You know how it is. You get the perfect cut, your hair gal/guy throws some magical stuff in it, and you walk out looking like a million euros. Then the next day, when you try to recreate the look after washing, you end up resembling the newest member of Flock of Seagulls. We feel your pain. Which is why we asked top stylist Madison Cosentino, owner of New York’s Studio 219, for the best kinds of product for several popular chop jobs—and how to use them. Give ’em a shot, and you’ll never suffer the indignity of hearing innocent bystanders mutter “I Ran (So Far Away)” under their breath again.
Use it: Cosentino suggests a matte product to achieve a deconstructed look with long hair. Apply product to the ends of the layers by pulling downward on dry hair. To maintain a masculine image with long hair, avoid high-shine products. Unless you want to be mistaken for a girl. Or Tom Brady.
Use it: After hair is washed and towel dried, apply a golf ball sized amount of foam to your palm, then run through your locks. Let air-dry. When dry, your curls will look their best without being weighed down by a heavy, glossy product. The mousse will smooth any frizz while giving your curls definition and separation. You know, like your abs.
Product: Wax or Glue
Use it: Scoop a small amount of product out and work it onto your fingers before sculpting your masterpiece. Apply to dry hair by running fingers through areas where you want hold and texture. For a serious fauxhawk, pull hair forward and separate pieces with the wax for definition. You’ll get a lot of hold minus Jersey Shore shine. No offense, Pauly D.
Style: Prim and Polished
Use it: Apply cream to towel-dried hair, sliding hands from the forehead to the back of the scalp. Let air-dry. This creates that ultra polished look with hold. If you even think of using gunky gel, remember the wisdom of comedian Demetri Martin: “I think hair gel was invented to make it easier to identify assholes from a distance.”
Style: Short and Simple
Product: Moisturizer or Sunscreen
Use it: Moisturizer helps maintain a healthy scalp and prevents dandruff or psoriasis from being an issue with a short cut. Men with short hair have it easy when it comes to styling, but err on the side of caution when outside and lather up with sunscreen. The only people with red heads should be, um, redheads.