Hair. How difficult can it really be?
Quite, it turns out. From using the wrong products to using too much of the right product to using product to create a style you shouldn’t be caught dead with, there’s plenty of scope for getting it wrong.
So we asked some of the UK’s top hair experts to scratch their heads and dish the dirt on their most-loathed hair mistakes, and how you can avoid them.
1. Using A 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner To Save Time, Money
“2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner products simply do not work,” says Daniel Davies, manager at Pall Mall Barbers. According to Davies, each strand of hair has lots of scales called cuticles and – in order to properly clean your hair – these cuticles need to be ‘opened up’ using shampoo to release any product or pollutant build-up. A conditioner’s job, on the other hand, is to moisturise and then ‘close’ hair cuticles.
“A single product cannot open and close the cuticle at the same time,” says Davies. “A 2-in-1 works by opening the hair cuticle and then coating the hair with silicone. This results in hair that’s squeaky clean but cuticles that aren’t closed, meaning the hair will pick up pollutants and get dirtier quicker.”
Instead, Davies suggests washing hair with shampoo at the beginning of your shower, rinsing thoroughly, and then applying conditioner that should be left to soak into the hair for the remainder of your shower before rinsing out at the end.
“This system deeply cleanses both the hair and scalp and allows time for a conditioner to penetrate the hair, leaving it healthy and moisturised.”
2. Skimping On Scalp Care
Washing your hair is all well and good, but you’re still putting a foot wrong if you don’t take proper care of your scalp: “It’s paramount that the scalp is also looked after to ensure the optimum health of the hair,” says Stelios Nicolaou, Aveda Master Barber.
“You need a product that will wash away styling product build-up, excess sebum and other impurities.” Nicolaou suggests bagging yourself a product that does so with the gentlest abrasion, such as Aveda Men Pure-formance Shampoo, which contains jojoba beads to softly scrub away any dross that’s accumulated in your hair.
Or, for a really deep and thorough cleanse, consider a more involved treatment: “Our Invati Scalp Detox Treatment unclogs follicles and refreshes the scalp using a wintergreen-derived salicylic acid,” says Nicolaou.
3. Choosing A Hairstyle That Doesn’t, And Will Never, Suit You
You might’ve spied it on an A-lister’s Insta, but that doesn’t mean it’ll get as many likes on you.
“Unfortunately, we’re not all blessed with the same medium-thick, wavy hair that models and superstars are,” says Adam Brady, Ruffians Barbers Trend Expert. “So we really need to be honest with ourselves when choosing our haircuts.”
Rather than plonking yourself down in the chair and pointing to a picture on your smartphone, Brady suggests a spot of talking therapy before your barber gets to work.“Have a proper chat with your barber; if they’re worth their salt they’ll help you figure out the best look for you, taking into account your face shape, hair type, overall style, lifestyle and personality.”
“Consultation is key,” echoes Nicolaou. “When you visit your barber, don’t be afraid to open up the conversation by talking about what your hair does naturally, any kinks or growth patterns that you do, or don’t, like.”
By sharing as much information as possible, you’ll better the chances of you and your barber getting on the same page to find a style that works for you.
4. Using Too Much Product
As deliciously coconutty as it might smell, there is such a thing as too much hair product.
“Having too much product in your hair is never a good look and a dead giveaway that you don’t know what you’re doing,” says Brady. “It’s like wearing too much cologne – are you covering up something bad?”
While a ‘more is more’ approach might be tempting, it’s in your best interest to steer conservative. “Always start with a small amount of product, adding more as needed,” says Jacqui Weaver, Creative Director at London’s Fish Salon. “After all, you can always add more but you can’t take any away.”
Weaver also recommends rubbing product through your hands – warming its molecules – and distributing it evenly throughout your hair before starting to shape your style. That way you’ll avoid fat blobs of the stuff that sit like mines, waiting to eventually obliterate your efforts once uncovered.
Also vital is targeting the roots of your hair first. By applying product (especially dryer, matte products) to the base of your hair first, you’ll avoid clumped hair ends and visible residue.
5. DIY Hair-Dying
Tired of grey hair’s ageing effect? Or maybe you just fancy a change? Whatever your reason for colouring your hair, there’s a correct way to do it. And that’s not at home, alone.
“Colouring is something that’s hard to achieve yourself,” says Joshua Gibson, men’s grooming expert at Sassoon. “Classic mistakes are canary yellow bleaches, hair dyed too dark or flat for any skin tone, or warm colour tones that pick up on grey and make it look luminescent. As a general rule of thumb, cooler hair colour tones and understated placement tend to suit men better than warmer colours.”
Step away from the applicator. “Always seek expert advice before colouring your hair for the first time or changing your hair colour,” says Gibson. “And always have an allergy test, too.”
6. Shaving Your Head Instead Of Your Sideburns
“This is a classic mistake of starting your face shave too high in your hairline,” says Gibson, who’s also witnessed first-hand the aftermath of men taking their razor as high as their temples.
“It’s very difficult to rectify the result without taking your whole haircut shorter,” he adds.
“Make a point of starting no higher than the top of the cheekbones, around your eye line. This is especially important for longer face shapes, as long sideburns will broaden the shape of the face.”
7. Pulling A ‘Donald Trump’
Receding hairlines are an unfortunate fact of life. More unfortunate though, is failing to deal with one correctly: “Many men grow the hair at the front of their head to hide their baldness but this actually has the opposite effect, making any bald patches even more obvious,” says celebrity hairstylist Jamie Stevens.
Embrace the next stage of your life, and the hairstyle to go with it. “Try taking the top shorter at the front, and ask your barber or stylist for their opinion on a way you could change your look to minimise the appearance of your baldness,” says Stevens.
Or cheat. Products like Stevens’ newly launched MR. Disguise Spray and MR. Hair Fibres can be used to fill in gaps, helping make your hair appear that bit thicker and fuller.