that I’m thrilled to share today. Starting now, I’m going to be running a column on men’s styling on my blog as well. It’s been an idea I’ve been working on for a while and I’m so glad to finally be able to unveil it. Men make up a major segment of the styling industry –both behind the scenes and in the spotlight– and I thought it was about time we started showing a little love to our male readers and co-enthusiasts. Starting this month, we’ll be looking at all sorts of themes ranging from hairstyles and styling advice to hair care, beards, male grooming and what have you. So if you lads have been feeling left out, welcome to the fold!
Let’s kick things off with one of the basics of male grooming and styling: picking the right men’s hairstyle. So many of us go years experimenting with different cuts and colors and testing all sorts of advice without ever finding a look we can truly call our own. And with the admittedly intense focus on women’s styling, it can be difficult for male audiences to get advice that’s truly geared towards their particular concerns and aesthetics. If you’ve been struggling to find hairstyles that really suit you –physically and in terms of personality– it’s time to change all that.
Let’s begin with some great advice on how, as a man, you can choose hairstyles and haircuts that not only look great but also feel fantastic.
Tip #1 Choose Styles According To Your Face Shape
There’s a lot to be said for following hair trends, but you’ve got to be sure a particular look works for you before committing to it. Hair trends make for more permanent choices than fashion trends and you can’t just simply take a haircut off at the end of the day if you don't like it. One of the best ways to make sure a haircut/ hairstyle suits you is to pick one according to your face structure/ shape. It’s always a good idea to make a style statement that fits you, and not one you just pulled off a magazine. Here are some quick tips for choosing hairstyles according to your face shape:
· Oval: Classic cuts work best. Keep the sides short, with a little more length towards the top. Hair should ideally be styled back or up and to a side. For an edgier take, give undercuts and quiffs a try but keep away from styles that hang low over the forehead.
· Square: Pretty much the gold standard for men’s hairstyling. They say there’s no haircut or hairstyle that a man with a square face can’t rock. Classic, old school haircuts work beautifully on this shape, as do the more modern trends. From bangs to slicked-back ‘dos and buzz cuts to messy mops, it all works! I would recommend steering clear of the man bun- it can sit awkwardly atop a square-shaped face and makes for a difficult accent with more linear jawlines.
· Triangle/ Diamond: Side-swept hairstyles work best, as does anything with more volume up on the crown. Classic cuts accentuated by deep side parts are great if you’re going for some old-school elegance. The classic, more formal cuts also wear well with the hint of a forehead-skimming fringe, which can otherwise be tricky to pull off.
· Round: Can be a tricky shape to work with only because it tends to look a lot younger than the other facial structures. The trick is to balance out the roundness by creating angles: do this with haircuts that are very short on the sides but much longer on top. Style your hair up in spikes or graduated mohawks: the ‘V’ shape helps add the necessary amount of height, angles and grit to the round face.
If that’s not a look you like, pick something with a messier texture; the point is to offset the roundness and add stronger planes to your overall look.
While I’m a fan of buzz cuts, they don’t always work too well on round faces simply because they tend to exaggerate the roundness. On the other hand, if you’re opting for longer lengths, remember to part your hair on a side and not down the middle.
Tip #2 Matching Styles With Texture
Hair texture comes a close second in determining the kind of hairstyle you should opt for. Let’s take a quick look at different types of hair texture and what works best in them:
· Curly: Whether you want to sport long locks or a graduated undercut, the trick to making curly hair look good is to pick cuts/ styles that celebrate the disheveled vibe. Curly hair, by virtue of its natural tousled texture, always has a slightly messy, impish feel to it and so you should make the most of it with hairstyles that emulate the same mood. As a general rule, keep the bulk of the volume at the crown- unless of course you’re opting for a long hair look, in which case, you’ll have to go with the flow, so as to speak. With the shorter cuts you can also go for somewhat longer lengths at the front, letting hair fall over the forehead.
· Straight: There are so many different styles and cuts you can sport in straight hair: for funkier looks opt for spiked up hair or mohawks or undercuts. Classic cuts with deep side parts are always a safe bet in straight hair. Shorter, closer cuts like crew/ buzz cuts also look good in straight hair- especially when you let it grow out a bit. Pompadours also work best in straight hair. Thick straight hair can be a little difficult to work with, which is why it’s important to use a conditioner regularly.
· Wavy: Make the most of wavy texture with hairstyles that celebrate the hair’s natural body and movement. Man buns work great in wavy hair, albeit being a somewhat tricky look to pull off on the whole. Side-swept hairstyles are also recommended: the wavy texture will play up the windblown effect and add that rakish touch. Slicked-back styles can work beautifully, so long as you use the right styling products and arrange the style carefully.
Remember, choosing a style according to your natural texture will make the entire experience rather easy for you. You might want to take on a particular look you really like, promising yourself (and the stylist) you’ll find time to style and texturize your hair for it regularly, but let’s be real: are you really going to texturize your hair when you’re running late for something? The first day you’re short on time, you’ll find yourself falling back on your natural texture and your new haircut may not look all that good in the same.
Tip #3 Show, Don’t Tell Your Stylist
Now, this is a universal, unisex tip but I can’t stress it enough: always take a photograph along to show your stylist the sort of look you have in mind. Even if they can’t/ don't want to recreate the exact style on you, they will understand the kind of vibe and style you’re going for. While great communication is the key to a satisfying client-stylist relationship, you never know what might get lost in translation.
The reason I bring this up here is because I’ve noticed that while several of my female clients will bring pictures along, the male clients rarely ever do. It’s simply not a practice that’s caught on yet with the male audience but it is one that can make all the difference to your experience. Don’t leave your vision to the stylist’s imagination: show it to them straight and then ask for their feedback and opinions so you can recreate the vibe while also taking your unique features and the stylist’s expertise into consideration.
Tip #4 Don’t Forget The Neck And Ears
Most people understand hairstyling in terms of what’s most visible: the hair at the top/ front and how it balances out with one’s face. And in doing so, they forget that there are a lot of other little details that go into making the whole style. One of the most overlooked aspects of a haircut is the neckline and the sideburns. In other words, how the hair around the ears and the neck is cut and styled is instrumental to finishing the look off, and the slightest discrepancy between the ‘main’ style and these touches can throw your entire look off-kilter. With respect to the sideburns, tell your stylist exactly how long and thick you want them to be; also discuss how you want the hair behind/ around the ears to be styled. The neckline should always be gradually tapered off from the rest of the hair and there should be no abrupt shifts in shape, thickness or length while transitioning from the main body to the neckline.
Tip #5 Bald Can Be Beautiful
Balding and receding hairlines can be a source of great stress for many, but they don’t have to be. Thinning hair and a receding hairline don’t mean your days as a suave gentlemen are over: the trick is in finding a look that makes you comfortable and confident so those traits translate into your personality.
If you’re not one to shy away from strong style statements, opt for a buzz cut like Jason Statham’s. It’s a powerful, masculine look with tons of raw sex appeal. It’s a style suited for men who mean business, and it does imbue the wearer with a lot of confidence- it’s a well known fact that the shorter you go, the less you have to hide behind, which means your real self gets a chance to shine through.
If the buzz cut isn’t your thing, opt for a hairstyle that’s closely cropped on the sides but much longer up top. Tons of volume at the crown will create the illusion of more hair. The top is best arranged into a messy style.
I hope you enjoyed these tips- and found them useful. They’re essential to getting a haircut/ hairstyle right. We’re going to dive into more detailed discussions from hereon forth. Be sure to check back for the latest on men’s style and grooming.