The other day, a barber took a chunk of hair out of the back of my head.
It wasn’t my first time at the barbershop. I had the same cut by the same guy four times and I had no reason to distrust the guy behind the clippers. But maybe four times with a guy isn’t enough.
My barber selection is very strict and I’m extremely loyal. My last barber was the amazing Cecelia from the famous Diego’s in DC. She was the only person to cut my hair for about 5 years before I moved to NYC.
Sure, there were times when things were a little shorter than I wanted, or I had to make a few adjustment with my clippers at home. But I’d never been in a situation where there was an entire missing chunk of hair that was shaved off.
In my barber’s defense, he showed me the back as I squinted to see it. I thought the black blobs I saw without my glasses were fine. I trusted the dude for heaven’s sake! Oh, I also literally blindly trust my barbers. I can’t see shit without my glasses so I just sort of explain what I want, then my glasses are off and go into take-the-wheel-Jesus mode. Assuming my barber’s name is Jesus. I don’t think it was. Come to think of it, I don’t know his name – maybe that’s a red flag.
So when I came home to show off to my girlfriend via Snapchat, I did a triple take on my newly paved runway on the back of my head.
I had a wedding to attend that week, so I had to turn it around. Lo’ and behold, back when my hair needed no help but a good conditioner wash, I was at a Kiehl’s Grooming Solutions event and received a swag bag of all their hair products. It’s the brand’s first Little did I know this would be the thing to rescue me from this nightmare of a haircut.
(Photo by Benzamin Yi/Very Good Light)
1 Cream Wax, $16
This is a medium hold that adds a very light, natural shine (it’s meant to be a no-shine wax). This product’s special power is the ability to keep changing your hairstyle throughout the day with that natural woke-up-like-this look. It also means that wind and walking at a New Yorker’s pace can shift things around. For my delicate style of a comb over the back, yet holding my front up with some volume, I needed something stronger. This wax was great for when my hair was free to go any which way it wanted and still look fine. My hair no longer has that freedom in its current state. Instead, I used this to add a little more hold to the gel and clay.
I would akin this product to American Crew Fiber but the Cream Wax is much more subtle in its shine, which I appreciated.
2 Styling Gel, $18
I haven’t had gel in my hair since 2005 when everyone owned a tub of LA Styles’ fluorescent gels. So I was a bit skeptical when this product resurrected in my test line up. But my hair was f***ed anyways, so why not see what happens? This isn’t your typical rock hard hair gel, but it’s much softer with the same shine of I-just-got-out-of-the-shower. No flakes like back in the day, though, and it smells great. All their products have a cedarwood, sandalwood, and eucalyptus scent base.
So I put some of this on before going out and I can tell there’s too much going on with the shine, and not quite the hold I needed. It flattened out my voluminous hair a bit. This is meant for shorter hair, to which it will hold and not be messed up by wind or helmets, according to Kiehl’s demonstration model sitting on a motorcycle with 9 fans blowing him non-stop. Sounds like the life.
To add the extra hold without adding more shine, I got a dab of the cream wax and applied it to the part of my hair that needed the extra attention. AKA the part where I need to keep my comb over back in place.
3 Texturing Clay, $18
This is the stronger one that will lockdown your, well, locks. Now I’ve definitely used stronger clay waxes – my favorite being Bedhead Matte Separation Wax. The difference with this is that it is much much easier to wash off. The entire line is water-based, so it’s not a struggle to shampoo off.
The texture that is added on is a nice matte finish, meaning that it’s in between the cream and gel in terms of shine. It’ll look like you do have some product in, but people will have to ask you to make sure. When they ask you, you can tell them that it’s Moroccan Lava Clay, because that’s the special ingredient in this product. This was all in the plan.
At the end of the day, yes, getting my hair shorn in a chunk was not fun. But with a little product and imagination (and lots of patience) I was able to cover it up for the most part.
Two big takeaways from this experience: 1) mix your hair products to get the look you want without looking like you overdid it, even if you overdid it and 2) wear your damn contacts when getting haircuts!