If you’re used to popping to the barber on the reg things will start to get real pretty soon. The shorter the hair, the faster it seems to grow and many of us are staring at a hairy future without a trip to the pros for a refresh for the forseeable.
We asked top barber Hohepa Rutene, owner of the rad Boar & Blade barber shops in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand for his top tips on maintaining your style during lockdown. Because even though we’re just kicking about at home, we don’t need to go Sasquatch just yet.
Don’t Wash Your Hair Every Day
The longer your hair the less frequently you need to wash it. The further the ends are away from the scalp, the longer it takes for the grease to travel down the hair shaft. Washing your hair daily will only dry your scalp out and contribute to a fluffy crowning glory, unless the pompadour look is what you’re after.
If your hair is longer you could use a brush everyday to distribute the oils from your scalp to the ends to stop them from drying out as much. When shampooing you're removing the dirt and by conditioning you’re putting moisture back into the hair.
Use the right product for your hair (or not)
The basic rule of thumb with styling is that matte products will be good to achieve a get-out-of-bed hair do, shorter mesier styles, or long surfer locks. Gels will give your hair a more constructed look. Use a small 10-cent-piece amount and work it through the whole hair then style to your desired look. For shine I recommend a hair pomade which is great for slick looks such as the pompadour and comb overs. Less is always more and if you over do it it can leave your hair looking greasy and dirty. Fail.
Some people don't like using products at all so I recommend something like a sea salt spray that you can add in when the hair is wet and leave to dry naturally. This will stop it going fluffy.
Learn to Use A Hair Dryer
So your slick cut is growing out. Instead of cutting all your hair off, use this time to learn how to style your hair. A lot of guys seem to rely on hair products to shape their hair but by learning to style it with a hair dryer you’ll dry the hair cuticle in a way that it will sit good all day with minimal product needed. With hair it’s best to use the 80% styling 20% product rule.
Now you’re ready to tackle the hair dryer—don’t worry, it’s simpler than it looks. You’ll just need a hair dryer, a brush and some product, that’s it. A vent brush or a rounder brush will help to create more volume through the hair.
Apply a small amount of product to clean hair. I use a dry style hair product such as Micky Day clay as it gives your hair a more natural look. Starting from the back and working your way forward use a medium heat and medium to low speed on your hair dryer and work from your root to the end in the direction you want your hair to flow. When fully dry, cool off with cold air to set the hair in place. Add a touch more product and style into place. Here’s a good video showing the technique. Alex Costa likes to add hair oil before he starts as oil adds a bit of shine to the hair (which some people like) whereas clay makes the hair more matte looking. It all depends on the look you're trying to achieve as to what product you put in before styling.
Beard oil is a good investment
A beard oil is good for longer beards as the skin can get quite dry. Add a couple drops to your hands and work it through the beard, it's also a nice way of softening the hair bristle and adding some natural shine.
Quality clippers are king
I recommend spending a bit more money on a decent pair of clippers as they last longer and do the job better. Any Wahl clippers will work well but make sure you maintain them frequently by cleaning the hair out and adding oil every now and again.
Learn How To Trim Correctly
When trimming your own beard, less is more. If you like sharper edges under your jaw, create guidelines with the clipper without stretching your skin in unnatural ways. Sit or stand straight and set your first line in the middle of your neck, I use a guide of two fingers above the Adam's apple. Then mark each corner at the end of the jaw and connect the dots together. I prefer a slight curve at either edge.
If you find the sideburns of the beard too long use a #2 (6mm) with the grain meaning going towards the ground and taking the excess bulk off the sides of your beard. This gives it a nice, clean look. Check out this great video from Sean Kelly if you need more guidance.
Get someone in your house to trim your neck hair. Nothing feels and looks worse than overgrown neck hair! Use a small trimmer or shaver and keep it tidy.
A little hair and beard maintenance will go a long way to helping you feel put together during lockdown, and bring an important level of self-care to your daily routine.
About Hohepa Rutene
24-year-old Hohepa is the owner of three Boar & Blade barbershops in Auckland and Wellington, and he has also just launched a men's hair product line called Micky Day in which 10% of profits go to men's mental health. If you’d like to support this initiative (and get your hands on a pretty damn good product at the same time) you can order online using the link above and it’ll be shipped as soon as restrictions are lifted.
Image credit: Ravi Chand