Changing Hairstyles
November 6, 2004 9:37 AM   Subscribe

MeFi for the straight guy? How do I go about changing my hair style? More.

I'm clueless about this stuff. I had basically the same hair style forever until I shaved my head a while back. Now I'm growing my hair back in and getting shaggy. I need to get it cut soon (like "a month ago" soon), but want something different than what I had before. Thing is, I really don't think it would be a good idea to go back to the older italian guy at my last barbershop and ask for something "different".

Can anybody help me out here? I have no idea about the world of hair style. Is this something I have to go to a "salon" for and pay lots of money? Or is there a midpoint somewhere between high fashion and my "just a trim, please" barber? I guess I should point out that I'm not looking for anything groundbreaking here - actually, I'd pretty much only want something relatively mainstream, office-acceptable, and low-maintenance. I just don't know what that is, how to ask for it, or where to go. I feel stupid asking this, but I'm lost.
posted by tirade to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total)
You're not stupid for asking this question. I find the best way to find a good stylist is to ask someone who's hair cut you like where they go. If you're not comfortable asking another guy, then ask a girl.
posted by Juicylicious at 9:50 AM on November 6, 2004

I've been trying to find an answer to this question for a long time. I tend to be conservative with my appearance, and it's hard for me to work up the courage to change something drastically. Also, I don't like to use gel/other product in my hair so that rules out a lot of styles.

So, AskMe, please help me and tirade.
posted by TurkishGolds at 9:58 AM on November 6, 2004

I go into my "For Men Only" hair-cutting place and tell the stylist to do whatever she wants. And she does. And in the past fifteen years, I've been unhappy with the result just once.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:15 AM on November 6, 2004

I've had a drastic change once and I splurged on a very expensive salon that was highly recommended and showed up and just asked for a short, interesting haircut. They delivered and I was very pleased. It also stayed looking good for quite a while after the cut, which is more than I can say for other cuts I've had.

I used to have a stigma about going to a barber shop vs. going to a "salon" until I moved into one place and got a visit from the Welcome Wagon with coupons for local businesses including coupns for haircuts from two local salons. At my age then, it was easy to get past the "it's a place for girls" stigma with "free haircut" staring me in the face.
posted by plinth at 10:36 AM on November 6, 2004

What FFF said. Just tell the stylist to do whatever (I usually just say "make it shorter"). It would be a good idea, however, to tell the stylist what you do for a living. Are you a lawyer/doctor or a punk-rock drummer? Obviously different haircuts are appropriate in different situations.
posted by falconred at 10:39 AM on November 6, 2004

Or if you see an ad in the paper or a magazine with a hair style that you like, rip it out, and bring it to the salon.
posted by gramcracker at 11:23 AM on November 6, 2004

I know that many stylists hate it when women come in and say "Change it", because there's almost never a happy ending there, but they love it when guys come in and do the same, because they're usually pretty happy with the results.

A good stylist, by which I mean the non-chain $7.00 haircut places, can scope the shape of your head and face, get a feel for what you do and can generally show you some pictures of what he/she is thinking about doing. Haircuts are one of those things, like clothes, where you get what you pay for. (Although, there is a price point at which even I consider it ridiculous. There's a salon in Austin that wanted $350 to cut and color my hair...and a 20% tip on top of that. I'm sorry, but *nobody* is that good.)

I have friends all over, where are you located? Maybe I can get someone to give a recommendation for your area.
posted by dejah420 at 11:24 AM on November 6, 2004

Yeah, just ask the stylist. The ways tirade and TurkishGolds described their needs is a good start already. My basic needs in a haircut are short, no spiking, low maintenance, and a neckline that grows out gracefully. That's pretty much what I told my stylist when I wanted to change.

So, I went from a sort of surfer style to a mostly clipper cut and it was the stylist who helped me figure out which guard was best for me (#3), how short I could have the top without it spiking, and how to do my neckline.

She also pointed out all the cowlicks and other annoyances - the hair on the base of my neckline grows up - and told me my general options for hairstyles that would work out (either very long or very short).

I no longer have a regular place I go to, but I have a basic formula that keeps me happy.
posted by Sangre Azul at 11:39 AM on November 6, 2004

"High and tight, start with a triple-aught above the ears." Works every time.
posted by red cell at 10:57 PM on November 6, 2004

If you do give the stylist free rein on your hair, but you end up not liking the results, you should tip them well anyway. You decided to take the risk; don't take it out on them.
posted by kindall at 8:18 PM on November 7, 2004

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