This Is Us is a tearjerker, almost entirely because Milo Ventimiglia’s hair just looks that damn good. (A roster of great actors helps, too.) We put Ventimiglia front and center on our November cover, a bit cleaned up by comparison to his small-screen persona—but no less rakish.
Wondering how you can replicate his long locks for yourself? We got some pointers from Justin Virgil Gramelspacher, master barber at Blind Barber in New York City. (You can find him at the East Village and Moxy Times Square locations.) Here’s what Gramelspacher taught us about Ventimiglia’s hair, and, as an added bonus, about his equally renowned mustache, too.
The Kind of Hair You Need
You need to have moderately curly, wavy, or straight hair if you want to replicate this style (though the result will vary from one guy to the next), Gramelspacher says.
“It’ll need to be cut and styled based on your individual texture and density,” he says.
If you’re receding at all, don’t shy away from the look, either: He says that Ventimiglia’s cut works well on both a full or receded hairline.
What Kind of Regimen Does it Require?
You need to get yourself in a barber’s chair every 6-8 weeks in order to properly texturize the hair and reduce any bulk, Gramelspacher says. That seems counterproductive, but if you don’t clean it up as it grows, then you’ll suffer through a year of growth (and awkward hairstyles) until you reach the promised land.
He advises shampooing three times a week—no more, no less—before bed if it gets too dried out after a wash. (“This allows some of your natural oils to return overnight and your hair will be easier to tame in the morning.“)
How to Do You Style It?
“Long hair has to move but you still want it to hold a shape,” Gramelspacher says.
That means you want to avoid sticky or greasy hair products with high hold.
“For a low-commitment approach, comb sea salt spray (Verb Products Sea Spray) or clean-hold gel (Kiehl’s Grooming Solutions Clean Hold Styling Gel) through towel dried hair to set the shape, and let it air dry. Once the hair has dried, run your hands through it repeatedly to break up the stiff bonds that form. Don’t worry, the product will still be there, doing its job invisibly. Follow up with styling cream (V76 Grooming Cream Ultralight Hold) to give weight, nourishment, and separation to the hair.”
If you have thin or thinning hair, you should consider using a blow dryer (after the gel or salt spray, but before the styling cream). Gramelspacher says this is an effective way to increase density and volume.
And if you have curly hair: “Work a generous amount of anti-frizz cream (Living Proof NourishingStyling Cream) through towel-dried hair, and blow dry to activate and relax the curl for a wavier look.”
How to Transition This Cleaned-up Look Into a Grittier Style (like Ventimiglia’s character on This Is Us)
This style is kind of the longest it can be before things look a little too gritty. That being said, you can still grow it longer, but it’s advised that you continue seeing your stylist every 2 months to texturize the hair and clean up the ends—even if you want to look a little less refined. (Again, the goal isn’t to feel awkward during growth.)
How to Replicate Milo’s Mustache
Mustache maintenance is pretty DIY.
“Use an electric trimmer with a number 1 or 2 guard and rake downward, with the grain, along the mustache,” Gramelspacher says. “Repeat until the bulk is even and smooth to the face. Remove the guard and use the bare blade to trim any stray hairs that extend from the bulk along the lip line.”
In this case, less is more.