Grooming Basics for the Perfect Hairstyle

Hey guys, I’ve got Brian Cornwell from online men’s lifestyle magazine,, graciously offering to co-write this post with me for some great foundational grooming tips for your mop. Hope you find the info helpful!


We get asked this question from men all the time: “How does that guy groom his hair like that?” You go to the barbershop or salon with a certain hairstyle in mind (perhaps with a magazine clip in tow), get it cut, only to leave with less-than-impressive results. Or maybe your barber nailed the look, but you can’t in god’s name figure out how to recreate it when you get home.

Or have you gone DIY, stocking up on every hair product under the sun and experimenting endlessly, only to discover that replicating another man’s hairstyle is a painful process?

We see men all the time seeking out the best men’s fashion tips, but not too many actually apply what they learn, resulting in zero results. It’s the same story when it comes to grooming your hair, sadly overlooked even though it’s a big part of your overall style and can often be easily fixed.

Here are 5 tips to get you started in the right direction toward that perfect do.


1) Know Thyself

Never walk into the barbershop or salon blindly. Even if you’re under the wings of a talented barber who has great ideas on the right styles for you, well... they're not you. Multiply your wins by helping him/her with a clear direction that can only come from your own point-of-view.

Every man is unique, and creativity is always encouraged, so there’s really no set style you must follow. Having said that, there are certain styles that complement your face better than others, so do your research. Grab some mags or visit a few men’s grooming sites and look for photos of guys with similar face shapes and a personality that either mirrors your own or one that you’d like to project.

As everyone's hair is different, not every hairstyle can be achieved by all. Up your chances of getting the hairstyle you want by looking for models who share your ethnicity and coloring, especially if you're thinking of entering the risky territory of coloring your hair. This approach provides two important clues: 1) This style is possible with your particular hair traits; 2) You'll have a fairly good idea of how you'll look like with that exact do. Unlike many other things in life, when it comes to getting your haircut, it's smarter to leave less to the imagination as possible.

Some other things to watch for are hairstyles that fit your age, profession and lifestyle, and ones that you know you’ll feel comfortable wearing – in other words, come up with a look that accurately represents who you are.


2) Don’t Cheap Out on Hair Products

You only need at max a few handpicked, quality hair products. Shell out a few more bucks for professional ones – one or two of these will out-perform your entire cabinetful of inferior products.

There are creams, gels, and everything else out there, but the best recommendation is to start with pomade – it may be the only hair goop you need. Keep in mind that pomade alone comes in lots of different strengths, textures and finishes, so do some research and don’t just grab the first jar you see at the store. For starters, take a glance at this list of the best pomade for men

DO ask your hairdresser for recommendations on products that work for your specific hair texture and the style you want. He/she knows your hair better than anyone, so do yourself a favor and just ask!


3) It’s All in the Application... and a Little Patience

Once you have the right product(s), it’s time to focus on the right application. Unless you’re going for that spiky hairstyle like Pauly D’s from the Jersey Shore (you’re NOT), please consider the amount of the product you’re using. 

When it comes to pomade, gels and any other hair product, less is always more. Apply a small dab onto your hands and warm it up by rubbing your hands together. Slowly work the product onto your hair, and add more as needed by building up the intensity a bit at a time.

No matter what men’s grooming product you’re using, always make sure that you work the product down to the root of your hair. Most men will often use these products exclusively on the outer ends of their hair, and skip the area that’s the most important. Get the product in deep enough so that you get a solid foundational base in your hair.

QUICK TIP: The fastest technique for that casually-disheveled-yet-groomed look is to first make your hair messy with some product, then refine it to your liking.

DON’T get overzealous or impatient by scooping up a chunk of pomade and dropping it on your head – you’ll be assured of disastrous consequences.


4) Blow It Up with the Proper Tools

Once you have the right haircut, some grooming supplies, and product application know-how, you’re ready for the proper tools.

Don’t be afraid to use a blow dryer and invest in a good brush, especially if you really want that full, thick head of hair. Don’t know how to wield that hot air gun and work that brush? Again, just ask! Next time you hit the salon, ask your hair dresser to guide you through their pro technique, then practice until you reach mastery.


5) Be Honest About Maintenance

Some hairstyles require more work than others, so choose one that matches your realistic level of commitment. If you’re not willing to spend a little extra time in the bathroom, go with a style that’s easier to manage. Working on your hair should be an enjoyable experience, not another laborious chore that cuts into your busy schedule.


The above tips should equip you with a solid foundation on how to get, and maintain, the right hairstyle for you. Remember, there’s fashion, and then there’s style. Fashion is following the trends or looking great but without much soul. Style is being fashionable in your own terms, by deeply knowing who you are and expressing that ownership to the world. Your hair is a big part of showing off your individuality, so do yourself a great service and make it work for you.