Given that hair is technically dead, it’s surprising how much TLC it requires to look its best. And it’s not just your hair that needs care and attention – your scalp does too.
So how can you deal with hair-raising problems like greasiness, breakage and product build-up? What’s the best way to tackle a thinning thatch? And how do you find a decent barber?
We’ve gathered sixteen experts in the field – from award-winning hairdressers to grooming savants – in order to provide the answers to all these questions and more…
1. Switch To Matte Products If You’re Thinning
“For many men, hair thins out as they hit their thirties and forties,” says renowned grooming expert and barber Jason Shankey.
“To make it look thicker and more manageable, use a matte styling paste or clay. Matte products absorb light and instantly make hair appear a little thicker.”
2. Give Yourself An Egg Wash
“The best tip I’ve had when it comes to looking after my hair came from an old aunt of mine,” says international model, actor and TV presenter Paul Sculfor.
“You may laugh but it’s to wash your hair in eggs once a month for the protein.”
3. Pick Your Moment For A Haircut
If you want the undivided attention of your stylist, timing is everything. “Most salons are quieter at the beginning and end of the day so it’s worth asking for the very first or last appointment,” says British Hairdressing Award Winner Anita Cox.
Go for the former and your stylist is likely to be at their freshest and most enthusiastic too.
4. Apply Shampoo To Dry Hair To Remove Wax
Fan of hair wax but struggle to get it out of your hair? Here’s a great tip from Head & Shoulders Style Director Michael Douglas: “The best way to deal with wax is to apply shampoo directly to dry hair and rinse, then follow this with another application of shampoo.”
“You’ll find that this method helps to breakdown the product and leave hair clean.”
5. Pat Dry, Don’t Rub
We men tend to think that the harder we rub our hair after washing the quicker it’ll dry. In reality, an over-zealous towel drying technique will just cause breakage – especially bad news if your hair already isn’t quite as thick as it used to be.
“Hair tends to be weaker when wet (and hence more prone to damage) so don’t rub too hard,” warns celebrity hairdresser Ben Skervin. “Instead, pat dry to avoid putting any extra stress on it.”
6. Chill Out!
In the same way that your teeth are only as good as your gums, hair is only as good as your scalp – so Linda Frawley, Senior Master at Charles Worthington suggests looking after it.
“Regular stress can tighten the scalp and cause hair thinning. To de-stress and to boost circulation to the scalp – ensuring healthy hair growth – think about regular, stimulating head massages.”
7. Avoid Over-Washing
According to barber and men’s grooming expert Carmelo Guastella, a common mistake men with dry and coarse hair make is over-washing it.
“If that’s your hair type limit washing to once or twice a week and always apply a conditioner,” he advises. “Washing it every day will just make it even drier. If you reduce washing and use a conditioner the result will be smoother, healthier looking hair.”
8. Protect Hair When In The Pool
As any regular swimmer knows, chlorine can play havoc with hair. “Chlorine chemically bonds with the proteins in the hair and causes the cuticle – the hair’s protective outer layer – to lift, which makes hair dry, brittle and dull,” says legendary hairdresser Trevor Sorbie.
To minimise its effects he recommends wetting hair thoroughly with clean water before swimming as this dilutes the adverse effect of chlorine. Or try applying a little conditioner to it before your swim.
9. Forget The Comb-Over
“If you’re losing your hair a short, cropped style is the best option,” advises Celebrity Stylist Oliver Woods, who’s tended the tresses of everyone from Robbie Williams to Jude Law.
“Keeping it shorter at the sides and longer on top is a good idea too as it draws attention away from the thinning areas.”
10. Keep It Cool
It might be tempting to put the wind up your hair with a hair dryer set on maximum heat but according to Asgar Saboo, Style Director at the Daniel Galvin salon in London’s Mayfair, wherever possible you should allow hair to dry naturally or, at the very least, change the setting on your hair dryer.
“If you’re using a hair dryer, don’t over dry your hair as it will leave it frizzy and damaged,” he warns. “Instead, try to set your hair dryer on the ‘cool’ mode. It might be a bit more time-consuming but it’ll help keep hair in good condition.”
11. Look To The Kitchen Cupboard For Shiny Hair
“Many of the store bought and professional shampoos, conditioners and styling products not only build up on the hair but on the scalp too,” says hairdresser Denis Robinson, who has a novel suggestion for dealing with product build up.
“Once a month wash hair with a small amount of washing up liquid,” he says. “Do this twice and let the second one sit for a minute or two. Then, after rinsing thoroughly douse the hair with household vinegar, to restore Ph balance, and rinse again. This will make the hair super shiny and freshens up the scalp, leaving it clean and healthy.”
12. Don’t Fiddle With Greasy Hair
If you have greasy hair it’s always a good idea to avoid using hot water. However, according to Nicholas Clayton, author of A Butler’s Guide to Gentlemen’s Grooming, how you handle your hair is important too.
“Don’t scrub and rub like mad; it only serves to further activate oil producing sebaceous glands that are already over active,” he says.
13. Remember, Less Is Often More
“One of the biggest mistakes men make when it comes to hair styling is using too much product,” says barber Lachlan Watson, from the Covent Garden branch of Murdock in London.
“A little can go a long way and if you use products sparingly you’ll find yourself sporting a more natural look while avoiding a heavy and greasy appearance.”
14. Skip The Cold Showers
“Cold rinses actually constrict the blood capillaries in the scalp,” says renowned trichologist Philip Kingsley, author of The Hair Bible.
“These tiny blood vessels carry nutrients and pick up waste products from the skin’s surface and need to be active for optimum effect; suddenly constricting them with cold water does your hair no good at all!”
15. Check Your Barber’s Windows
“If you can’t see the guys inside a barbers getting their hair cut, keep walking – they may have something to hide behind those nets and grime,” says Robert Johnston, Director of The Gentleman’s Shop in Hungerford, Wiltshire, who’s been in the business for nearly thirty years.
“Good places advertise what’s going on inside!”
16. Spray To Play
“If you want to ramp up the clay/wax/putty product that you normally use, simply pinch a squirt or two of a traditional dry hairspray into the palm of your hands, rub and tease into the finished texture,” says Gavin Cornwell of The King’s Canary hair salon in London’s Fitzrovia.
“This just adds a little more hold and texture to your usual style.”