With the approach of warmer weather, it’s common for men to lighten up with shorter hair styles and trimmed beards. However, big beards and longer hair are actually dominating the haircare scene.
“Men’s hair is trending towards longer, more free-flowing hair,” says Dana Caschetta Hodges, a men’s hair specialist. “It’s not quite as polished as the past, and has a more relaxed look to it.”
While the styles may look carefree, maintaining healthy hair and an impressive beard does require some effort.
Shampooing: Less Is More
It’s a good time to be a Mr. Natural kind of guy.
“There is a movement towards exploring with textures and styles, so more men are growing out their straight, wavy, curly and coily hair to play with more versatile looks,” says Love White, founder of haircare brand Love & Snow.
Think you need to wash your hair every day? Think again, says Erin Burton of Sport Clips Haircuts. “Washing too much removes the natural oils from the hair and scalp,” she says.
White agrees, noting that you can get by with washing your hair just one or two times a week so long as you’re taking good care of your hair and scalp in between washes.
To achieve the natural look, however, guys need to do more than just wash-and-go—they need to nourish, hydrate and condition their hair. Conditioner (which is oftentimes skipped over by men) helps hair maintain strength and the ability to absorb moisture, White explains, adding, “Look for serums and oils that are absorbent and that provide vitamins, minerals and nutrients that feed hair.”
Quality conditioners can help protect your hair from losing too much natural oil, notes Adina Mahalli of Maple Holistics. “Everyone requires different amounts of shampoo and conditioner,” she says. It’s best to consult with your stylist to make sure you’re using the right amount.
If you want to play with styling textured hair, find a stylist who specializes in this area and who can help you explore all the possibilities that will work with your hair, White says. And if you go the styling route, start with less product than you think you’d need.
“You can always add more, but it is tough to get the style you desire once you have put too much product in,” Burton cautions.
When shopping for shampoos and conditioners, scan for products that aren’t just free of well-known baddies silicon, parabens or phthalates. White suggests also avoiding alcohols and other synthetic ingredients, saying, “Alcohols will dry out hair, contribute to frizz and can inflame the scalp.”
Summer Hair Protection
Sun, chlorine and salty ocean water can all wreak havoc on your locks. So, it’s good to have a warm-weather plan in place to keep your hair healthy.
To avoid damage from chlorine and salt water this summer, apply coconut or olive oil to your hair or beard before hopping in the pool or taking a swim in the ocean. “Your hairs are like sponges, and like sponges they can only soak up so much. So getting them full of olive or coconut oil will prevent them from soaking up too much chlorine,” explains Thompson.
Protect your scalp with a hat. Also, apply a spray sunscreen to your scalp, especially if you have thinning hair, to keep it from burning and then flaking, Thompson says.
Big beards are in, says White, but with more shaping and grooming around the sideburns and cheeks.
Pro tip: Don’t trim your beard when it’s wet. “Your beard will look longer than it actually is while it is wet,” says Burton. “Once it dries and settles, it is safe to go ahead and trim.”
Men should regularly use a beard brush on their beards, says master barber Rob Thompson, owner at Andy’s Barber Shop in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. He recommends getting a brush with soft bristles so you don’t irritate the skin under your beard and adds, “The more bristles, the better because the brush will comb better.”
To maintain a clean, germ-free beard, keep your hands off (as tempting as it is to stroke it) and make sure you’re disinfecting your grooming tools, says Thompson. He adds that conditioning is key to keeping your beard healthy. “Just like head hair, don’t wash it so much that it’s dried out, and use a beard conditioner to moisturize and replace nutrients,” he explains.
A major trend is very short hair faded into a beard.
“I call it the double fade,” says Thompson. The hair is super-short at the bottom of the ear and faded down to a nice full beard where it gets longer as it goes down, he explains. Meanwhile, hair on the head gets longer as it goes up, oftentimes with a dramatic side part.
“This style is very sharp when pulled off correctly,” Thompson says.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.