The trick to getting a good haircut isn't just finding a talented barber. Even the most experienced follicular virtuoso will have a hard time making you happy if you don't know what you want. Here's what you want: a look that makes the most of your hair and compliments your face. According to Vaughn Acord, who counts President Bill Clinton, Richard Gere, and Tom Brady among his clients and coiffed Damian Lewis for the October 2013 issue of Men's Journal, the perfect trim is often more of an adjustment than a substantial change.
Vaughn puts it this way: "You don't need to make an entire meal out of just a sandwich." The metaphor may be slightly unpleasant in the context of hair, but the point is sound. There is no sense in blowing up a simple touch into a big ordeal. Vaughn prefers to start small and communicate as he goes with his clients, who are probably more used to looking at their own faces than most men. Vaughn stresses that this strategy involves teamwork and recommends that men not allow themselves to zone out in the chair.
"Don't be afraid of offending anyone or to ask questions, especially if it's your first time with this barber or stylist," he says. "They should have simple answers at the ready and if they get defensive, it's probably because they work on auto pilot and aren't sure."
Here's what Vaughn thinks you should be asking for – based on hair type, face shape, and style sense – the next time you head in for a cut. Plus, we suggest products to handle a passel of hairy issues.
Consider your face shape.
A great haircut isn't just about hair. Your face shape plays its role as well and the balance between what's on top of your head and what's on the front has to be perfect. The best way to achieve that equilibrium is by figuring out what you're working with and following these guidelines:
- Guys with longer faces will want to make sure they're not stretching things out with long sideburns, long beards, or hair that has a lot of volume up top.
- Guys with small heads or faces should consider sideburns or beards.
- Guys with square faces probably want to keep the sides short but can soften their appearance by adding a mustache.
- Guys with round faces might want to add volume and soften edges.
- Guys with narrow foreheads may want to cover them up a bit with their locks.
These simple suggestions don't guarantee a great cut, but anyone who follows them will avoid disaster.
Credit: Sonia Recchia / Getty Images