The worst thing about this column is how intensely aware I become of my own grooming shortcomings as I pen each week’s installment. Hair is a particularly sensitive subject for me. So, yeah, THANKS Highsnobiety. You see, mine is retreating. I’m far from balding; I feel like I should point that out. But, as a man in his late '20s, the ever increasing gap between eyebrows and hairline is a constant reminder that time moves inexorably on and once you leave college you’re basically dead.
Of course, that’s not true. Not really. There’s plenty to look forward to. Besides, I’ll just rage against the dying of the light by bleaching my hair in my forties and looking like someone’s dad at an Eminem concert. For the rest of you sprightly bastards, 2016 is a pretty exciting year for haircuts (well, if you get excited about that kind of thing). We’ve seen some classics reinvented at the shows - from London to Paris to New York - that point to particular trends to come. This week’s column is about doing them on your own head because you’re trendy like that.
Before we begin, though, there’s a golden rule to get out the way. Google "Zayn Malik pink hair." Never that.
Cool? Cool. Now for our roundup of the year’s best short styles and how to treat ‘em right.
The Caesar cut has worked for decades (well, technically millennia but we’re talking in recent fashion terms here) and looks good on pretty much anyone, with whatever hair type/face shape combo your genetic roll of the dice turned up. A severe fade makes this look more modern. Ask your barber to either fade it into your beard, keeping them both at the same length, around grade 1-2 at the most-severe point, or to bald fade if you’re beardless. Despite it being one of the most on-trend cuts right now, you can’t get more classic than Caesar. Geddit? Caesar. Classic. OH WHY DO I FUCKING BOTHER?
Style it: A clay pomade like that by Baxter of California will give you texture and shine to the shortest of cuts and allow for directional changes, should you want any .
If you hate it: Apologize to your barber, say some persuasive guy from Highsnobiety told you to do it, and then request that he take the top down to a buzz cut.
You read this column, so you’re officially cool (badge in the post). By that logic I also assume you’re not given to solipsistic exercises in vanity like neatly parting and/or combing your hair, which’ll only leave you looking like a politician anyway. So it should please you like it did me to learn that textured, natural shapes are all the rage right now. Ask your barber to cut into the natural shape of your hair, allowing for a bit of length at the top for any natural wave or curls. How long or short is up to you.
Style it: Pace a medium blob of Sachajuan Hair Paste between your hands. Now simply mess-up slightly damp hair in the direction of your natural growth like the devil-may-care maverick renegade you are.
If you hate it: You literally can’t go wrong with this one. If it doesn’t work, there’s something wrong with your face and you should go get yourself put to sleep at the vet’s or something.
Where dudes have forever been clipping away tight curls, now the natural wave is much vaunted. If nothing else, it’s way easier to leave it grow the way it wants to. Partitioning the top from the sides and back creates a sharp, high-contrast look – if you’ve been following any of the street style from the shows this year, you’ll have seen this style making an appearance more than once. You’ll need to grow your hair for a while, allowing for the right height on top. When it hits around four inches, slap your barber and demand a bald fade on the sides and back, without delay. You’re ready.
Style it: You might find you like the natural shape of things, in which case just keep it clean. If it needs some direction, Kiehl’s Creative Cream will give you some hold without making your hair greasy.
If you hate it: The sides and back of your hair are pretty short (read: bald) now, so either ask for a high and tight, try a Caesar as shown above or go full skinhead.
Much like the short-and-textured style, this cut celebrates the natural waves and curls of your hair. You’ll need a mop with a decent bit of thickness for this to work, as thin hair tends to just flop over. It’s worth the growing pains, though – this cut can add a squareness to the face, making you look like a real man, despite the fact you drop $2000 a year on shoes. Tell your barber you want a big quiff with medium length throughout. Ask for it textured, not tailored, which would be much sharper, and that he or she square it off near the temples, neatening around the ears and neckline.
Style it: You want a bit of shine with a product that yields a little movement, allowing for the natural wave of your hair to remain. To that end, drop a bit of extra cash and try Patricks S2 Shine Finish Medium Hold Pomade.
If you hate it: You still have plenty of hair to play with. Sharpening the sides with an undercut will add height to the face. Or you could wait until next week’s column, in which we’ll cover longer styles.
Until then, go away.
Hit me with your grooming questions below so I don’t have to come up with column ideas for myself and can just answer them next week. – Alex Harris
Knock, knock. Who is it? Groom service.