While we occasionally dabble in grooming topics here on AAW, I’ve never tackled basic hair care for men. You’re probably all walking around with unkempt mops on top of your head, and it’s my fault. Guilty. Thus I present to you a primer for your hair. Those who have been styling, sculpting, and smoothing for years may already know some of this information. But if you’ve never thought about hair care, or you’ve recently noticed a change in your hair (hello, aging!), this is the post for you.
what kind of hair you have. Ultimately, you may need to ask your barber/stylist this if you can’t figure it out on your own, but here’s a quick run-down. First, consider the actual diameter of each strand of your hair. When you hear “coarse,” and “fine,” that’s what this is in reference to–how wide is the shaft of the hair. Second, consider how much actual hair you have on your head–this is thick hair versus thin hair. So you could have very fine, thick hair, which means the strands themselves are super thin but you have a ton of hair follicles on your head. Conversely, you could have very coarse, thinning hair, which means the strands are substantial and strong, but the follicles on your head are spaced out. Why does this matter? It will tell you what products to use, and what kind of style will work well with your hair. Keep reading…
Pick products specifically for your needs: Nioxin Shampoo (for thinning hair) – $22.45; Jason Tea Tree Scalp Normalizing Shampoo (for itchy, flaky scalp) – $6.89; American Crew 3-In-1 (shampoo, conditioner and soap for busy guys) – $14; Batiste Dry Shampoo (for extending your style) – $7.99
depending on the dryness or oiliness of your hair. If your scalp produces a lot of oil, obviously you need to wash your hair more often. Fine or straight hair tends to show oil more readily, while coarse or curly hair tends to be dryer and can go a day or more without a wash. Many people are squeamish about not washing their hair everyday, especially those who work out. But the truth is, most of us don’t need to cleanse our hair with harsh shampoo every single day. If you really feel strongly about washing it, try just rinsing with water once in a while instead of giving your hair a full scrub every day.
Another option is dry shampoo. Many women use dry shampoo to extend the life of their ‘do. No reason men can’t use it too; trust me, there’s nothing inherently feminine about it. Spray lightly into the roots of your hair, wait a few minutes, then rub vigorously, and restyle hair. There’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to using this stuff so don’t give up if you don’t get the hang of it right away.
Shampoos are also labeled to cater to your hair type–thick, thin (or thinning/hair loss), coarse, fine, curly, and so forth. Read the label and pick the appropriate product. Pay attention to other issues like scalp health. Massaging your scalp well while in the shower–instead of just rubbing shampoo over the top of your hair–is important. If you have flakes, nip them in the bud with a good anti-dandruff shampoo (the ones that use Tea Tree Oil tend to be more palatable, fragrance-wise, than the ones made with coal tar).
with a light touch. Less is more. Always err on the side of less product, less styling, less fussing. This is true especially when trying a new product (it takes a while to figure out how much of it you need for your particular hair) or styling a new cut. Again, what kind of hair you have will determine what kind of product you use. There are products to make your hair appear fuller or to hold style, to spike or to enhance curls. If you’ve colored your hair or chemically treated it, you’ll need to use products that are more gentle. Read those labels. If you find yourself really at a loss, ask your stylist–what products does she or he use in your hair? If you can’t stomach the price of the salon-brand products, find out what kind of product it is, and then search out a cheaper drugstore version.
About the Author: If you’ve got a question that needs the female treatment, chances are you’re not the only one who wants to ask it. Beth is our source for the answers. From opinions on men’s style to decoding the sometimes mysterious ways of women, she’ll take on a different question every Thursday. She also might provide an answer without waiting to be asked. That happens from time to time too. Click here to get to know Beth, then get in touch with her by sending your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org .