Your hair can do some pretty funny things if you don’t style or cut it the right way. Avoid awkward ‘dos by deploying the right tools and styles, which can whip even the wildest of manes into line — so long as you’re aware of what you’re dealing with. Here are three common hair quirks and how to fix them.
Quirk #1: Widow’s peak
When you think of a widow’s peak, you might think of either Eddie Munster or Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — who is rocking one serious widow’s peak. The widow’s peak occurs when the hairline begins to recede on either side. Similar to male-pattern baldness, the peak is unavoidable for some men, but can be corrected by expensive hair transplant procedures or oral drugs like propecia — it’s much easier (and cheaper) to deal with it by simply styling your hair in a way that hides or complements it.
How to fix it
With the right cut and styling, it’s possible to make the widow’s peak disappear. “Jude Law has a widow’s peak, but you’d never think it,” says Elle Medico, men’s stylist at Paul Labrecque Salon in New York City to Esquire, “He manages it by going long on the top, brushing it forward, and keeping it parted.” Medico warns not to part your widowed hair in the middle the way Ryan does, because it will just add to the problem. Also, no buzz cuts allowed because it will only pronounce it, and be sure to keep your hair at least two inches long on top; the sides you can keep long or short. Another great trick? Fix your point by going short on the sides and long on the top, then give it a messy, spiky look with some pomade. If it’s worked for Leo DiCaprio, then it will work for you — the whole thing draws the eye away from your peak to the top of your follicles.
Quirk #2: The side part
If you’ve been paying attention to the hair trends, then you know the side part is a very do-able and advisable style to rock. It’s a great, dapper touch to add to a smart-casual ensemble, but be aware: It can easily be fouled up.
How to fix it
First things first: You need the right hair cut for a side part. Brooklyn-based stylist Nick Arrojo tells Men’s Health that you should ask your barber for a classic, graduated shape with short sides. This cut will contrast the longer, heavier top section, which allows for versatility when you’re styling at home. “By keeping the back and sides short, you retain a strong masculine shape,” Arrojo says. “The length on top will allow for classically sleek or loose and textured styling.”
Next is figuring out the the right place to part. Arrojo recommends that you keep it as close to the ear as possible, approximately where the side part of your head transitions to the crown. “Low parts create a square shape, which looks great on everyone,” Arrojo says. Once you’ve nailed the part, make sure to hold it in place with some styling gel.
Quirk #3: Cowlicks
A cowlick is an annoying little sprig of hair that grows in a different direction from the other hair on your head. They’re most common at the crown, but can appear anywhere on your head where the growth direction forms a spiral pattern and can stick up when everything else lies flat. Often, men can have more than one cowlick. Got that annoying tuft sticking up? The easiest solution might be to buzz it all off, but there’s no need to take it to that extreme.
How to fix it
Slicking on a lot of product is not going to help, so your best bet is choosing the right hairstyle to embrace the natural direction of your hair. If your cowlick is at the crown (at the top and back of your head) you may find that your hair sticks up if not cut properly. You’ll either need to grow your hair long enough so the weight of it holds it down, or cut it short enough so that it doesn’t stick up in the first place (again, this does not mean you should buzz it off).
Examining the direction of your hair growth is essential, because a cowlick will often pop up as a result of trying to style your hair against the growth pattern and a simple brush in the opposite direction can fix the problem. If your cowlick appears in the front of your head or at the neckline a classic taper or a shorter textured haircut can help to minimize the problem. However, fixing a cowlick — no matter where it is — takes a great haircut so you’re going to need to consult your barber on this one, because each man’s situation varies. Ask your barber or stylist to cut your hair dry, so you’ll be able to see how your hair will look without the weight of water holding it down.