Gentlemen, if you're like me…
You haven't tried a new hairstyle in forever.
It's too risky, you think.
What if I can't stand it?
What if it looks objectively AWFUL?
I understand these fears – but you shouldn't let them keep you stuck in your style comfort zone when it comes to hair.
After sporting the same cut for years, I wanted to have some fun with my hair – so I traveled to Denmark to get a radically new haircut from my friends at Slikhaar.
These principles (along with their skills) made sure I was happy with the results:
1. Work With Someone You Trust
It's common sense that getting a good haircut depends on knowing how to find a good barber. Yet so many people will just plunk down in whichever chair is open at the local discount salon – and then complain about the results.
You don't have to spend a lot of money to become a regular with a barber you trust, but you should shop around – and you should be aiming to get the best cut you can afford. Maybe that cut is an hour's drive away, but a new haircut you're not happy with will drag your look down for a lot longer than a couple hours. It's all relative.
You can also reduce your chances of being unpleasantly surprised by bringing the right picture of what you want. This is common advice, but let me reiterate: the right picture.
Look for a model with a similar face shape to you in a photo where you can clearly see the details of the style.
When you bring the right picture your barber won't be asking you hard-to-answer questions like “what kind of cut do you want?” He'll be asking specific questions about length, exactly where your fade will end, and other details that will drastically affect how you wear the style you chose.
2. Give Yourself An Out
Take your new haircut in stages. Ask your stylist to take a quarter inch off at a time. You'll want to let them know you're trying something new and will need to take it slow when you make the appointment – but as long as you tip well there's no problem with asking for extra time.
It's easy to go a bit shorter, but they can't glue your hair back on.
A slower pace will give you an option to stop if you start thinking ‘I don't like my haircut!' – something you can't do when they've already taken an inch of your hair off.
3. Change Direction
If you've watched any of my other videos, you know I wear a classic combover – parted from left to right. The guys at Slikhaar said, “Have you ever tried going from right to left?” And the answer was no, I hadn't. So we gave it a try.
When you want to see a refreshing change when you look in the mirror – but not an entirely new look – one of the best things you can do is switch up the direction.
If you've always had a longer cut with a middle part, try parting on the side. If you usually push your hair forward into a quiff, try slicking it back.
Your hair becomes conditioned to grow in the direction you usually style it, so switching directions will give your style a lot more volume. If you're ready for a change but not a new haircut, this can be a great option.
4. Change Your Style
Another great option for when you want a big change to your look that's low-commitment is introducing a new styling element. I don't usually blow-dry my hair, but the folks at Slikhaar insisted that I give it a try. Adding heat styling gave my usual look way more volume and direction.
Changing the products you use can also have a big impact. While at Slikhaar I tried out their in-house line Vilain, which includes a pre-styling product called Sidekick Zero.
I'd never used anything like it. They told me that if your hair is longer than a couple inches, you should use it before blow-drying to prevent frizz and add texture. It also prevents heat damage, which is important to the long-term health of your hair if you blow dry regularly.
Make sure to ask a lot of questions while you get your hair styled at the barber or salon – you want to be able to duplicate the look when you get home.
Don't be self-conscious about it. They're experts on styling hair – that's why you came to them. Understand every part of the process.
Bonus New Haircut Tip
Practice wearing your new hairstyle to gain confidence with it. In my case, I went out with the new style and forgot I was even wearing it.
Change can be jarring – but if you give yourself time to get used to a different look, you just might realize that the change is a positive one.
I didn't end up keeping the hairstyle I got at Slikhaar. At the end of the day, my old style is lower maintenance and works for me. But I did make a few changes. I've been incorporating their products into my routine, and even though blow-drying isn't for me, the things they had to say about it changed the way I air-dry my hair.
When you go for a new haircut you're learning more about hair in general and how to get it to do what you want. You're also learning about yourself and how different hairstyles look on you. If you always play it safe, you might miss out on a look you really love – so don't be afraid to shake it up.
Want to know the details of my new look and get some inspiration for your own? Click here to see the original video at Slikhaar, where they break out exactly how they gave me this new hairstyle.
Read next: how to cut your hair at home.