David Mallett Reveals How Modern Men Can Get Great Hair
Your hair is a reflection of your personal style, revealing not only who you are but who you want to be. A good cut and style can show the world you’re a motivated professional who leaves no detail unturned, while a less-than-flattering ‘do can have the opposite effect. But if you’ve been rocking the same style since you were in your teens, the world of haircare might seem a tad overwhelming. Fear not, readers: The Cheat Sheet sat down with David Mallett, owner of the luxurious Paris-based David Mallett Salon and developer of several well-reprieved haircare products, to talk about the best hair styles, his haircare routine, and his advice for anyone wanting to rock the perfect head of hair.
The Cheat Sheet: How did you get into the haircare industry?
David Mallett: You know, I have been secretly obsessed with hair since I was a little boy. Already having worked in Australia, the UK, and Italy, I arrived in Paris at the age of 27. It was kind of an accident. There was no plan when I came to France. When I got a last-minute call asking if I’d fly to Paris to style Lenny Kravitz for a magazine shoot with cult photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino — the hairdresser had been taken ill — I sprinted to the airport. The editor was Emmanuelle Alt. She asked me if I wanted to work on another shoot the next day. It all took off from there.
When I opened my salon back in 2003, I wanted this place to be like walking into a fantasy, something different that one would expect from a traditional salon. That’s the whole point! And our philosophy and approach to work has remained eclectic and conglomerate. I couldn’t imagine anything more boring than, for example, a dress code or uniformity, in general. Quite the opposite — my team is as colourful and multi-national as it gets, bringing together so many different tastes and people.
CS: What does an average day look like for you?
DM: An average day would be looking after clients, running a team, developing products, decorating the space, designing perfumes, lighting candles, and trying to be a good dad and a good partner.
CS: How does good hair go hand-in-hand with good style?
DM: Hair and style both have to mirror what the person is and feels inside — hair can say a lot about a person. Most important is to accept your own personal sense of style. Show looks are meant to inspire you, not to be copied. If you copy catwalk looks and wear them to the office, you tend to look ridiculous. When you look at an image, remember: Dilute it, tone it down, and take one or two interesting pieces from it – then you can take it to the office or wear it to the party. Never do copy them literally, please!
CS: Why is hair care important?
DM: Hair care is as important as a good cut or colour. Taking interest in your own well-being is a strong sign of loving yourself. And there is nothing better than having beautiful, healthy hair that is well taken care of.
CS: Do you have any favorite haircuts or hairstyles?
DM: I’m mad about the 80s, late 70s – early 80s styles drive me crazy. Kate Bush’s hair just makes me dream, as does Stevie Nick’s from Fleetwood Mac. I loved Bo Derrick’s braids, I loved Farah Fawcett’s sun-kissed blow-dry, Jerry Hall’s long waved manes, Grace Jones’ flat top, Annie Lennox’ short red crop. This period was really cross-referenced, highly-derivative and extremely creative for hairdressers.
There are very, very few hair styles that I actually hate – if you hang around a wait enough, everything could become cool. I suppose the most ultimate haircut of all time for me was Debbie Harry – platinum blonde bob with the black underneath – I suppose for me it would be the ultimate cool hair.
Any particular era in fashion I also identify myself would be the 1970s period of Yves Saint Laurent.
CS: Do you have any hair styling tricks that modern men should know about?
DM: I think it’s time they threw away their Gillette razor for the time being, and got a beard clipper. This time in men’s fashion it is all about having a short beard and slightly outgrown hair.
CS: What hair products would you recommend every man have/use?
DM: Regarding our David Mallett products, many of our clients opt to use the hair mask on a regular basis for an extremely intense result. Hydrating your hair is extremely important.
I would also recommend to use our first product, Hair Serum #DM027. We developed this exclusive hair serum with an intimate understanding of the needs of our clients. Unlike all other serums on the marketplace, this product is not just to correct damage, but to enhance styling, and also incredibly easy to use.
If I could recommend another product, it would be our brand new Australian Salt Spray. It is a great product to achieve texture and movement to the hair, and perfect as a styling product – without real styling! This spray has the necessary mineral extracts and is carefully crafted for all hair types, be it straight, wavy, curly – coloured or chemically treated.
The inspiration is my youth, holidays, and sea breeze, boating, and surfing. I’ve always loved vacation hair: tussled, clumpy curls and cascades of thick waves. I also wanted a fresh and clean summer air-type smell that reminded me of a warm breeze, instead of a heavy and oily frangipani scent. Our salt sea mist is like an Australian holiday hair in a bottle.
CS: What advice do you have for someone who wants to switch up his look and try something different?
DM: I think it is mostly a question of age. When we’re younger, our life is all about the discovery of yourself. It is time to experiment, to try new things, which might include even accidents and to get as much external influence — from cinema, music, arts, fashion. It’s THE time to have fun.
Men in their fourties have had enough time to develop a personal style, which is just not a fashion statement. I would always suggest subtle haircuts and I am normally adverse to colour unless it is really well done. And in your sixties, your hair should be chic, simple, and understated. Forget bad colour jobs – grey hair is beautiful.
CS: What does your haircare routine look like?
Absolutely minimal. I wash my hair with my products, put a helmet on, and ride a scooter to work in the morning. It might sound ironic, but my hair is of no interest to me at all.
CS: If guys only do one thing to their hair every day, it should be:
DM: Don’t wash hair too frequently.
CS: Do you think having a great hairstyle can improve your life? How?
DM: I believe that beauty, including beautiful hair, makes people dream — men and women alike. It is a simple philosophy but quite hard to achieve.
CS: Best hair care advice you’ve ever received?
DM: Keep it simple.