Men's haircuts are going through a sharp phase, typified by severe, sometimes shaved, partlines, slick quiffs and tight clipper work. The renaissance of classic men's styling over the past few years uses tailored barbershop techniques. These take on a modern fashion edge when length and texture add variety to the mix.
Vada owner and stylist Guy Roberts, whose take on a classic quiff (drawn from his L'Oreal Colour Trophy finalist's portfolio), is pictured above, says shaved areas emphasise strong directional styling. If venturing into colour, Roberts advises men to stick with a cooler palette, saying such shades are intrinsically masculine. He draws inspiration from raw materials such as iron ore, clay and hardwoods.
Men have a tendency to over-use product, he says, and should layer it rather than blobbing it on. Rub waxes and pomades between the fingers to soften before applying, then build up, little by little, as needed. Try new-style dry powders for lift.
Ahead, Roberts predicts more height in styles, with the return to favour of the pompadour and the emergence of more tousled styles. He says there has been a resurgence of tight barbering skills in men's hairdressing.
Roberts picks three styles to watch for, including the pompadour which gets a modern makeover in a couple of updated versions of this perennially popular look. Once you get your shape sorted, check out his tips on styling and product choices.
What's exciting you about men's hair right now?
1. CLASSIC POMP
The charm of the classic pompadour just hasn't ceased - seeing decades of reinvention. Favoured by the rockabilly crowd, hair is clipper short on the sides and back and very quickly blended into significant length on top. As there is such a large difference between the tight sides and longer top, much of the blend is achieved through styling and the excitement of using classic pomades and barber style waxes. (Think Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys)
Here are a couple of variations ...
Military Rockabilly: Extreme version buzzed to the skin with a trimmer blade- the tightest clipper option. The sides a faded high on the crest of the head and there is minimal blending between the sides and top, allowing for exaggerated length on top. Much of the blending for this haircut, is accomplished through styling (A metal vent brush is used to blow dry the hair to add height and it is finished with a strong pomade).
Undercut: A high undercut (think Macklemore), this style is essentially a bowl cut. The hair is buzzed all the way up to the round of the head from the nape tight to skin and then finishing evenly at the crest line. The hair on top, left several inches long, is styled up and back as a pompadour would be. The cut requires a pocket comb and working in some good strong pomade.
2. ROCK MOP
Men's spring/summer 2015 international collections kicked off in London with designers sending down an array of 70s to early 80s inspired boogie nights attire on the runway. The colourful florals, pastel suits and messy hair took us back to the boys who defined British pop.
Other references are later Britpop rockers such as The Verve's Richard Ashcroft with his long wavy mop or the classic Gallagher brothers grown out bowlish side-burned locks.
3. UPPER CRUST
A deconstructed prepster - this private college boy look is back, with soft edges and tousled texture, cut just enough to look a little grown out from its first day. Define the shape using light and natural products.
Product know-how: Roberts says men have a tendency to be too heavy handed with their styling product. Less is more, he says. Prepare product by rubbing it together between your fingers before applying, then add little by little. You can go back for more, but it's a lot harder to get it back out once it's caked to your head.
For a voluminous, textured look he recommends starting with a base of dry styling power on the roots and then finishing the look with a styling cream. (Roberts suggests trying Evo Haze followed by Goldwell Dual Senses Texture Cream).
For a slicker look try a classic pomade (He recommends L'Oreal Professional Homme Wax). Choose from light hold on fine hair to keep the height in quiffs, or strong pomade or wax for a tight combed slick style.
Pompadour production: After a shower, towel dry your hair. Next, using your brush and blow-dryer (high heat, low air flow), dry the hair on top by directing the front up and back. You may not need to use a blowdryer, but the heat will help give you more height and set the style up. Once the hair is dry, apply about a pea-sized amount of pomade to the palm of your hand and work your hands around a bit to warm it up and emulsify it.
Now, take your brush or comb and slick the hair straight back on the sides and back and towards the centre on top.
Part or no part? Both work, so make your decision. For a little fine-tuning, get as much height as you want in the front by combing and pushing the quiff forward. Finish with some hairspray.