New year, new ‘do? Perhaps for 2022, you need a fresh haircut to shake things up or maybe you remember the hairstyle you had before the pandemic and want to go back to that. Hair—and grooming in general—is something that men often downplay, but it should be just as important as picking out your clothes.
There are a lot of parallels between your personal style and grooming regimen. Like a pair of denim, you want something reliable and well-made that looks good and makes your feel like the best version of yourself. Anyone who’s ever endured a bad haircut knows the power something as simple as hair can have on your self-esteem. We caught up with barbering experts from across the country for some guidance to start the year off with a great head of hair. Here’s what they advise.
The barbers report that men seem to be going in one of two directions post pandemic: Short and tidy (celebrating the remerging of society) or longer and more relaxed (embracing the hair they grew out while at home). “Most of us are still experimenting with looks that were products of the pandemic—longer hair, different facial hair patterns, etc.” says Rob McMillen of Mildred in New York. “I also think people have felt more adventurous given we’ve all had a collective experience that was difficult to say the least.”
McMillen has also noticed a combination of traditional barber looks coupled with less defined cut names and terminology which has allowed folks to have a look that might not have a name or style, but is personal to them. Ryan Gonzalez of San Francisco’s Church Barber & Apothecary says one longer style that’s emerging has been dubbed the “curtain haircut.” He says it’s a great natural looking cut for those who’ve grown out their hair, because it’s parted down the middle and lets the hair droop to the sides naturally.
But there are plenty of shorter cuts too. “We’re seeing a lot of buzz cut fades, shedding the longer hair of 2020 now that shops are back open,” says Gonzalez. “Getting that fade that they couldn’t give themselves while shops were locked down.” Chuck Falk of Principle Barbershop in Shaker Heights Ohio has found the same thing. “I’m definitely seeing a little more length on my clients—not quite as short around the sides and back for the winter months. But there are some mad men who disregard 20-degree weather and are happy to get skin fades again.”
The Dos and Don’ts
“Be super clear about what you want and make sure your barber is on the same page as you before the cut begins—especially if it’s been a while or you’re trying a new barber,” says Gonzalez. “Most ‘bad haircuts’ are a result of poor communication.”
Say “do whatever you think is best,” only to then have them change the cut after the fact, says Falk. “If you’re a regular, your barber knows your hair, knows you, and what looks best.” Be direct with what you want and they’ll make you look your best.
Pay attention to the back. “Barbers usually ask if you want the back rounded, boxed, or tapered—always get a taper, which is essentially a gradual fade at the back of your hair,” says Gonzalez. “It grows in better and looks better.”
Be late. “Bottom line when you’re in the shop, be kind and do your best to be on time,” says McMillen.