In this edition of “Step Into the Chair,” stylist Cleve McMillan weighs in on your burning questions about the mysterious adventure that is getting a haircut.
I’m balding up top, and I definitely don’t want to rock a combover. What other options do I have?
The first thing I would recommend to any guy experiencing anxiety about his hair loss is discovering what kind of baldness he has—there are a few different types of male pattern baldness. Those with the type A pattern will experience a full-on receding hairline, while those with the type M pattern will experience a receding hairline that creates an “M” shape. Other men might only experience a single bald spot on the crown of their head. Once you find out which one you’re experiencing, you’ll know exactly what you’re working with and where you’ll end up.
From there, you can explore your options. If you really want to hide the fact that you’re going bald (and have money and time to spend), you can undergo hair transplantation or get yourself a custom-made toupee. If you’re just trying to lessen the impact, you can purchase a spray that reduces the shine of the scalp—you oftentimes look more bald than you actually are when the light reflects off your scalp. If you go that route, remember: Less is more when applying the stuff. Finally, you can undergo hair regrowth treatments like Rogaine or Propecia, which basically delay the inevitable. It should be noted, however, that some versions of those treatments have been known to cause impotency, so you’ll have to decide what’s more important to you: Your hair or your sex life.
If you’re simply looking for a way to style what hair you have left, keep it short and avoid thick hair products. 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 to your barber until you find the perfect length for you.
I’ve been growing out my hair for a while, and my girlfriend keeps suggesting I visit the barber to have them trim off my split ends. What are split ends, anyway, and should I actually be worried about them?
First off, most guys don’t experience split ends because their hair is too short, and thus, hasn’t been exposed to the elements for long enough. Think about split ends like this: If you tied a piece of string to a fence outside of your apartment for a few years, it would eventually fray. If you left it out there for a week, however, it would be just fine.
If you’ve been growing your hair out for a while—a year or two—it’s been washed and sunned a lot more than short hair ever has. Both of those things eventually break down the hair fiber, causing it to dehydrate and split. This may cause frizziness, so your girlfriend’s right: It’s a good idea to visit your barber for just a small trim if you start to notice your ends fraying.
My barber always tries to sell me pricey hair product after my haircut. Are his products worth the price, or should I just pick up something cheap at the convenience store?
If whatever the barber is trying to sell you is available in a convenience store for cheaper, then go buy it from there. If that product isn’t available at a convenience store, it’s probably top-of-the-line product, since it only lives within the professional world. The technology in a product like that will be by far better than anything you can find at the convenience store, and thus, worth the price.
The fact that he’s recommending it also means it’s a good product—a barber wouldn’t recommend something that isn’t good, since they don’t want to ruin their reputation. His recommendation is also backed up by the fact that he’s tested that very product on many men’s hair similar to yours, meaning he’s recommending that product for your hair type and style. In other words, that product is catered for you.
If you have a question for your barber but are too afraid to ask, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below and we’ll answer it in an upcoming post.