We want you to have a good hair day. Nay, a good hair year. And to do that, you’ve got to think about making some changes. We’re not suggesting that your current hairstyle needs an edit, but in order to get the most out of it — or rather, in order for it to look its best every single day — you might benefit from a resolution or two.
And what better time to make some resolutions than in the new year? To help hone in on some universal hair-care tips, we sought expertise from barber Alex Brenard. Here are five things — from hair-perfecting products to barbershop etiquette — that will have you on track for a capital-letter Good Hair Year.
Invest in Dry Shampoo
If your hair gets too glossy by day’s end — and if you’ve no time for a proper shower — then there’s an easy fix. Brenard suggests keeping a dry shampoo at the ready, both on your sink ledge or in a gym bag.
“While not a substitute for a real shower with shampoo and conditioner, dry shampoo is a perfect way to refresh your locks if you can’t squeeze in a shower after a long day at work or post-gym,” he says. “It absorbs oils and odor to help you get over the hump before your next refresh.”
It’s also great for the days you don’t shampoo your hair (since it can turn hair dry and limp if you overwash). A good plan is to shampoo every few days and use dry shampoo ad hoc on the in-betweens.
Prioritize Scalp Health
“Remember that healthy skin yields healthy hair,” Brenard says. “Just like the rest of your skin, your scalp also gets dry and flakey, especially when the temp drops. To prevent or correct this, get a moisturizing conditioner with ingredients like avocado oil or shea butter, and use it every time you shower.” This helps nourish the scalp and the hairs, and it will remove excess grease without drying out the hair-nourishing oils produced by your scalp.
As an added tip, Brenard says to combine a few drops of tea tree essential oil with the conditioner, in the palm of your hand. “It will restore balance to your skin’s pH levels, eliminate the flakes and add a satisfying tingle to the entire experience,” he says.
You might be known for having the tightest, cleanest fade in town, but it’s only true if you’ve got a subzero shave. That is, you’ve got to switch from a 0-grade on the clippers to a straight razor shearing: “It’s a close as a shave gets, and it will squeeze an extra couple days out of the skin-tight look,” says Brenard. “A good barber will use some hot foam and/or hot towels throughout the process, too. The razor shave will typically cost a little extra, but it’s a nice way to treat yourself in the new year, and onward.”
Make Your Own Texturizing Sea Salt Spray
“Many people use the new year as a chance to start on a budget,” Brenard says. And cutting out one $30+ purchase might make the difference for a week. So, in place of a top-shelf texturizing spray, you can get that “just came from the beach” tousle with a couple easy ingredients at home. “You can come close to the same professional effectiveness by putting together your own mix of Epsom or Himalayan salt (1 tablespoon), up to 1 teaspoon of coconut or jojoba oil, and a few drops of essential oil of your choice, for scent,” he says. “Mix it all together with 1 cup of hot water and pour into a spritzer bottle, for your own custom salt spray at a fraction of the cost.”
Don’t Keep Your Barber Waiting
When prompted for one tip about the barber-client relationship, Brenard said that all clients should prioritize being on time for their appointments and being prepared, especially in a pandemic: “A typical barbershop appointment is ~30 minutes and if it’s a good shop, there are likely going to be clients waiting for their spot right after yours,” he says.
“To make the most of your allotted appointment time—that is, actually having your hairs cut—come in with at least a rough idea of what you want done. Pictures always help. Perhaps a past haircut you liked, or even a celebrity whose style you dig. While a good barber will be ready to consult and guide you to your ideal look, all barbers cringe a little when a client sits down and states flatly, ‘I have no clue what I want to do.' Your hairstyle is a collaboration with your barber, and all great collaborations come from clear communication.”