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Aren’t male clients the best? They’re in, they’re out, they’re not fussy or demanding, they’re loyal and they really like it when you to tell them what to do with their hair. So naturally you want to provide them with haircut and hair style perfection every single time they’re in your chair. But along the way, you occasionally run into a hair challenge that causes you to produce less than your best work, and it’s so disappointing when that happens. Here, Kelly Bileddo, Sexy Hair Global Artist and owner of Salon Antebellum in St. Louis, MO, shares her tips for overcoming some of the top men’s hair challenges.
The Challenge: There’s enough hair on his head for two people and it’s soooo hard to control.
“My go-to solution for cutting thick, heavy hair is to eliminate the bulk with a razor,” says Kelly. “Go through the sections and carve them with a backcombing motion to remove bulk while retaining length. Keep the hair flat to the head—no elevation. I avoid using texturizing shears on this hair type because I find they actually cause the hair to shrink up and become poofy.”
Once you cut your client’s thick hair, be sure to show him how to style it properly. “You need multiple products with this hair type,” Kelly believes. “First apply a product to wet hair to smooth the cuticle, then use something when the hair is dry to texturize and separate. My favorites are Style Sexy Hair Shaping Crème for medium shine and medium hold on damp hair, and Style Sexy Hair Polished Up Pomade which is great for providing separation. Another tip—I tell my guys to use a blow dryer, because when you warm a product into the hair, you’re infusing it into the center of the cuticle and diffusing frizz.”
The Challenge: His curls are kind of crazy and you need to get them into shape!
“Never cut curls when they’re wet,” Kelly advises. “If you stretch the hair and cut it wet, the guy will look like a Q-Tip when his hair dries. Instead, cut the curls dry, in groups of three. Monitor your elevation based on the head shape with vertical, horizontal or angular partings. Think of it like trimming a bonsai—it’s very visual. Avoid texturizing shears—they’ll make curly hair look frizzy. Instead, if I need to debulk, I’ll “walk” my shears along the hair, pumping them without closing them completely. With curly hair, less is more—just follow the rounds of the head and carve in a shape.”
Curly hair almost always benefits from conditioning, but guys aren’t the best when it comes to conditioning their hair. So Kelly steers them to a multi-purpose formula like Style Sexy Hair 4Some, a four-in-one conditioning wash for hair, face, body and beard. “After shampooing,” she says, “I tell them to squeeze out the moisture with a paper towel and try not to disrupt the curl pattern. Then I recommend a product like Style Sexy Hair Not So Hard Up Gel which will provide shine, condition and curl definition. Squeeze the product into the curls—don’t run through the hair with the fingers—then just leave the hair alone. Don’t touch until the hair is completely dry. If they’re open to it, I’ll show them how to use a diffuser to speed up drying without disturbing the curls.”
The Challenge: He’s So Fine…and So is His Hair
“If a guy has a fine texture, always do more horizontal blunt cutting to build up bulk,” advises Kelly. “However, if a guy is really thinning, blunt cutting will create lines. In these cases, I use a clipper-over-finger technique to create a soft, fuller-looking shape. To make the top look thicker, take the sides shorter.”
As with thick hair, Kelly likes a two-step approach to styling finer hair types. Start by applying a formula that provides fullness and soft texture when the hair is damp. One of her favorite “cocktails” is Style Sexy Hair Convertible Crème mixed with Hard Up Gel for hold. “Blow dry that mixture into the hair,” she advises. “When the hair is dry, to avoid adding weight, I like to use a hairspray like Big Sexy Hair Spray and Play. You get definition and hold, and you can direct the spray wherever you need it most.”
See Sexy Hair’s Rafe Hardy demo a classic fade.
The Challenge: His Cowlick Has an Agenda of Its Own
“If a cowlick isn’t at the high point of the head and I’m doing a fade,” Kelly says, “I’ll just take the fade up to the cowlick and cut it off. If that doesn’t work, I’ll take diagonal sections and cut the cowlick in a circular pattern so it lays flat. The idea is to cut with the growth pattern. The same holds true for styling, so blow dry the cowlick in that same circular pattern, and it will lay down for you.”
The Challenge: He Doesn’t Understand How to Groom His Beard
Guys are really good at growing their beards, and more and more of them are doing just that. But once they do, they often have no idea how to care for that facial hair. “First thing I do is tell them to get a beard brush…and use it!” says Kelly. “It will distribute the natural oils and keep the beard soft. I’ve taught one client to brush his beard every time he washes his hands. Another guy keeps his beard brush in the car with him and uses it all day long.”
Cleansing is critical to keep a beard looking, feeling and smelling fresh, and Sexy Hair 4some fits into the cleansing program perfectly. Product-wise, Kelly always recommends blow drying something into the beard. Healthy Sexy Hair Love Oil offers lightweight conditioning; Style Sexy Hair Slept-In Texture Cream offers the hold and smoothness that thicker hair needs. “And if the beard is super curly,” Kelly says, “I like a harder wax like Polished Up Pomade. The idea is to keep the beard controlled and conditioned.”