Jul 15, 2009
Soon, you’ll frequent these more than the bar.
For many men, the barbershop is sufficient. That’s perfectly fine—if you prefer your hair to be short and boring. But for those of you with medium length to long hair, not going to a salon is a crime.
It’s like watching standard definition programming on an HDTV: You’re severely under-utilizing what you have. A staggering amount of men are gifted with fantastic hair and what do they do with it? They get bowl cuts at the barbershop. And 99% of the time (100% for me), the haircut comes out terrible. If you have great hair and are able to do awesome things with it, why the hell don’t you?
After all, you do get what you pay for. Barbers aren’t trained to do anything but buzz your head off, give you blow-outs or give you a decent shave and for $5-$7, that’s all you can really expect.
There are a couple of reasons that men won’t go to salons, and most of them are social/psychological reasons. When it comes to salons, the two main reasons they avoid them is because:
- They think salons are for gay or effeminate males and it decreases their man points. They’re afraid of ruining their rugged and manly man appearances.
- It’s a waste of money
If you’re concerned about money, that’s understandable. After all, in New York, a haircut at a good salon will set you back by $65-$80 and perhaps more at other places. However, the cultural conception that only gay or girly men get their haircuts at salons really upsets me. Yes, there are a lot of gay and girly men that do go to salons but a lot of them go to barbershops as well, and vice versa.
When I first started going to salons, I was nervous as hell. I thought that people would be too upper class for me and that I wouldn’t have rapport with anybody in there. I reconsidered walking in several times. However, I kept remembering how shitty my haircuts have been and I wanted to do something about it. I finally did it, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. For the first time, I got a haircut exactly how I wanted and it was fucking awesome. You won’t believe how many compliments I got, from friends and strangers alike!
Now that you’re motivated to get off your ass, here are some important things to know.
Where to cut
A good way to beat the insane salon prices is to go to beauty schools such as Aveda for haircuts. The cuts are done by students of the school and are monitored by professional instructors. Some people don’t have a good experience with them, but I’ve found them to be excellent. The prices range from $20-$35 and while that’s a lot more than that you’re used to, it’s a real bargain. Look around your city for possible schools and call them up to see what they offer.
If you have the extra money to spend, then it’s even better. I recommend visiting the salon prior to your cut so you can familiarize yourself with the place.
Salons have tons of magazines for reference if you need some inspiration.
Beware, though, that going to salons won’t magically give you a wonderful cut. There are a couple of mistakes people usually make that results in an unsatisfactory haircut. You should:
- Talk to your stylist often. Re-read that. Let them know about the progress, what you think of it, what kind of haircut you want and also ask for their opinions and advice. They know their craft but they can’t help you if you won’t let them know what you like and what you don’t. They can’t read your mind. Many times I had wish that I spoke up but I didn’t and that resulted in a sub-par cut. If you think they’re cutting your hair too short, speak up. You don’t want the burden of waiting a couple of weeks for your hair to reach your desired length. Again, if there is ANYTHING that’s bothering you, let them know.
- Know what Texture is. Texturizing is when the layers of your hair are given that chunky, choppy look as opposed to it just lying flat. It looks fantastic, and I highly recommend getting your hair textured. Add some great pomade or other styling material to really give it that clumpy look.
- Bring a picture if you can’t accurately describe your cut of preference. They can usually replicate it the way it’s shown on the picture. It saves you a lot of trouble and gives you better peace of mind. If you don’t have any reference, there are always magazines in salons that you can use for suggestions.
The best $20 bucks you’ll spend.
The haircut is only the first step for having an awesome hairstyle. You need to learn how to style it! When you first get your haircut, your stylist will, well, style your hair. If you like what he’s doing, ask him what you need to do to maintain that look. Also:
- Don’t ever use gel. They flake for the most part and make your hair stiff as a rock. It looks glossy and really tacky. Opt for either pomade or other kinds of wax-like creams. I’ve found that styling my hair when it’s lightly damp to be most effective.
- Instead of mixing styling product all over your hand, just apply enough on your fingertips. I find that you have a lot more control that way. If you don’t have enough, you can always apply more, but if you put in too much, good luck fixing it.
- If you REALLY want to get advanced, you can combine hair products with a blow dryer to give it that runway flair. I don’t recommend it because it takes too much fucking time.
- Generally, I’ve noticed that your haircut looks the best 2 weeks after it’s cut. When you first cut it, it’s still got that fresh and choppy feeling. As time goes by, your hair starts to lengthen and gets smoother and the look really starts to pull itself together. Two weeks later, your hair will look absolutely fantastic. If I want to cut my hair for an event, I make sure I get it done a week and a half to two weeks earlier so I can time it right.
- Your mileage may vary, but for me, women have been better at cutting hair than men. I have long, silky “girly hair”, and women respond much better to it than men do. The best haircuts I’ve gotten have been from women as well. However, men are just as capable.
- Remember salon etiquette. Usually, prior to your haircut, someone will shampoo your hair and give you the greatest 5 minutes of your life doing so. You should tip them as well as your stylist. It helps you become familiar to them, and the next time you come back, they’re bound to remember you and give you even better service. Money talks.
- Resist the temptation to buy. Some places will “suggest” quite a few products for you, and it’s easy to be suckered into it. Salon products are overpriced and aren’t worth it. Only thing I would suggest is this motherfucker. It’ll last you for a really long time, and I think it’s an excellent investment. That’s all you’ll need, really.
Simply put, if you have short hair, don’t bother with salons. But if you have medium to long, look into salons. Fuck what you or other people think about your image. The kickass cut and sense of pride, not to mention looks from sexy women will make you feel better.