Is a Photo the Best Way to Show My Barber Which Hairstyle I Want?

Direction is always good, but remember to keep your expectations realistic.

13 hairdreser photo

Cleve McMillan, stylist and DSC’s resident hair expert, weighs in on your burning questions about the mysterious adventure that is getting a haircut.

Is it weird to show my barber a picture of the hairstyle that I want?
Barbers have a sort of love-hate relationship with their clients bringing in photos. We love when you have a reference because we want to know exactly what kind of hairstyle you’re looking for. But we hate when you bring in pictures that are totally unrealistic. Say you bring in a photo of Justin Bieber but have George Costanza’s hairline. Now I have to be the guy to tell you that you don’t have the hair for that, which sucks.

So try this instead: Bring in a photo of yourself from the last time you got a cut you really liked. That way, I know exactly what you want, and I’m working with the same exact hair. Win, win.

I’m balding up top. What’s the best haircut for me?
I’m in the same boat, so I feel your pain. There’s hope for us balding folk, though. First off, you want to keep your hair short, which makes it look thicker. If you let it grow too long, you’ll start looking like Doc Brown from Back to the Future. You will, however, have to do a little bit of experimenting each time you visit your barber. Start by requesting a #7 clipper, which is seven-eighths of an inch long, for the top, while asking to go a little shorter on the sides. From then on, go one number shorter each subsequent visit until you find the perfect length for you.

You’re also going to want to use a very lightweight product. Heavier products clump hair together to give it texture, but if you’ve only got 20 hairs up top, the product will make it look like four. And when you apply the product, only use the slightest bit. The message you’re trying to get across is that you’re still making an effort despite facing a problem most of us guys deal with at some point in our lives: male pattern baldness.

I’m never sure what to answer when my stylists asks whether I want a rounded or squared neckline. How do I know what’s right for me?
There’s a few things to consider here. If you have a really round head, you’re going to want to square off your neckline or else you’ll look like a kickball. On the other hand, a squared neckline requires a lot more maintenance—it needs to be touched up every two weeks or it’ll start to look messy and overgrown. A rounded, more tapered neckline should give you a good six weeks before needing a touch up.