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.
Embrace the bald spot.
Despite the claims of late-night infomercials, bald spots are extremely difficult to hide. Vaughn says that the best strategy is not to try. Instead, minimize the spot by asking your barber to blend into it rather than cut around it. This will tone down the severity of the border. From there, you can pretty much get whatever (short) haircut you want. Just keep in mind that no matter how great the front looks – a more military cut might suit – you'll need to think about not only how you're going to care for your hair, but also how you will be maintaining your scalp. A red bald spot is not good, so remember that SPF is as important as product.
But there is more to maintaining your scalp than lathering on the sunblock. You'll want to use products such as cremes and pomades that are free of petroleum, while avoiding gels that can clump up your hair and exacerbate the problem. And don't try to use some expensive cream to convince your hair that it wants to cover up that spot. It doesn't. It has made that clear. [Baxter of California Cream Pomade, $18 for 2oz; baxterofcalifornia.com]
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