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.
Reign in the curls.
"Volume" is more than a dial on your car radio. As your curly or wavy hair grows, so will its volume, which can easily turn your head into a ball of lint.
"Dealing with the roundness is a matter of keeping it shaped, which means the sides must be kept significantly shorter than what's on top, more so than for guys with straight hair," Vaughn says. Even if you want long curly hair, the sides need to be managed. Vaugh recommends focusing on that area when you go in for a trim and talking to the barber about what products you are going to be using to keep your mop from becoming dry and frizzy.
"Skip all the gels and pomades, and just rub in a small amount of hair cream" recommends Vaughn. "It has almost no hold but will weigh [hair] down to help manage the volume." [Malin + Goetz Sage Styling Cream, $20 for 4 oz; malinandgoetz.com]
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