Lockdown restrictions are continuing to ease and many men across the UK thinking about their much-needed post lockdown cuts now that barbershops are opening on 12 April. For some, the thought of finally tackling their unruly mop brings a huge sigh of relief, for others, they may feel confused at what kind of cut even looks good on them anymore after a long time away from the barber’s chair.
We’ve caught up with Matt Hughes at Idris Barbering Co. in North London to chat on what the most popular cuts are to help you make a decision, as well as how to come to the barbershop confident on what cut to ask for – either way, the goal is to get you walking out that door feeling like a new person emerging from what hopefully is our last lockdown.
Most Popular Cuts
For the most popular cuts that Hughes does at his barbershop, he says his most common requests are crop haircuts with high or low back and sides – meaning, the cut involves cutting hair short at the back and sides of the head, while leaving it longer on top. Additionally, some men are opting for additional details such as blunt fringes and some curl as well. “We’re getting a lot of requests for very blunt fringes which gives the hairstyle a clean-cut look, as well as bringing out some curl to fall over the head naturally for a bit more definition,” Hughes says.
He also says that during Idris’ brief window of opening in December, many men were opting for a haircut that was a fine line of balancing the length on top and then having sharper back and sides – a “connected disconnect” as Hughes calls it.
Asides from crop cuts and its variations, Hughes says Idris’ regulars are experimenting with lower tapers (a type of fade where the hair gets gradually shorter starting from a lower level, just above the ears), weight lines (the line that creates a contrast between the fade and the part of the hair with the most weight), textures, and using weight to bulk out the hair a bit. “It’s these smaller touches that personalise the haircut to you and make the cut a bit more unique,” Hughes says.
While these are trending as the most popular cuts, you’ll also need to consider your face shape before jumping on one of these styles.
How do you know what cut to get based on your face shape?
Face shape plays a large part in what haircut will suit a person. Hughes says that you’ll want to consider your jaw shape, the curve of your head, and your cheek bones. “You’ll see that there are certain face shapes you’ll want to accentuate and exaggerate and then there are features that you’ll want to soften,” he says.
If you’re not sure, take a quick look online to find a chart and see what shape most closely resembles you and let the barber know. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your barber about your face shape and what hairstyles would suit it best – if there is one time to be honest about how clueless you are with your hair, it’s with your barber.
“It’s important to have a candid conversation about your hair with your barber without feeling any embarrassment,” Hughes says. “Barbers are happy to help you understand what works best for you, so you know the lingo and terminology for the future. Knowing it for yourself allows you to be an active part of the conversation and not just get lumped with any old trim when you’re in the chair each time because the barber thinks he only knows best.”
How to know what to ask at the barber
Hughes says that a core part of their services for their customers is the consultation they provide when they sit in the barber’s chair. “There’s plenty of people out there who struggle to get exactly what they want across to the barber and also barbers’ can misinterpret what their customers’ want exactly,” Hughes says. “Even if you have a picture of a style you want, there are hair types & textures and face shapes that will suit some and not others based on those factors.
However, the barbers are pros and can work to replicate similar results while taking your face shape, hair texture and more into consideration. It also helps the barber when you mention your daily routine, how long you spend styling, what products you use, the desired finish and if there are any problem areas which you most struggle with.
“Having an open discussion between the customer and the barber is essential as they can help offer a realistic alternative that is still close to the cut you may have wanted,” Hughes says. “The extra 10 minutes in the chair having this conversation could make a big difference to the outcome of the cut. It’s essential to ensure that you and your barber 100% believe you’re both on the same page before getting a trim.”
How prepared should we be to deal with our mops if we have another lockdown?
Now, in the off chance we face another lockdown (please, no) how can you plan ahead by choosing a cut that will grow nicely and not into an unruly mop? Hughes suggests getting a cut that you can be confident with styling over time and talking to your barber about how to deal with it when it gets a bit longer.
“It’s good practice to know how to style your hair in different ways as it gets longer, not just for another lockdown, but even if you can’t manage to get your next appointment as soon as you like,” he says. “Your hair needs to work for you until you’re back, so consider investing in a hairdryer, like the Heist Hair Kit, which was made specifically for drying and styling men’s hair and dries short hair in 60 seconds or less.”
He adds, “God forbid we do hit another lockdown but if we do, let’s remember you’ve done it before, and you can do it again if you prepare accordingly.”