Articles By Victoria Wurdinger

Wispy hair is on its way for men

The new, wispy Beatles cut allows versatile styling options

Hair by Xena Parsons for Xena’s Beauty Company, NYC
Photo by Tom Carson
Production: Global Hair & Fashion Group

Regardless of the their age or attitude, most men will want texture for spring, because it’s versatile, and it suits the new longer lengths. While businessmen will favor refined old Hollywood—think tapered Mad Men cuts and the serious styles of Cary Grant types—younger guys will still only pretend not to have Bieber fever by calling their style “Beatlesque.” Urban ethnic guys will grow it a tad beyond skin-fades, while others will continue to give props to the Mohawk, Low Hawk and Faux Hawk.

According to Redken for Men consultant, Jenny Balding, who gets top props for men’s cuts at NYC’s Cutler Salon, a trend we’ll all be seeing for spring/summer is a longer top with a disheveled look all around.

“Bradley Cooper's hair is a perfect example of this,” says Balding. “The look is longer through the top and slightly shorter at the back and sides. It’s heavily texturized to create an unkempt finish, which keeps the look very versatile.”

Paul Wilson, American Crew’s artistic director, says curl and volume will make the strongest texture statements. “The combination of these two are the underlying trend in men's texture right now,” notes Wilson. “It's curl that defies gravity—something existing that has been loosely manipulated.”

Ouidad, who owns namesake salons in NYC and Santa Monica, CA, says the mohawk also remains popular. “Basically, it’s a strip of hair of varying length, starting at the forehead or further back and running to the back of the head,” notes Ouidad. “It can be long, short, spiky, wavy or any other creative shape. Usually, it’s a couple of inches wide, but that can also vary, depending on the desired look.”

Texture/Length Connection

You need a little extra length for any type of texture play, which is why the trends are intertwined. At Xena’s Beauty Company in New York City, Framesi educator Xena Parsons says that slightly longer tops and softer, wispier edges are the hallmark of the mod-feeling, Beatles-length look, and that it’s created, in part, with slide cutting.

Read this week's other articles about texture!

Male Celebrities Who Rock Curly Locks
Texture Takes Over Fashion Week Runways

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper's textured hair is pleasantly unkempt

“The edges are softer and there’s a little less interior texture,” says Parsons. “We use energy cutting to take out the weight and leave more solid volume in the interior. This leaves more hair to style. Even the classic men’s short cut is getting updated with a wispy edge.”

In Sturtevant, WI, Andis’ director of education and customer engagement Ivan Zoot agrees that younger guys are still going long and mop-topped, while the traditional texture market is stepping up from super-short fades.

“Length is relative,” notes Zoot. “The client who had his hair faded to the skin and now has half-an-inch on the sides thinks that’s a lot more hair.”

In addition to men opting for longer looks, styling is either intentionally uncontrived or highly polished, according to Terry Wells, founder of Seattle-based TowelDry.

“One look is slightly un-styled with a subtle part,” says Wells. “Men who have curl are starting to use a flat iron or a straightening product with a blower. We’re also seeing layered lengths with an ‘80s retro teardrop shape swooping across the front. The third main trend is the slick, styled look that requires more product to avoid lines and marks, and to add shine.

“Our gel styler is great for this slicked, polished style,” he continues. “As men get more sophisticated, they are even cocktailing our crème with our gel. The starting point is a 50/50 proportion, but it’s adjusted for the amount of curl or the level of hold. The heavier the hair and the more hold required, the higher the proportion of gel.”

Special Salon Services

Celebrities are always the biggest influence, and most men are going a little longer because the stars are. To help his clients grow it out, Alan Kossof, who co-owns Teddy Kossof Spa Salon in Northfield, IL, says he does not charge full price for maintenance cuts (perimeter, neckline and ear-area trims). Once guys have the length they need to get a little extra texture, they’re opting for slightly casual looks by day (slightly gel-slicked) and, yes, “romantic,” looks by night.

Read this week's other articles about texture!

Male Celebrities Who Rock Curly Locks
Texture Takes Over Fashion Week Runways

Volume Shampoo Treatments

Volume shampoo treatments can boost thinning hair

“For nighttime looks, we suggest forming cream and texture paste,” says Kossof. “You need two to three inches to create texture, and for that length, I like Milbon Prejume Styling Wax—3, 5 and 7—for light, medium or firm hold.”

To allow maximum texture play, Kossof offers two smart services that add the X factor and anchor men to his salon.

Volume Shampoo Treatments. For men who have thinning hair, which can limit options, Kossof creates immediate texture by adding perm solution to his shampoo. The basic ratio is 4 parts water to one part perm solution, then the mixture is added to the shampoo. “Distribute it evenly and leave it on for about 10 minutes,” he says. “Base timing on the hair’s strength, porosity, length and the desired results, and keep all your chemical steps in mind: protect the hairline, base the scalp and so forth.”

Keratin Blow Out. Address the opposite texture challenge—think the Seinfeld show's Kramer—by offering men with unruly texture a curl-controlling Keratin Express treatment at the backbar. Apply with a bowl and brush, place the client under the dryer for 15-20 minutes, then perform the cut with the product still in the hair. (There’s no shampooing for 8 hours.) “With zero flat ironing, you get a 20-30-percent texture reduction,” says Kossof. Don’t forget the Keratin Rx retail companion, which can also be used to give men a temporary taste of texture reduction—it’s best for medium to longer hair.”

Kossof stresses that any good-looking man’s style starts at the root with scalp care, and he recommends Rene Furterer Complexe 5 to his clients. “We offer the first scalp treatment gratis, which is the best way to introduce it. Proper hair care should be a priority investment for men.”

Read this week's other articles about texture!

Male Celebrities Who Rock Curly Locks
Texture Takes Over Fashion Week Runways

Cristiano Ronaldo

Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo sports a faux hawk

Stylin’ Smarts

Whatever the cut, the ultimate way to get texture play is with the right products for the goal and styling tricks you share with your client. Here are a few to get you started:

Use a long-lasting gel. At Ouidad’s salons, the mohawk is created with a long-lasting gel, like Ouidad Clear Control Pomade. “Mold the hair into any shape, as long as it all flows in line,” says Ouidad. (Her new Curl Quencher helps keep textured ‘hawks healthy.)

Pick the right finishing product. For the versatile long-on-top, shorter-at-the-sides cut, Balding says it goes slick or textured, depending on the finishing product you use. “Redken For Men Get Groomed finishing cream is fantastic for medium-to-fine textured hair,” she says. “It’s weightless with a natural-looking finish, so it smooths the hair without weighing it down. Mint Shape Forming Paste is best for medium-to-thick textured hair. It is a very moldable paste with a medium hold. Based on hair type, pick the one best for your clients hair type, and apply to dry hair for best results.”

Be on the lookout for new products! In a nod to the texture trend, this January, American Crew is launching four new styling products: Boost Powder, Boost Cream, Curl Control and Curl Construct. They were created to control and enhance texture, allowing stylists to achieve all the spring runway looks. “Combine Boost Cream and Boost Powder to achieve enhanced wave and elevation,” says Wilson. “To detail natural wave or texture, start with Curl Construct as your foundation, then combine Curl Construct and Pomade to add shine and separation. Boost Powder adds lift and grit by increasing the surface texture of hair and is ideal for product layering. To achieve intense lift and defined texture, shake Boost Power into dry hair, then apply Molding Clay."

As men become increasingly sophisticated and style conscious, last year’s barber shop to salon migration is expected to continue, and savvy stylists with diverse textural skills will reap the full benefit.

Tongued curly hair

Tonged curls look soft and loose within a strong shape. Hair by Xena Parsons for Xena’s Beauty Company, NY, NY.

David Bowie and Madonna meet Nancy Regan and Debbie Gibson? Time traveling 80s style is all about wishful thinking because the street hopes things get rich again. In the original decade, punk revival and the “hair bands” were all about an in-your-face reaction to politicians, while closer-to-God hair signified hope. By the end of the era, everyone wanted to look like a millionaire. Or now, like a Gossip Girl.

This is great news for curl because this time around, the takeaway is in the texture. On the 2010 fashion runways, the Chris Benz, J Mendel and John Patrick Organic shows all showed off spirals and waves, while Carolina Herrera got Orlando Pita to mix-up natural with glam in textured and twisted chignons. The 80s influence was in sophistication and shine, accessories (barrettes and beads) and asymmetry. Even low-at-the-nape chignons were worn offside, a much better look than that 80s ponytail that sprang out the side of your head.

Says Fabian Bordelon, owner of Fabian’s in Baton Rouge, LA, “Redoing the 80s will be fun. Eighties curl was frizz; now, frizz is intentionally avant garde. The new mainstream looks are lots softer than the older influences, but they still have a strong perimeter. The square bob is a perfect example. Texture is more controlled, and as part of the trend, every manufacturer has a perm that can be used on curl to make it bigger or more refined. If you don’t have great home-styling skills, cuts are stronger; if you’ve been home-schooled in styling by a salon, disconnected cuts are right.”

Blonde 80s hairdo

An ‘80s redo requires volume and glam styling. Styling by Darlene Martinez for Xena’s Beauty Company, NY, NY.

Glam rock hair had its 80s chemical romance, and it’s no different today, as the flat iron gives way to curl softeners and smoothers, presented as “cold” versions of Japanese Thermal Straightening. (Basically, they’re thio-based products.) Going out on a limb, we can bet you’ll never see Jheri curls again; styling products meld right into the hair to moisturize and give shape without grease, as evidenced by the slew of dry oils on the market.

You can’t talk 80s influence without mentioning big hair and bold color. These, too, favor curl, which expands with ease and embraces panels and color blocks, as opposed to micro-lights. Explains Dennis Bartolomei, who owns a namesake Chicago-based salon, “Hair is more expanded today, like the early 80s Sauvage cut and the curly wedge. The shapes are wider with narrow napes and heavy bangs—the cut controls the curl. For color, blocking shows-off shades much better. Color is always multi-dimensional: like nature, with extra punch.”

What else can you expect from hair that’s a little more haute than hip? Here’s what hairdressers say is Too Hot:

She’s Like the Wind

Hair being braided with a curling iron

For volume and movement, braid, heat and release. Styling by Darlene Martinez for Xena’s Beauty Company, NY, NY.

Eighties hair was heavily rock-influenced, and 2010 trends were first showcased at the Grammy Awards. Talk about a difference! Volume was big but it went sideways, not up. Says Xena Parsons, owner of Xena’s Beauty Company in NYC and a Framesi educator, “Everyone at the Grammys had bend and wave. There’s no flat ironing now; curl can be crimped or braided and then let out. We like to use the tongs, which are U-shaped, as opposed to circular. Hair is styled with creamy pastes that disappear into the hair; they aren’t hard or sticky.”

For tight Afro curl, Parsons says texture is either left natural and cut geometrically or it’s softened and “redesigned” with a mild straightening product, like Framesi’s SILIS, which uses thio in a coconut-crème base. Longer hair is windswept or beachy. Says British-born educator Don Francis, who cuts at Marie Bove in NYC, “For the most part, hair is still very lose and mid-length-to-long, or quite short. The short trend will gain speed with the masses, like in the early 80s when the gamin crop was big. We just need another Mia Farrow to spark it off. Commercially, lengths are longer but they’re pretty shapeless and neutral, so that hair can be thrown up with accessories like hair bands and clips—not those 80s banana clips! Volume is definitely starting to evolve to an everyday thing.”

Girls Just Wanna' Have Fun

Within the opposing trends of strong geometric shapes ( for shorter hair, tighter curl) versus near-shapeless (for longer hair, looser curl), disconnection and asymmetry come into play for the latter. Parsons forecasts extremely strong asymmetrical styles and for longer, textured hair, various disconnected lengths with volume in strategic places. This playful approach also mixes up textures, with crimped sections being most reflective of 80s hair. On her recent trip from Italy, Parsons says there were no real “hair cuts,” just good shapes that flowed naturally from shoulders to the mid-back. Texture play adds the fun, with waves, crimps, braids and curls adding spicy variety to a single style. However, even textural mixes look pre-planned, with a classic twist.

Roll with it

Woman with a wide, red hair braid

Try an expanded finish, topped with a fat braid.

At iDaburn in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, (, stylists recognize that no two curls are the same. Explains the salon’s Floor Manager and Network Educator, Laura Garwasiuk, “This year more than ever, natural textures are in. They can range from barely there kinks to the tightest, most rebellious curls. Cuts are freehand, airy and inspired. It’s hard to put a limiting trend to what is going on in the curly world, there’s so much diversity. Our trends are in our consultations and executions. However, we especially love long waves or spirals with visual layers, cut and textured to each curl’s natural movement.”

Do That to Me One More Time

Au courant color may be more natural than Flock of Seagulls’ lightening-strike white, but it’s never a singular sensation. Here’s one thing everyone agrees on: roots are darker and ends are lighter. Bordelon adds color blocks by placing them to direct the eye, based on face shapes. Bartolomei says he lightens ends using balayage, but adds the end color to the underlayers only. It’s a big hit in Chicago, were Level 5 brunette gets feathered-on gold or pale gold end color. If you foil ends first, you almost always end up adding more balayaged pieces, he says.

Let’s Go Crazy

Also cool for curl is Parson’s Plasma technique, in which hair is placed on a Visibles see-through coloring strip before darker shades are added at the root area and lighter color is brushed-on the ends. Then, the hair is covered with another cellophane strip and the formulas are mashed together, while the colorist observes the borderline-free effect. Make it strong with whites and purple, or choose colors on the subtle side. The only requirement is that the color look opulent again…and Simply Irresistible.

Gretchen Bleiler

Gretchen Bleiler

You’re soaring down the ski slopes with your curls flowing out from under your hat, flying back in the wind. As you slide across the finish line, you realize you just may have beat the Olympic record! The crowd holds its breath. You whip off your hat and wait for the announcement… the cameras…the excitement. Good thing your personal stylist is on hand to is on hand to get rid of that flat, hat-crunched look!

Okay, that might not be happening to you soon, but Olympic contenders don’t have personal stylists at the finish line either; it’s just a little fantasy. With the Vancouver Winter Olympics beginning tonight, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of what hard-core contenders really do about “hat head.” In the meantime, we’ve got a few ideas you can use against curls’ nemesis.

Whether you’re going from the car to a conference room or want to revive your tresses before settling down at the lodge, those hats, headbands and even ear muffs leave trace evidence behind. What you can do about it depends on your hair length and how much curl you have.

Says Rocky Plateroti, owner of Artista Hair Colorgroup in Scarsdale, NY, “If you have loose waves like Olympic contender Gretchen Bleiler, it’s easy to bring them back. Cocktail a drop of linseed or silicone oil with a drop of leave-in conditioner, then mix them well between your palms. Bend at the waist and run your hands through your hair. Outdoor air lacks moisture, and doing this adds back the moisture, condition and gloss.”

Guys (or women with short hair and moderate curl or wave), can do the same by starting off with smoother hair to begin with. Before you add the hat, advises Plateroti, cocktail a product like Kaaral Cristal Care (a silicone and linseed mixture), with leave-in conditioner and a lightweight gel. Comb and smooth it through, then add the hat, which now helps set-in a smoother wave. To loosen it up post-hat, mist-on a spray gloss or anti-frizz like Kaaral Anti-Frizz Shine and run your fingers from front to back, lifting the roots ever so slightly. This works great for a smoother look when wearing a headband-style ear warmer.

What are other ways you can bring your X Game to the battle against helmet head?

Get Game-Ready

White Sands Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner

Olympians work out daily to build strength. To ready yourself for your own winter games, create the perfect styling foundation. “Dry scalp can augment the problem of hat hair,” explains White Sands founder Fernando Salas. “It’s vital to maintain a healthy, daily conditioning routine that combats the effects of winter’s drying cold.” To create fuller, body-infused locks with bounce-back, he advises using White Sands Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner. The shampoo’s ingredient blend includes an anti-static element, while the conditioner soothes scalps and helps prevent chemical dandruff.

Grab This Gold-Medal Idea

Celebrity stylist Kimmi Hendrix, who has styled for the Access Hollywood team, Jennifer Hudson, Gayle King and Shaun Robinson, will soon (hot scoop!) open a namesake salon in Brooklyn, NY. She says moisture depletion is curls’ worst winter adversary. “Always use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner,” stresses Hendrix. “Don’t over-shampoo your hair! Also, during winter, let your hair air dry. Outdoor elements are already drying, so avoid adding blow drying to the mix.”

UnCrush Your Curl

Near Vancouver, at Good Hair Day salon in Whistler, British Columbia, Joan Novak (who skis, snowboards —and blogs about it—, knows that half-pipe snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler’s trademark “Crippler 540” involves 1½ aerial rotations and a back flip. When you pull off your toque (hat) for your close up, she says, make a simpler move by misting on Bumble & bumble Reactivating Mist into the areas that need to be reset. “You can also pick up the pieces that have been sprayed, work the mist through to the ends and give your hair a twist to encourage your curl to dry in a perfectly formed bundle with no frizz,” she says. “ to Apres, looking fabulous.”

Throw Down a Hat Trick

Going from the lodge to the slopes and back to a cozy fire requires planning. Completely dry your hair before you slip on your hat—if hair’s still damp, it’ll take on a hat line as it dries. For longer locks, these styling tricks are winners. Section your hair off into 2 or 3 ponytails, then loosely twist them around and secure with a soft hair band. “Before twisting ponys, mist on a dry shampoo to help the hair easily restyle,” suggests Philip Pelusi, owner of namesake salons in Pittsburgh and creator of Tela Beauty Organics. “Once you remove your hat or helmet, untwist each pony and shake it loose. Or, wrap the front of your hair up into a twist and leave the back down. Once you go hats-off, simply release the front. This helps preserve the front that cameras see most—by pulling it upward, you maintain some volume at the root. If needed, apply a bit more dry shampoo to refresh and revive curl.” (Try Tela Beauty Organics by Philip Pelusi Dry Shampoo: You can also use it to piece and separate individual curls, giving them soft and resin-free control.)

Banish the Band

Headbands and earmuffs leave lines behind. If you have wave or curl, mist dry shampoo onto dry hair and tousle through with your fingers tips. Focusing on the indents, lightly scrunch to help move the product thru the hair. Or, says Richard Zuccero of IT&LY Hairfashion, warm your hands with a small amount of IT&LY Hairfashion Purity Design Pure Water Drops and smooth those lines. The combo of warmth from your hands and the high level of hydration from the drops helps remove telltale lines.

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