First impressions are made in seconds. And more than your shirt label, breath freshness, or the size of your smile, the state of your hair speaks volumes about your sense of style. From haircut schedules and grooming aids to grey management and cuts that complement your face shape, there are a lot of ways you can take your hair game to the next level.
1. Don’t skimp on the shampoo. Cheaper labels can sometimes mean harsher formulas — which are bad for your hair and scalp.
2. Err on the side of too little. When portioning out your shampoo, picture a dime. That’s the amount you want to use. It sounds like nothing, but once emulsified, you’ll be surprised how far a small drop goes. Too much goop dates your look and weighs down strands, an especially bad choice if you have thinning hair.
3. Under-wash it. Cleaner is not always better. Too many wash-and-rinse cycles will dry out strands and cause them to lose their luster. Twice a week is plenty. Use a dry shampoo in-between if you must.
4. See your barber about once a month. Every head is different, but in general getting your hair trimmed on a four- to six-week schedule is necessary to maintain the shape and proportion of your style. Longer than that, and strands get scraggly and the look loses its sharpness.
5. Know your styling aids. Matte finish, high gloss, relaxed feel, firm hold. Which one works best for you? There is no right answer, but as a rule matte and relaxed is better for thinner hair while high shine, firm hold is a stronger look on thicker hair.
6. Dial in your shine. Save yourself a cluttered counter by using the same product to achieve different effects. Apply styling cream to dry hair to remove shine and add control. (Consider this your office look.) To up the suaveness for a night out, apply to damp hair to create more gloss and less structure.
7. To go sleek, get pomade. Pomade and wax are your friends if the look you want is Gatsby-esque smoothness. If textured is more your style (like you spent the day at the beach or just got back from shooting hoops), a clay or paste is your ally.
8. Take control of your grey hair. Whether you want subtle grey, full silver, or none at all, you need to make a choice. Watch and wait is fine, but do take care of patches with dye or a color-changing shampoo (we recommend Just For Men’s Control GX).
9. Pat it dry. Frenetic rubbing will get your hair dry a little faster, but you’ll pay the price in damaged, broken strands. Treat your hair the way you would your baby: Dry it gently.
10. Eat your meat. Your hair is primarily composed of a protein called keratin. Some research suggests that to improve your odds of thicker, stronger hair, you should eat foods rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, like fish and steak. Bottom line: A protein-rich diet won’t guarantee great hair, but you’re unlikely to have great hair without a protein-rich diet.
11. Go with the grain. Running the comb against your hair’s natural grain can add temporary volume, but it also can cause breakage and split ends. Identify your natural part (the spot where hairs going in different directions meet on top of your scalp) and comb following the angle the hair is naturally inclined to go to bring out shine and get strands to lie flat.
12. Use hair oil on longer looks. If your hair is two inches or longer, using a hair oil during your shower before you condition will help lock in moisture and keep the ends from splitting.
13. Thinner hair, shorter cut. A lot of guys with thinning hair try a longer look — as if what’s disappearing on top can be replaced by what’s grown on the bottom. This is a mistake. A longer cut on thinner hair accentuates all that you are missing. Stick with a short, tight style to delay the inevitable realization that you no longer have hair.
14. Consider a side part. Dividing your hair down the center has the unfortunate consequence of highlighting bald spots. If your hair is thinning, part it on the side with the most hair, and let the strands fall naturally.
15. Know your trends. Grey hair can age you, and so can your hairstyle. Some details, like bangs, mullets, and feathered sides spell 1987 no matter which way you slice it. (Ignore the resurgence of the Caesar — this is not a style your average dad can pull off without garnering quizzical stares.) Other looks, like the undercut ombré or high undercut, are on-trend right now. Whether they work for you is a question best left to your barber.
16. Work with what you’ve got. The outline of your hair should complement, rather than contrast, the shape of your face. For example, if your face is more narrow, go with a short crop and face stubble to add balance. Conversely, if you have a rounder head, keep some length on the top with tight sides.
17. Bring back your natural color. There is nothing wrong with owning your grey. But silver streaks can age you, and that’s not always a look you want. If you’re exploring color options, always choose one shade lighter than the one you’ve got. Lighter equals brighter, and brighter equals younger.
18. Clean up your face. You can undermine an awesome new haircut when you forget to maintain your facial hair. So make sure your clean shave is clean, your beard is neatly trimmed, or your five o’clock shadow is well-maintained (meaning you shave just a bit around cheeks and neck).
19. Use your fingers. Scooping paste or cream straight from a jar and onto your hair risks a chunky product texture and uneven application. The correct process? Dab your fingers in the jar, rub product together between your palms and fingertips, run fingers through hair.
20. Add volume. Baldness just might be mankind’s universally biggest fear. Or perhaps more specifically, the dreaded thinning out process that happens on your way to total cue-ball. You can’t stop the inevitable, but you can delay it by using a volumizing spray or sea salt spray, which naturally increases hair texture and the appearance of fullness.
At the end of the day, finding the perfect look for your hair is a simple move that will take minimal effort compared to how much it will improve your appearance — and confidence — in big, long-lasting ways.
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