Gentleman, never underestimate the importance of a haircut. Your choice of hairstyle is absolutely pivotal in the way the world perceives you.
Shakespeare’s Polonius may have professed that the apparel oft proclaims the man (clothes make the man). Yet, he neglected to consider what his entourage saw of him during his self-absorbed monologue.
In the following guide, we will cover in detail the importance of a haircut, how to properly speak to your barber and present the hairstyles we cover in detail at Bespoke Unit.
5 Steps In Getting The Best Haircut For You
- The Importance of a Haircut
- The Harmony of a Haircut
- Hairstyle Personas
- Communicating To Your Barber In 5 Steps
- Closing Thoughts & Our Hairstyles
You can scroll down to keep reading or jump straight to one of the sections listed above if you’re in a hurry.
The Importance Of A Haircut
Contemplate on the following example: You’re preparing for an important client meeting or job interview. You’ve ticked all the boxes with a perfectly structured presentation, crisp white shirt and carefully selected tie. However, you haven’t invested the time for a trip to the barber’s in weeks.
When you reach across to shake your client or potential employer’s hand, he or she will look you in the eyes. As you talk, he or she will be scrutinising your facial expressions. It can’t be stressed enough that it isn’t just your body language or the way you dress that reflects the character you exude.
Consider also that according to a 2009 Axe survey, nearly 74% of women agree that hair is the first things they notice about a man. If you think about it, a job interview is very much like a first date.
A man’s personality and character is exuded through his choice of haircut. Hair is the leading influence that defines first impressions.
Furthermore, the care he takes of his hair is an important factor. Granted, you can let your hair grow naturally. However, if you neglect it, it will show.
Nevertheless, we acknowledge and emphasise that your attire indeed plays a vital role in your appearance. However, all the components work together in unison to paint the complete portrait. Consider the ensemble and how it the hair functions. It can complement your attire or provide contrast.
The Harmony of the Haircut
Contrast is not a negative trait that should be avoided. Ask yourself what personality traits you wish to project and scrutinise its weaknesses. A hairstyle that contrasts with your clothing adds an element of complexity to your character. However, the overall ensemble should always be concluded with a harmonious finish.
Keep in mind various factors such as the workplace, your activities and the frequency of attending formal events. Do you often find yourself at the centre of public attention and under scrutiny? Perhaps you avoid the limelight in favour of an office setting? Have you a penchant for sports or outdoor activities? Remember that your choice of hairstyle can either project or indeed downplay these traits.
Likewise, your hair’s length contributes to how people’s opinions are influenced by your appearance. A number of studies have indicated that men with short hair, which is longer at the front such as a Fringe, Pompadour or Faux Hawk, are seen as confident and handsome. However, they can appear to be more egotistical. However, men with medium length hair paired with a Side Part have been considered clever and well-qualified. Yet, they can seem intolerant. Finally, men with long hair can be viewed as amiable but less intelligent.
Assuredly, this prejudice is rife with stereotyping. Nonetheless, we cannot avoid human instinct based on social constructs. The above perceptions indicate the extent that a hairstyle will affect your influence on your entourage. It is therefore essential that all contributing factors are taken into account to create a coordinated projection of your true identity. This includes everything from the suit and its fit, your shirt / tie combination, watch and choice of shoes.
Consequently, adopt an architectural stance to a haircut rather than treating it as a mere gardening chore. Select and adapt a hairstyle that irons out negative traits that may be projected by your wardrobe and vice versa. Ask yourself what character you currently exude. Consider ways to adjust this and reinforce the personality traits that you want people to notice.
Men’s Hairstyle Personas
If this seems overwhelming, try dividing hair styling into our simple CARVE categories that summarise their mood.
How To Communicate With Your Barber In 5 Easy Steps
You may not have yet decided on your haircut but it’s essential to communicate well with your expert of choice. Prevent disappointment and get an idea of what you like by learning how to present a haircut to your barber.
If all else fails, download a few images on your phone beforehand. However, avoid vague statements such as “short back and sides”. Be precise as these statements are very subjective between barbers.
1. Ask Your Barber What They Can Do For You
Although this may make you feel like preparation and research is futile, but simply asking your barber for advice is vital. You may have spent hours reading through guides like ours to put together what may be your perfect haircut. However, ask your barber what they think is best and trust their expertise. They have the experience in cutting countless heads of hair to be able to make recommendations.
Don’t be crushed if it turns out that he or she believes that what you want may not work for you. It avoids dissatisfaction with a disappointing end result and a breach of trust with your barber. After all, you’ll be putting yourself into their hands so learn to value their expert opinion.
2. Establish The Style’s Mood With Keywords
Take a leaf out of the advertising industry’s book and associate the style you want with keywords that denote mood. Think of it like a Google search or setting a film scene to paint a picture for your barber. Either use the CARVE categories above or other buzz words such as: romantic, hipster, retro, fashionable, conservative. Don’t hesitate to use films or actors as examples. As you read on, you’ll notice that we do that a lot ourselves!
3. Indicate The Length
Not everyone can measure inches with their eyes and it’s unlikely you’ll be carrying a tape measure on you. Nevertheless, the definition of a “trim” is very subjective. Use clipper guard numbers as a guide if you are familiar with them. If you’re not sure, ask the barber to see the guards and compare. However, if you have longer hair, show the barber by holding a few strands in different areas between your fingers.
If you’re both still unsure, ask the barber if he or she is comfortable with reducing the length until you’re happy. Better to not cut enough rather than too much.
4. Top Finish
Be familiar with how the barber will finish the hair once it’s at the right length and choose the technique you prefer. These provide different resulting textures and layers so it’s best to have an idea beforehand.
- Choppy: The barber cuts the hair at 45° angles at different lengths to provide a varied texture. This creates the illusion of volume and makes it easy to style messy looks.
- Layered: This is cutting so that long hair rests on top of short hair. It’s an ideal technique for thinning hair as it creates the appearance of depth and volume.
- Thinned: The barber uses thinning scissors to reduce volume. These resemble the love-child of between a pair of scissors and a comb. It selectively reduces length and thus thins the hair. It’s great for thick hair but be aware that the hair will grow out unnaturally over time with stray strands.
- Razored: The barber reduces volume and sculpts the hair with a razor blade. It’s a technique that requires a professional touch. However, it’s the best way to thin out and flatten hair so it can grow back naturally.
5. Back & Sides Finish
Learn the basic techniques that the barber can use to finish the back and side’s length and hairlines. They may feel like an afterthought but bear in mind that although you won’t see the back, everyone else will.
This is the way that the hair length diminishes down the back and sides. It’s often referred to as a Fade and can come as High, Medium and low.
Please refer to our dedicated page on Fades to understand how to make it work for your face shape.
This concerns the way the back of the neck is perfected. It can come in three forms; blocked, rounded and tapered.
- Blocked: A blocked nape is good for thin necks but can quickly appear unruly as it grows out. It requires frequent visits to the barber’s for a touch-up.
- Rounded: The Rounded nape is simply a blocked but without the edges. It’s less angular but still requires regularly revisions to keep it clean.
- Tapered: The most common finish, which is often paired with a Fade on sides. As it follows the natural hairline, it’s less noticeable when it grows out. It’s also great for making thick necks appear narrower.
The arches dictate how the trim follows the hairline around the ears. You can trim them with a high arch, which is ideal for smaller ears and offers a very neat finish. However, like blocked napes, they grow out badly. A natural arch is where hair simply follows the hairline. This grows out well and can be forgiving during long periods between haircuts.
Be sure to ask your barber how your want your side burns finished if you’re clean shaven. We cover this in much more detail on our dedicated Sideburns guide. However, if you are considering a beard instead, read all about them and discover how to adapt beards for your face shape.
Final Thoughts & Haircut Families
After familiarising yourself with the anatomy of a haircut as described above, it might be time to decide on the style your want! All hairstyles are broken down into families by length, which you can discover by clicking on the relevant titles below. Alternatively, you can jump straight to the hairstyle you want to learn about.
Before you continue, it’s highly recommended that you are aware of your face shape as we’ve outlined 7 face shapes in detail. This plays an important role in assessing how well a hairstyle may suit your facial proportions, which we discuss in each guide. If you haven’t already, consider identifying your face shape.
Despite the rigid guidelines described above and with each style, feel free to follow them liberally and experiment. The greatest discoveries were made by accident and to quote the wise words of Sammy Davis Jr, “When you lose a lover it’s like getting a bad haircut. It grows back in time.”