23 April 2024

Superior Men’s Grooming: Males Go Alpha!

Back to school to learn the ABCs of male dominance for this season’s looks: Attitude, Balance and Cut. So man up!

According to Paul Wilson, Artistic Director for American Crew, “2015 will be the year of imperfect, but classic concepts. Longer looser and disconnected interior shapes are built upon vintage-feeling perimeters.” Wilson’s iconic styling depends upon specific tools to help create the looks. His suggestion: think old school/new school. All you need: classic styling techniques, the ability to work with multiple products, and a blow dryer. Products from the original American Crew assortment are better than ever today, to create a wearable, contemporary look that isn’t trying too hard: American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel, Pomade and Grooming Cream, Medium Hold Spray Gel, Boost Powder and Grooming Spray.

Steven McLaughlin and Dana Hodges, both Educators for Eufora Hero for Men say: “We like a look that very well-groomed and very well-dressed, but careful to not be too groomed or too dressed up. He’s slightly askew. His top collar is unbuttoned with no tie, and he’s left a little stubble on this face, appropriate for the office and for drinks after.”
John “Jes Rusty Blades” Sutton, barber and stylist at Barbetorium in Rochester, NY says the most contemporary men’s look requires “more texture and natural movement, using more pastes and creams instead of pomade. Guys need to master the use of the brush and blow-dryer, just as they may be using comb, pomade and blow-dryer now. The key now is to have the hair fall in its natural direction.” But perhaps your television viewing-habits run more toward “Duck Dynasty” than “Mad Men.” Never fear. McLaughlin and Hodges add that facial hair is becoming more accepted in the professional world, and “barbering is making a huge come-back”.

Whitney VerMeer, HAUS Salon Men’s Specialist in Minneapolis, MN, says “the trick is to find the happy medium between messy and slick. A little scruff never hurt anyone,” adding that “…the Man-Bun is hot right now, thanks to the incredibly handsome Jared Leto.” Her caveat: “If the hair is stick-straight or thin – sorry, guys, this look isn’t for you.” Her pick: Baxter of California Cream Pomade worked into wet hair, allowed to air-dry, then pulled into a knot.
Jet Rhys, cult hair inspiration and President and Founder of Jet Rhys Salons in San Diego and Solana Beach, CA, encourages men to experiment with product, advising to start out small, with no more than a dime-size dab. As always, dudes, discretion is the better part of valor.

She says, “If you’re going out on the town, this is where you can have fun with product. Cocktail a thickening spray and a hair gel with a wax.” Her picks: Full Form Mousse and Thickening Spray by Bumble&bumble. Jet also encourages men to consider having a stylist add color: “Whether you are camouflaging grey, or adding lightened color sparks, or color flashes to enhance the haircut, these are options for the mod man.”

Men are notorious for their ability to compartmentalize, everything in its neat little box. But when considering a Winter style statement, take in the full picture, including eyebrows. Elena Buda, eyebrow artist and esthetician at Riccardo Maggiore Salon in NYC, says “grooming the eyebrows is as necessary and refreshing as a haircut. It’s not about arching or excessively shaping. But removing the stray hairs just above the lid gives a refined overall look.”

Paul Wilson, Artistic Director for American Crew, lending his expertise to Art + Science Salons, a member of Cosmetologists Chicago offers: “Nothing fussy,” says Paul, “for male clients going into Spring 2015.” Wilson’s concepts combine classic barbershop styling at the nape, juxtaposed with a loose, modern, textural interior. Try a firm-hold men’s gel as a strong base when styling. Use your hands to blow-dry, then add a clay product for either a loose or more groomed style.

Rachel Lynn Carr, Sebastian Professional educator and stylist at Jose Luis Salon in Austin, TX, says, “a lot of guys are over the skin-fade and want hair that still looks good two weeks into a haircut. They want softer lines around the hairline and more texture cut throughout. Some of my favorite details for men’s cuts now are invisible hairlines, a very soft fade from nothing in the bottom centimeter of the back hairline. They are embracing their natural texture, but also looking for different ways to wear it for different occasions.” Carr suggests higher shine product for a big night out, and going matte for just hitting a dive bar with texturizing products like mousses and putties. Her pick: Sebastian’s Texture Maker for soft hair that needs to add some grip and texture.

Todd Kane, Matrix Artistic Educator and Master Colorist, takes inspiration from the classic barbershop fade, with a fearless twist to the rad side. If you’re daring and have the bone-structure –as well as a willingness to commit to upkeep– maybe it is time to just whack off that Man-Bun and go for closely clipped sides and a cut that embraces extreme variations of texture, shape and design. It takes heat and volumizing. One tip from Kane, who may be found at Ramon Bacaui Hair & Med Spa, in Scottsdale, AZ: apply molding paste such as Matrix Design Pulse Messy Contour to hands –not hair– and work through fingers thoroughly to break it down into an emulsion. Begin by applying it at mid-strand, not at the scalp, working through to the ends to achieve the desired texture and shape.

Stylist Mio Soto, Trio Salon, Chicago, IL, gives us this history lesson on natural men’s looks (for context: think puffy, poufy “Amadeus”): “The Bedford Crop was a style of hair favored by the Duke of Bedford after he decided to abandon his costly wigs and hair-powder to protest against the rising hair-powder tax. He challenged his friends to do the same and his natural-looking crop that only required a dab of hair-wax quickly became fashionable.”

P-s-s-s-s-t. In Hollywood and everywhere, hairdressers, stylists and makeup artists have to keep a lot of secrets. Nudge-nudge, wink-wink. ESTETICA recently caught up with XFusion Founder Mark Kress, who admitted that plenty of A-listers, dudes, ladies and everybody in-between, rely on one of XFusion Keratin Hair Fibers nine shades on the reg to bulk up, since scalp show-through is the new VPL.

But what if God-given, manly hirsutism just isn’t a problem for you? Testosterone-fired coiffure kingpin Andrew Carruthers, Education Director for Sam Villa, says the future belongs to “a bit more tailored beard or mustache. It will still call upon the traditions of Paul Bunyan and villains from 1920s silent films, but will be trimmed to suit the features of the man wearing it.” He says the biggest tip on facial hair: “Knowing when to say when! Some guys just can’t rock a beard. If that’s the case, let it go and embrace the art of a flawless straight-razor shave.”

By Victoria Thomas



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