Heads Up: Taking Care of Your Hair
There are few things more important to the modern gentleman than his hair.
Much more than just a random collection of follicles, a gentleman’s hair is an expression of his style and should be cared for as such. Left to fate, it’s much more likely that the bristles on your bonce will resemble a particularly battered brush rather than the lustrous mane which is the pride and joy of any true gentleman.
Dandruff, split ends and oily hair are all conundrums which can befall even the most informed of gents. Untreated, they can wreak havoc on your hair’s health and make your hair look unkempt and ungentlemanly.
But this doesn’t mean that you should be rushing out to buy the latest hair care product that everyone is using without a second thought.
Whilst many of your friends may be raving about the Argan oil they slather on their locks, or singing the praises of that new styling product that is the subject of countless articles in GQ and Men’s Health, there is no guarantee that these same products will have an identical effect on your tresses.
If you’re going to keep your hair looking its best, you’re going to need to find out which products are suited to the type of hair that marks your mop.
In the following guide we aim to give you the information you need to know and the products you need to be using to help avoid any of these follicular follies and make sure that your hair feels healthy and looks fantastic.
Identifying your hair type
Before you apply any product to your hair, styling or otherwise, you need to find out what type of follicles furnish your head as this will dictate the hair care routine you need to be following.
On just about any bottle of high quality shampoo, or any tub of hair wax will be a recommendation from the manufacturer as to the type of hair the product is best suited to. There is little point in paying a premium for a hair product which is not a match for your hair type as any unsuitable product will pose more problems than solutions to your hair.
This means that making an appointment with your local barber is a must. As a trained hair care professional, not only will they be able to tell you what kind of hair you have, but they will also be able to provide their expertise and taylor a cut and style to the proportions of your face.
RG recommends: Whilst we here at Regal Gentleman are more than happy to advise you on the products you need to be using for your hair type, there really is no substitute for consulting your local hair care professional and finding out just what type of hair has its habitat on your head. Of course, once you’ve discovered what kind of hair you have, we will be more than able to advise you on the latest products available for your specific hair type. With a plethora of blog entries and grooming guides to peruse, there’s sure to be a product which will be the perfect match for your mop.
Josh’s top tip: Don’t be afraid to make conversation with your barber. There’s nothing more awkward than simply sitting there in silence while they go all Edward Scissorhands on your head, so strike up a conversation and get to know them a bit better. Ask for any product or style recommendations, and they are sure to point you in the right direction.
Taking care of normal hair
Whilst this type of hair does not present any particular problems to the follicularly endowed gentleman, knowing whether or not your tresses are of this type is of the utmost importance if you are going to keep them healthy and looking their best.
The easiest way to tell if your barnet falls into this category is to wash it in the morning as normal and monitor it throughout the day, making sure to hold off on any product for now.
If your mop looks and feels more or less the same by the time you get home, and is neither excessively dry or oily, then you, sir, are more than likely sporting some normal hair on your head.
Fortunately, this means that your horizons for hair care and styling products are more or less unbridled.
With many of the more common brands of shampoo and conditioner being recommended for use on normal hair, you are more or less free to base your choice of coif cleaner on more aesthetic factors such as scent or brand design. But be careful not to accidentally pick up a shampoo designed to cater to a different form of follicle.
RG recommends: Investing in a high quality shampoo and conditioner is a must for even the normal haired gentleman, and here at Regal Gentleman we’re happy to oblige! Although, as a normal haired chap, you will be spoiled for choice with regards to shampoo and conditioner, Hairbond’s Structure Professional Hair Shampoo is an excellent product to use to start caring for that masculine mane. Simply soak your hair with warm water, massage the shampoo into your hair and rinse thoroughly making sure to only wash your hair at least every other day to make sure that you don’t dry out your hair and scalp. Finish off with their equally impressive Professional Hair Conditioner to keep your tresses looking tremendous.
Liam’s top tip: Don’t forget, normal hair gets oily too! Even the most refined gentleman will have a little bit of oil build up in his hair by the end of the day, so don’t panic if yours begins to look a little greasy. By over-washing you could be doing more harm than good. Remember that with hair care, as is often the case with design, less is more. Only apply a small amount of shampoo and conditioner when washing (no larger than a 10p piece for shorter styles) and use any styling products sparingly so as to avoid any greasy build up.
Keeping oily hair under control
A little bit of oil in your hair is usually a force for good. It protects skin and hair by locking in moisture and thereby regulating healthy shedding.
However, it can turn against you and cause your normally voluminous locks to lose their vigour and wilt.
If you wash your hair in the morning and find your scalp becoming oily hours later, you’ve probably got oily hair.
Whilst it may seem like the only option to alleviate the excess oil is to wash your hair everyday, to do so is actually counter intuitive as excessive and exuberant washing can cause over-stimulation of the the sebaceous glands responsible for greasy hair, causing your mop to become even greasier. Likewise, conditioners and styling products are also to be used sparingly, as these will only add to the oil which is naturally a part of your hair and cause a build-up of grease and oil, which is unpleasant to say the least.
Those gents looking to rid their hair of a surplus of sebaceous oil should wash their hair little but often (about once every other day) and consider using shampoos that are rich in rosemary and eucalyptus oil. These natural oils will help to keep your oily hair under control, excising any that is excess, but never leaving your hair completely devoid of any natural oil.
RG recommends: Joe Grooming’s Daily Shampoo is a necessary addition to any gentleman’s grooming arsenal, but it is of particular use to those gentlemen with naturally oily hair. It’s use of eucalyptus leaf and tea-tree oil cleanses your hair and exfoliates your scalp gently, removing any oil build up in the process. Work into your hair as normal, taking care not to massage too vigorously into your scalp, to help alleviate any excess oil. Follow this up with a smaller amount of Joe Grooming’s Daily Conditioner than the average normal haired gent (about the size of a 5p piece) to ensure that your hair remains more ‘tarzan’ than ‘chip pan’.
Josh’s top tip: Try water soluble hair styling products on your naturally sebaceous hair. Water based products, such as Joe Grooming’s Grooming Compound, can still provide the same hold as regular styling products, but without adding any excess grease to your already oily hair. A win-win for the naturally greasy haired gentleman.
How to treat your dry hair and sensitive scalp
Make no mistake, dry hair and a sensitive scalp are friend to no man. And yet, it can be a common occurrence in even the most well informed of gentlemen.
Standing practically on opposite ends of the follicular spectrum, what aggravates oily hair usually has the reverse effect on dry hair.
So whilst you would want to wash oily hair quite frequently, you should be following quite the opposite protocol if you find your hair to be particularly parched. Failure to do so will only leave your hair looking frizzier and your scalp feeling more irritated.
In order to treat and reverse any beastly dry hair or scalp irritation, you need to make sure that you’re keeping your head well hydrated throughout the day. This means avoiding any inexpensive shampoos, as these will normally contain a plethora of harsh chemicals which will only serve to strip your hair of any moisture and further irritate your scalp in the process.
When you do need to wash your desiccated ‘do, make sure you are using a combination of high quality moisturising shampoo, specifically formulated for dry hair and sensitive scalps and a slightly larger amount of conditioner than those oily haired chaps.
RG recommends: Whilst dry hair can be very difficult to treat, Joe Grooming’s Sensitive Shampoo is an excellent place to start to get those follicles looking fantastic again. With its combination of jojoba oil and gingko leaf extract, it’s gentle enough to keep your hair clean yet avoid any possible irritation of the scalp. Use as you would a normal shampoo, but make sure to leave a few days between each wash, and follow up with a larger amount of conditioner to help restore some life to your locks, and tame any unwanted frizz.
Liam’s top tip: To avoid any excessive frizz, use conditioner twice - once while washing and once again afterwards with a walnut sized amount worked through damp hair as a leave-in solution. And after each wash of your hair, blot your hair briefly by pressing gently on the top, back and then either side of your hair with a towel before adding a little of high quality Grooming Cream to what should be damp but not dripping hair. Now style your hair as normal and allow it to air dry naturally.
With the changes to your hair type that will happen over the years, your journey to the well maintained mop will be a long and at times frustrating one. But by following the advice above will undoubtedly set you along the right path.