Men, you’re almost certainly using hair product wrong

It’s all in the fingertips.
It’s all in the fingertips.
Image: AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
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Here’s how you probably put product in your hair, whether it’s pomade, clay, wax, or just about anything else: You scoop a glob into your palm, rub your hands together to spread it evenly, and then run it through your hair, starting at your hairline and working it back, right?

That’s wrong, says Kristan Serafino, a stylist with celebrity clientele including Ryan Reynolds, Shawn Mendes, and many others. It’s true that method will get some stuff into your hair, but it won’t be in the places it needs to be to work most effectively.

Serafino, who Allure dubbed “Hollywood’s most sought-after groomer,” explained the common mistakes guys make at a recent hair tutorial hosted by Rudy’s Barbershop in New York and Very Good Light, a men’s beauty blog with a fresh perspective on masculinity.

“The biggest thing with pomade is that you want to make sure when you take it, you put it on your fingertips,” she said. “Depending on the amount of hair, I start off with a pea size to a dime. Again, I don’t rub it in my palms, I rub it between my fingertips.” She also explained that she errs on the side of starting with less product, because you can always add more if needed, but you can’t remove it without jumping back into the shower.

For short hair, the goal is to work the product into the roots of your hair, which is what allows you to control it and create texture. (If you have long hair, use product at the roots, and then you can use a little at the ends, too, to shape them.)

That’s the case no matter what texture of hair you have, Serafino said. Just off the press tour for Reynolds’s new movie, Deadpool 2, Serafino showcased her technique on a range of clients: black, Asian, and white men, and a woman with long bleach-blonde hair, using product to add volume and get the hair behaving.

Palm-rubbing wasn’t the only error Serafino corrected. Most guys she sees don’t realize that you should start working the product into your hair at the back of your head, not the front.

“What happens when you go to the front, the hairline is here, immediately this hair becomes too weighted, too greasy, too oily,” she said. Particularly for guys whose hair is receding, most of the hair is at the back of the head. “So we start with the back first, and then what’s left in my hands is the right amount, so then I can come in through the front and create texture.”

The advice should be helpful to plenty of guys. The men’s grooming market is a booming business, worth tens of billions annually. So it’s worth figuring out how to properly use all this stuff we’re buying.