We’ve all been there. You’ve got a big event coming up and you need to look super-slick, so you squeeze a quick cut into your lunch hour somewhere new – and then spend the days that follow awkwardly trying to make yourself look like you again.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Whether you’re considering a brand new style or just a solid trans-seasonal tidy-up, we sat down with hair stylist and GQ Grooming Awards judge Scott Ade to get his advice on how to get the best haircut of your life (ever time).
Here are his five essential tips…
1. Don’t rush into your new style.
With demanding schedules, it’s all too easy to cram a last-minute chop into your lunch break or on your way home. If you’re considering a new style or a more drastic cut than usual, take the time to have a proper sit down with your stylist. Scott tells us: “It’s important to have a thorough consultation to break this down and to make sure you’re both on the same page.”
2. Know what you want (and what that looks like).
Short of undertaking some sort of professional training, it’s near impossible for us mere mortals to accurately convey precisely what scissor-work we want. If there’s a celebrity or even a friend who has the look you want, go to the barbers prepared. “I always, personally, encourage my clients to come in armed with a few images,” says Ade. That said it’s important to be realistic. While getting your mid-length locks layer-cut can’t guarantee you’ll walk out looking like Oli Cheshire, your stylist will get you as close as possible provided you, as Ade puts it, “understand that, like artists, no two stylists will create the exact same style and also to know that the models or celebrities in the photos have often been styled for the shot.”
3. Why do you like it?
Do you think the cut you’ve seen slims the face? Does it look low maintenance? Does the colour make the guy’s complexion look less tired? If you can pinpoint a few specific detail you like about the style you want, it will help you get in sync with the professional. “I like to go through [the potential styles] with clients agreeing on the features of the style that we both like or dislike,” says Ade, “thus building up an understanding and a vibe of where we are heading.”
4. Be proud of what you’ve got.
It’s so important that clients also make their stylist aware of the parts of their hair they already like or dislike and tell the stylist of any particular habits or traits their hair may have. “If there are parts of your hair that you like or, likewise, like less so be sure to pipe up,” sayse Ade. “For example, if you’re unhappy with the density of your hair but love the way it naturally parts and have a bit of an aversion to using a conditioner, you’ll be amazed at what a good stylist can achieve with the scissors alone.”
5. Trust your barber.
If you’d rather spend time in the gym in the morning or if you’re no good with a hairdryer – tell your barber. There’s nothing worse than leaving the salon looking close-up ready and having no idea how to recreate it when you’re home. “It’s key to agree on a style that you believe you can manage, that suits your lifestyle and routine,”says Ade. “Let the stylist do the rest in guiding you towards something that will suit your face and features.”
Likewise if you’re curious about new products, a texture powder or salt spray for example, there’s no better time or place to learn it here from an expert – they can advise on not only whether it will work for your hair type, but also how to properly use it.