Early in the New Year, it's a good idea to examine the basics – hairstyle is about as basic as it gets.
I think men examine men's hairstyles far less than women do their own.
But, like fashion, there is generally less to work as far as men's hair style options than there is with women, but that doesn't mean it doesn't bear examination – and perhaps re-thinking.
Case in point: On Facebook the other day I ran across a picture of a distant colleague. His hairstyle is still stuck in the '70s. Dyed an orangey-brown and styled sort of like Bobby Sherman, long-ish, below his ears, but now kind of puffy and see-through because, of course, it's a bit thinner now, it seems very dated.
I understand – because he still feels as vital as he did then, so he keeps his haircut the same way. But I think he would be far more effective in the workplace and his goals and endeavors if he updated his look.
I turned to James Corbett, owner of the eponymously named James Corbett Studio & Spa in New York City for his thoughts on the subject of men's hair because men's hair color and men's hairstyles happen to be a specialty of his. "I do the coifs of actors to Wall Streeters," he confessed to me, although he 's very discreet about exactly who.
James stresses the importance of men's hair coloring and styling.
You want to make a man look crisp, clean and well rested which the right cut, color, and style can do. But it is important not to overdo it — where a man looks feminine, or too uptight."
Hmm, lots of issues right there. How can a man's hair style make him look more rested?!
A clean men's hair cut can make a man look more rested," James Corbett explains, "because he is not going to look disheveled. It also has to do with shape. When a man's cut gets too round or overgrown, it can lose a classic square shape that is vital to his look."
OK, but I don't understand the feminine aspect. James continued:
Square shapes are masculine and round shapes are feminine. Squaring out a man's face shape can make his face appear more angular — square out his jaw line and make him look sharp."
Ahh, this is exactly the situation with my colleague's picture! So I asked James Corbett about that. He responded:
Men's styling is a fine balance between not looking like you just got a cut and the perfect look of carefree styling. If a man's color oxidizes to the dreaded reddish and brassy, or the obvious root grow-out, then he will look feminine and unnatural."
So how should men approach color?
Coloring for men's hair is more of a smokescreen effect. Think Richard Gere in Pretty Woman as opposed to Wayne Newton's shoe-polish black."
Corbett went on to explain that you rarely see root grow-out on men – nor should you. That's true! I can't remember the last time I've seen that. Which is why you end up seeing the "shoe-polish" look Corbett describes — men with very dark hair just color over every week or two which blurs out any dimension to the hair color.
Mixing the gray with the color — a salt-n-pepper effect is difficult if it doesn't happen naturally but it can be done.
Another way to handle it is to darken the roots, such as the look pictured here on Keith Olbermann — who also demonstrates the "square" hairstyle shape Corbett is advocating.
For more insights on men's hairstyles and color from James Corbett, see his hairstyle advice for the Republican presidential candidates on how to get a cutting-edge cut.