Your style game can be flawless, your clothes impeccable and your footwear straight from the runway but all of that isn't worth a cent if your hair won't behave.
It's all very fine to walk into your barbers with a tear-out of Chris Hemsworth and expect to walk out like a carbon copy. The truth is if you have a double crown you could end up looking like you stuck your finger in a socket.
To find out how to tame the wildest manes we talk to James Gallagher of Gallagher Galway on what the biggest obstacles are in men's hair cutting and if there are any simple fixes.
This week we tackle Cowlicks, Widow's Peaks and that pesky Patchy Beard!
Remember Alfalfa from The Little Rascals - that was one hell of a cowlick! A cowlick — sometimes called a "hair whorl" — is a small group of hair that either stands straight up or lies in the opposite direction of the way a person wants to comb his or her hair. You will recognise that you have one if you are always fighting with your hair to keep a shape or style - just when you think you've mastered your mane an unruly clump of hair shoots up! Well don't worry - you're not alone. Nearly everyone has at least one cowlick.
How to fix: Go With The Flow
The biggest mistake lads make in trying to tame a cowlick is slapping on product. This won't help.
Firstly you have to choose the right hairstyle to compliment the natural direction of the hair. If your cowlick sticks up at the back of your head, an experienced barber will leave a little more length there to help with it down. If the cowlick is at the front, again it's length that is the hero. A longer fringe will help tame the rogue hairs.
It is important too to always respect the natural direction of the parting - you cannot fight nature. And don't despair - you're in good company. Some of the best looking styles out there depend on a good cowlick. Celebrities that have embraced theirs include Tom Hardy, Zac Efron, Leonardo Dicaprio and Chris Hemsworth.
Bottom line an experienced barber will help identify and guide you to the right haircut to work around your cowlick and not make it stick out!
Problem: The Widow’s Peak
The widow's peak can be naturally occurring in both men and women or can happen when the hairline starts to recede on either side.
Notwithstanding expensive routes like transplants, the peak is unavoidable for some men.
How to Fix: Embrace it or hide it!
First things first. Widow's peaks are genetic so you really have 2 choices. Embrace it or hide it. I work with both options well and there are lots of good options here.
For me the secret is in choosing a widow's peak haircut that is right for you.
Short or thinning hair - If the widow’s peak is too deep and the hair is thinning, a long hairstyle just looks like you are trying to cover it up. For lads with thinning hair I would always recommend cutting hair short to blend into a widow’s peak.
When there is plenty of hair you can go with either long or short style.
Short option: I would recommend a crew cut on top coupled with a fade or undercut on the sides. This minimises the difference between the bald spots. This gives a really edgy and styled look.
Longer layers on top can hide the receding hairline - like a quiff or a slick back. The advantage here is that the hair towards the front of the peak will naturally fall to the side if it’s an inch or two long. If cut right this creates a very natural look that suits most face shapes.
If your hair is even longer on top, slicking it back is a great idea, especially if the hair line is very uniform. This creates an extremely eye-catching shape.
Widow's Peak with receding hairline - If your hair does come with a notably receding hairline, you might want to grow a beard to draw more attention to that area of your face. This is a very effective way to maintain a great groomed look. Speaking of beards....
Problem: A Patchy Beard
I would say the customer base at Gallagher Galway has a higher than normal bearded demographic. And I like to believe that the reason for this is I know beards.
Having a beard myself I am well acquainted with the trials and tribulations of growing a beard. And right up there in beard woes is the dreaded patch. The little (or not so little ) patch where your beard refuses to make an appearance. Unfortunately, little can be done to fix a patchy beard, but fear not, I have fine tuned the art of beard trickery to give a result that even Grissly Adams would be proud of.
How to Fix: Clipper Trickery
My advice in dealing with the patch is - if you can't fix it hide it. A little creativity with the clippers is needed. Depending on where the patches are, a good beard shape and trim can set you on the right road - a lot can be done to incorporate these patches into your hair growth using flattering angles. Or you can choose to keep the rest of your beard trimmed so short that the patches are hardly noticeable.
While there’s always the option of trimming and shaving your own beard yourself, you’re probably the first to admit that you’re not a professional barber. If you’re not trimming your own hair, why should your beard be any different? You could try an electric beard trimmer, but all that does is basically give your face the equivalent of a buzz cut. You could whip out the scissors (provided you actually own hair scissors and not a pair of nail scissors ) and attempt to snip your way to rugged handsomeness. Still, with that option, there’s a good chance you may be left without much beard at the end of your endeavours.
A visit to your beard barber will give you the tidy, even lines that will help to make your patchy beard look more clean cut - drawing the eye to the overall shape as opposed to any patchiness in the middle. I pay particular attention to tapering the sideburns so that they blend smoothly into the facial hair. This creates a sharper border around the rest of your face. In the same vein, keeping the border of the beard neat and clean, especially around the cheekbones, jawline, nose and lips helps to create that sharp, clean look.
Next week we talk to James about how to ask your barber for the style you want and get the best outcome from your barber chair visit.
Gallagher Galway is located on 61 lower Dominick Street Galway.
Opening hours 10am-6pm.
Email: [email protected]