Deputy Rick Grimes can’t lose any sleep over his recessed hairline; he’s got to spend his energy fighting flesh-hungry zombies.
Luckily, Grimes’ style embraces the recession and instead showcases a naturally disheveled texture. That waviness is essential, though: Guys with straight hair will have a harder time mimicking the effortlessness here.
We asked Tony Jimenez, Master Barber at Ludlow Barber Supply in NYC, for his tips on emulating actor Andrew Lincoln’s Walking Dead hairstyle, and how to thwart zombies without compromising one’s style. Here are Jimenez’s tips on doing both properly.
Before You Visit the Barber:
For this style, your hair should be 3.5-4 inches on top. Sides should be significantly grown out as well—roughly 1.5-2.5 inches.
What to Tell the Barber:
Keep the length up top; if it’s already long to begin with, you want to land somewhere between 3.5-4 inches. Tell the barber to leave the ends textured, but without any harsh scissor lines. The sides should be shorter, roughly 1 or 1.5 inches shorter than the length up top.
The back of the neck needs a soft natural taper, not a harsh line. “Otherwise, this could become mullet,” says Jimenez. “That light curl is coming from behind the ears, and not from the base of the neck.”
How to Style:
Good news for greasers: This style looks best when it’s unwashed and oily. However, only a little shine is needed to define those waves. (Grimes might not have modern luxuries but you still have a shower. Rinse your hair daily, and shampoo it at least once a week, followed by conditioner.)
After towel drying your hair, fill your palm with a thickening mousse. Mousse will give extra curl if your hair’s waviness is only subtle. It also gives your hair some crunch, which is helpful for long-lasting texture. If that turns you off (or if your hair is especially curly), try a quarter-size amount of styling cream for a lighter hold. Apply either product from the root to the tip, then scrunch the ends a little bit to reset the curls or waves. (Sometimes, while applying products, we tend to pull it through the hair and straighten it out. That’s obviously not the goal here.)
After, use a dime-size amount of strong-hold pomade and apply it to the sides for added control. You should do this with your fingers, but if you prefer to use a comb, then go in with your fingers afterwards to break up the look. “You want to make it look a little more natural, just like the rest of the style,” say Jimenez.
If you have thicker, more unruly hair, use a low-heat blow drier to set the product. Go from the back to the front, from the root to the tip. Do the same on the sides. If you have finer or thinner hair, blow dry without heat.
How to Kill Zombies without Compromising Your Style:
“This is one of the first things we learn as barbers,” says Jimenez. “Some of the best shops have been shut down because of hungry zombies. Then, those zombie barbers get jealous of your shop, so they come for you next. It is annoying.”
Keep your texturizing shears in the rear pocket of your dominant side. When a zombie approaches, this will give you optimal momentum when removing the shears, to direct them swiftly toward your reanimated foe. You need enough power to penetrate the brain; it’s the only way to terminate a zombie, after all. If your opponent is especially dodgy, throw a pint-size of Barbicide on his face to temporarily blind him, then aggressively texture his brains, starting from the sides and working your way to the top. Leave 3-4 inches of brains on top.
If you styled your hair as outlined above, it will retain its shape throughout this interaction.