The Secret to Great Hair
The grooming tool you should be using
The point of a haircut is to trim and reset whatever's happening atop your head. Unfortunately, not every trip to the barber ends with refreshing results. Sometimes, you end up with a bad haircut and, instead of grinning at your barber and telling them through gritted teeth that everything "looks good," do something about it: only you can prevent this problem. To understand how to cope with this problem—both in and out of the barber chair—Valet. spoke with Jonathan Castellanos, co-owner of Gloss-O Barber Shop in Los Angeles, to figure out how to deal with a bad haircut.
The problem of a bad haircut falls on both you and your barber (but mostly on you). "Thorough communication is key for positive results," Castellanos says. "During the consultation, if you're not sure that your barber understands you, feel free to stop the service. Don't be afraid to speak up." Castellanos stresses being a gentleman (Don't be a dick about a problem!) and, if things are going completely wrong, ask to speak with the shop manager to work toward a positive solution.
If you leave the barbershop or salon satisfied with your haircut only to find that it ultimately was a bad look, all is not lost. "Styling products can help conceal a bad haircut," Castellanos notes, recommending that clay pomade or forming paste can "shake up uneven lengths into an effortlessly cool, roughed up look." Also, avoid water or wax based pomades as they will "lock down hair that was left a little too long." Another solution can be found by figuring out how to dry your hair better too. "Don't be too shy to ask your barber for a blow dry tutorial," Castellanos says. "Controlling the way your hair dries will smooth out your hair and provide a polished look."
"A master barber can identify a bad haircut and/or shape," Castellanos says before suggesting that you must tell them what happened and "point out aspects of the haircut that were not satisfactory" so they know what went wrong. Bring visual aids too: "As painful as it might be, take pictures of the bad haircut to share with your new barber. This will accurately highlight what went wrong and provide insight into how it can be improved." If you're wondering about shaving your head, put the clippers down and seek help. "Sometimes the best remedy is hitting the restart button," Castellanos says. "But in the same regard, shaving your head should be the last resort. Before taking matters into your own hands, ask a barber or stylist for professional advice."
The trauma of a bad haircut can put a wedge between you and your haircutter, inspiring a search for someone new. This is entirely understandable, in Castellanos' opinion. It's a daunting task, but can be solved via technology. "Yelp and Instagram are useful tools when searching for new barber shops and hairstyles," Castellanos says. "Search for pictures of hairstyles that spark your interest but make sure to manage your expectations." Another reason bad haircuts happen is because we're not entirely honest with whoever is doing our hair, specifically in how much time is dedicated to styling, how often hair is washed, and how hair is typically worn. Castellanos believes these are integral first meeting details: "Introduce yourself to your new barber with these concerns and establish a personal relationship that's tailored around bringing out the best in you. Once you have realized you are in good hands, sit back, relax and enjoy the grooming ritual."
You might not fear a bad haircut until it lands on your head but, when that time comes, know that you're in well trodden territory. "Bad haircuts do happen," Castellanos says. "Hairstyles are not subjective, within every hair texture and facial structure resides the perfect cut that will complement your face shape and overall style." Castellanos says you should always leave a barber shop feeling handsome and confident—and that a good haircut should "keep you feeling sharp" for up to three weeks.