It’s true that short hair is lower maintenance than long hair, which is part of why men typically prefer it. Just wash and go. But that’s not entirely true. Just because your hair is short, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to look after it. Even more so if you have long hair. If you find it difficult to find hair care advice for men, you’ve come to the right place.
Step 1: Cutting your hair
First of all, I wouldn’t recommend cutting your own hair; too many things can go wrong just so you can save a couple of pounds and half an hour. You wouldn’t have the wife do it either, unless she’s a professional hair stylist. If you want your hair to look good, you need to see an actual stylist who knows what they’re doing.
But your job doesn’t stop once you sit in the chair; you need to know what to ask for when getting a haircut. Just "short" isn’t a hairstyle, or much of a description to go on. Try giving specific instructions on how you prefer your hair to be cut; for example, longer on top and shorter on the sides, with sideburns or not, etc.
Pro tip:Don’t go to the cheapest barber in town. In this case, you get what you pay for and you will be surprised to see that if your hair is cut properly, you don’t need a lot of actual styling.
Step 2: Washing your mane
Not even washing is as straightforward as you think it is. In fact, did you know that most people wash their hair in the wrong way? The first thing you need to do is pick out the right shampoo for your needs. Is your scalp dry or oily? Do you have dandruff? Is your hair colour-treated? All of this information is dependant on your choice.
Now, how often you wash your hair depends on what hair type you have and whether or not you use styling products. Normally, you should wash your hair every 2 to 3 days, more often if you have a very oily scalp, and less often if you’re scalp is dry.
Generally speaking, you want to leave it for a day or so, so the natural oils on your scalp have time to condition your hair properly.
Pro tip: If you use styling products every day, you’re probably going to need to wash your hair daily. Product build-up can make your hair unmanageable and affect your scalp.
Step 3: Using conditioner
Yes, conditioner is a must, even for men. It seems superfluous, but it’s part of taking proper care of your hair and making sure it’s as healthy as it can be. Just like it says on the tin, conditioner will condition your hair and help it retain moisture. The thing you need to remember about it is that you should target the ends of your hair, because applying it at the roots can be counterproductive and leave you with greasy hair.
Just like shampoo, conditioner comes in several different types, depending on the needs of your hair. Of course, for short hair, the need for it is less imperative, because you’re cutting off the ends of your hair regularly and they don’t have time to become damaged. But you should still apply an appropriate conditioner (for fine hair, for damaged hair, for hair that lacks shine, etc.) at least a few times a week.
Pro tip: If you feel like your hair is too greasy after conditioner, try switching the steps around and use conditioner first, and shampoo, second. This will still moisturize your hair, but the shampoo will wash off the excess.
Step 4: Drying your hair
Most men I know will dry their hair using a towel and nothing else, but that’s far from being the best way to do it. First of all, that allows your hair to air dry in whatever shape and texture it wants, which creates a lot more work for you later, when you’re trying to style it. Why fight its texture, when you can blow dry it into submission?
Use a blow drier and a comb to tame your hair and get it the way you want it. Say you wear it swept back; this is the time to dry it like that, instead of trying to force it to lay that way with gel. For short hair, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes, and remember not to keep the drier very close to the scalp.
Pro tip:Using excessive heat on your hair is a haircare no-no, so try to limit your exposure to it. Keep the blow drier about 20 cm away, don’t use it on the highest heat setting, and don’t use it for very long, unless you want to dry out or fry your hair.
Step 5: Finishing your style
Now comes the fun part: styling! As I mentioned, you should have been laying the groundwork while you were drying your hair, so you shouldn’t work very hard to get your hair to look the way you want it. Styling is more about adding finishing touches and making sure your style is going to remain the same for the entire day. Remember that once your style is set, you should avoid touching it, lest it loses its shape and you end up with floppy, messy hair by the end of the day.
Depending on the look you’re trying to achieve and the type of hair you have, there are several products you can use, at different price points:
- Hair gel
- Hair pomade
- Hair mousse
- Hair wax
- Hair oil
Pro tip: Use less than you think you need. Just add a little bit (say, the size of a pea) in the palm of your hand and work that in. You can always add more, if you want it, but an overload of hair product is difficult to deal with first thing in the morning.