Dappered Classics – How to get a great haircut

Five steps to getting a great haircut.  Or at least, how to avoid a bad one.

How to Get a Great Haircut

Originally Published June 24, 2010

#1 Consistency is Key

I’m not talking about getting the same haircut for decades on end.  I’m talking about getting your hair cut by the same individual every time.  Inconsistency breeds mistakes.  You need to develop a good working relationship with this person, and you can’t do that if it’s someone different each time you wander in.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a barber shop or a (deep breath) salon… find someone you like and stick with them.

#2 Get it cut every three to four weeks

Most men are on a five or six week haircut cycle.  For the entire first week it’s too short and too noticeable, leaving the opportunity for everyone and their mother to tell you “you got a hair cut!”  No sh*t.  The last week it’s frustratingly long, coming over your ears, and you hate it.  Lop the first and last weeks off and you get three weeks.  Just make sure you tell your stylist or barber your timetable.  That way your hair is always in that “just right” wheelhouse.  You’re just going in for an oil change, not a whole new engine.

#3 Be Specific

When your barber or stylist asks you what you want done to your head, don’t say: “A little shorter on the sides and top.”  How MUCH shorter?  If you want them to use a clippers, tell them what guard number.  If they’re using a scissors, stick your fingers in your hair and show them how much you want off.  Tell them how you plan on styling your hair.  That makes a difference too.  It’s not fair to make them guess.  Us guys just aren’t good at getting specific about our appearance.  It’s embarrassing.  Suck it up and tell them what you want.

#4 Pay attention when you’re in the chair

This might seem pretty basic, but it’s easy to zone off when you’re sitting there in front of the mirror.  Don’t watch their every move like a hawk, but remember that this is a bit of a team process.  If they haven’t gone short enough on the sides, let them know.  They want to get it right just as much as you do.

#5 Embrace the Straight Razor

Electric Clippers have gotten a bad rap from the likes of GQ and Esquire over the last few years.  I’m pretty sure both magazines have gone so far as to say you should never have your hair cut with an electric clippers.  That’s just ludicrous.  What’s not ludicrous, is requesting the use of a straight razor to shorten the sides and back.  A razor delivers the tightness with none of the bristle.  Plus you avoid that just got a haircut feel, and instead your hair looks like it’s been about a week since it got cut.  Which is perfect, since that’s when hair looks and feels the best anyway.