How to Style Longer Hair while in lockdown

There is no doubt that our lives have recently changed beyond any recognition and personal grooming is just one of the aspects of our everyday reality, which is taking something of a hit, as we stay at home amidst the UK coronavirus lockdown. And while we all know that maintaining a daily routine is absolutely essential for our general wellbeing and that it is fortifying while working from home in these uncertain times to make sure we face the day, well groomed, freshly shaven and perhaps even spritzed with cologne to keep up a semblance of normality, there are some things beyond our control, such as our hair, growing regardless!

Clearly, it’s a pressing matter, as the topic of ‘How to cut your own hair?’ is increasingly becoming one of the most frequently asked questions related to male grooming on Google. While some on social media advocate drastic measures such as shaving off your locks, we advise a far more measured approach for now and suggest that you make the best of what you have instead. Which means working out how to finesse longer-than-usual hairstyles. To assist you with this task, Truefitt & Hill’s Master Barber, David Olds, reveals his professional tips.

Think about styling

Our Master Barber suggests resorting to tried-and-tested styling methods and adapting these as your hair grows. Olds recommends looking to the glossy styles of the 1920s and 1930s as a reference, when hairstyles were slicked back and gentlemen opted for creams and pomades to maintain their dashing looks.

Instead of thinking of reaching for a pair of scissors and possibly inflicting damage which could take months to repair, think about styling your hair with products that can sweep hair up and away from your face, he advises. ‘Longer hair can really benefit from a wetter look, which is classic and timeless. So apply a product to damp hair, such as our Brillantine Pomade, designed to create a glossy 1920s look, and then slick the hair back and away’, says Olds. ‘This will help create a debonair, matinee idol look – think Cary Grant. A side parting is advisable here; it will create a clear, defined shape’. Now, what could be better than this?

Employ a hairdryer

The easiest way to make longer hair more manageable, says Olds, is a blast from a hair dryer. ‘Hot air will work wonders in terms of softening and smoothing the hair, because the heat makes it more pliable. Use your hair dryer with a small round brush, and work in sections, from your crown to the front of your head, holding the dryer in front of you. Keep turning the brush constantly with your wrist to work through the hair and ensure it is dried evenly and thoroughly; the end result will be much tidier’. Freshly blow dried hair can look floppy and lifeless if left without a product, so apply our Circassian Cream to lend shape. ‘You’ll look more polished and sharp, and your hair will feel softer too’, says Olds.

If you absolutely must, consider clippers

‘I would never recommend cutting your own hair at home. It is an art which requires knowledge and considerable experience and the results of home cut can prove most distressing’. However, if you are truly desperate to trim the hair away from your collar, consider using the clippers, but only on the back and sides, however tempted you may be, do not use these on the top of your head.’, says Olds. ‘This will create a look that’s deliberately ‘disconnected’ but effective; your back and sides won’t be blended into the top part of your hair, but that’s a popular style and can actually look pretty good. I would clipper from temple to temple, in a close shave. Don’t attempt to blend in, because it’s a skill that requires expertise and must be honed’. Olds also points out that, once the hair is long enough, tying the top part in a knot may also be an option for some gentlemen.

In times of crisis such as this, it might seem flippant – superficial even – to focus on the small matter of grooming and personal care. But it is those very elements of daily life that help keep a semblance of continuity, and help arm us for whatever we might have to face feeling pulled together, polished and ready. Whatever happens, we must ensure that we are always ready to put our best face forward to tackle the coming weeks with strengths and fortitude.

Behind our closed doors, Truefitt & Hill’s expert Master Barbers will serve your needs as much as possible, while so looking forward to the return of normal life, when our 71 St. James’s shop opens its doors again and welcomes back our patrons to the familiar and comforting, once again providing a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And open it will…

If you’d like to learn more on how to style longer hair at home, join us on our Instagram and Facebook every Saturday throughout the month of April and watch how our Master Barbers use Truefitt & Hill hairstyling products.

ART OF SHAVING: 5 Steps to Perfect Shave

PREPARATION IS KEY

As our Master Barber Gino Rusu states “preparation is the key to a great shave”. Start preparing the skin either by splashing it with hot water or just step in a shower before you shave. The warm water will not only soften your stubble, making it easier for your razor to cut through your hair, but it also opens up your pores. It will enable your razor to encounter less resistance as it glides across your skin.

PRE-SHAVE & LATHER UP

The next step is applying your Truefitt &Hill shaving products. We recommend starting by applying our Oil generously on the pre-heated, dried skin. That helps to lubricate the glide of the blade so you do not over-exfoliate your skin, helping to reduce razor burn and irritation. Next, prepare a genuine badger brush, by pre-heating it under hot, running water. Next, apply a few dabs of shaving cream to your skin. Using the badger brush, work the cream into the face in a circular motion to produce a rich, moisturizing lather. We suggest one of our signature glycerin-based shaving creams, for example our Trafalgar, or for sensitive skin, Utlimate Comfort Shaving Cream, which is unscented. If you like a more traditional approach, apply the brush to one of our shaving soaps to create the lather – for example our Sandalwood Shaving Soap in a Wooden Bowl.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT RAZOR

When choosing your razor take into consideration what type of skin you have, and how much time you have to shave in the morning. For a fast and efficient shave, we would recommend multi-blade razors, such as the Gillette Mach III or Gillette Fusion. Some of the barbers at Truefitt & Hill recommend Double-Edge Razor, as it gives a closer shave, although you will need to invest a little bit more time in your shave. Our Master Barber, Michael Symeon points out that “A shave should not be a chore, it should be a ceremony.” Spending more time leads to a better experience and result. As the blades for a double-edge razor are more reasonably priced, you can change the blades more frequently, which is better for your skin because there will be less dead skin cells and bacteria build up on your blade, which again helps to prevent irritation.

Whatever your choice, always make sure you have fresh, sharp blades to hand – the sharper the razor, the less drag on the skin and hair bristles. It is very important not to apply too much pressure when shaving as this creates the same kind of damage to your skin that shaving against the grain does. For best results, use gentle strokes and let the weight of the razor guide you into how much pressure should be applied to the skin.

WHICH DIRECTION TO TAKE?

It is important to use a good mirror and lighting to help you shave carefully and with precision. Always start your wet shave with your face muscles relaxed. Now that your skin is ready, and you have the right equipment, you are ready to go. If your neck hair grows in an upward direction, start from the bottom up, but only go to the point where the direction of the hair changes. Then, working from one sideburn across the face to the other, work your razor in a downward motion, again being careful not to cross the point where the hair direction changes on your neck.

We cannot stress enough the importance of shaving in direction with the grain. It might be tempting to shave against the grain in the hope that you achieve a closer shave, but in reality you just risk creating in-growing hairs, razor burn, and irritation. As Master Barber Michael Symeon points out “it is not how close you get the shave, it is how well you look after your skin, because if you look after your skin, your skin will look after everything else.”

MOISTURISE & SOOTHE

The last step of this shaving regime should be a good quality post- shave balm. This will help restore the natural moisture levels in your skin and help reduce any irritation. We recommend our Classic Aftershave Balm with soothing Lanolin and Aloe Vera extract – its original recipe dates back almost 200 years. Alternatively, try our Ultimate Comfort Aftershave Balm if you have more sensitive skin. If you use an aftershave or cologne, apply onto the pulse points (behind your ear and base of the neck) to avoid drying out or irritating the skin in the shaved areas. We recommend trying our Sandalwood Cologne, A fresh zing of Lemon, Lime & Bergamot top notes merge with the lasting subtlety of Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Tonka & Musk to create a modern, sophisticated scent.

Finesse your shaving technique and grow a moustache this November

The crackling blanket of russet leaves across pavements and parks is a reminder that the autumn season is marching on and that, somewhat staggeringly, November is already upon us.

It is also the month of the year when men’s grooming is a global concern, as gentlemen everywhere endeavour to grow a moustache to raise awareness of men’s health. The initiative began in Melbourne in 2003, when a group of friends decided to canvas for sponsorship to grow moustaches in November to donate to testicular and prostate cancer charities. It has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon, raising funds of a staggering $65m, and now focuses its efforts not only to aid cancer research but also on men’s mental health charities.

Cultivating a moustache, or opting to join in No Shave November to grow other forms of facial hair, is by no means a straightforward affair and growing a handsome tash is not as simple as merely allowing your top lip to sprout whiskers. Precise and methodical shaving is paramount as your moustache needs a counterbalance and the rest of your face needs to be clean-shaven. That essential grooming process starts with properly prepared skin.

The crackling blanket of russet leaves across pavements and parks is a reminder that the autumn season is marching on and that, somewhat staggeringly, November is already upon us.

It is also the month of the year when men’s grooming is a global concern, as gentlemen everywhere endeavour to grow a moustache to raise awareness of men’s health. The initiative began in Melbourne in 2003, when a group of friends decided to canvas for sponsorship to grow moustaches in November to donate to testicular and prostate cancer charities. It has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon, raising funds of a staggering $65m, and now focuses its efforts not only to aid cancer research but also on men’s mental health charities.

Cultivating a moustache, or opting to join in No Shave November to grow other forms of facial hair, is by no means a straightforward affair and growing a handsome tash is not as simple as merely allowing your top lip to sprout whiskers. Precise and methodical shaving is paramount as your moustache needs a counterbalance and the rest of your face needs to be clean-shaven. That essential grooming process starts with properly prepared skin.

Unfortunately, so many men still accept that the painful heat of irritation is a natural consequence of shaving and consider shaving a tedious necessary evil to be endured rather than enjoyed. Redness, blotchy patches as well as painful nicks and cuts should not be the result of a clean shave and, as our Master Barbers attest, the exact details of how you shave will determine how your skin will feel afterwards. As there is no doubt that the correct technique and product selection will determine the outcome, there are a number of essential steps to be considered while shaving and caring for your skin afterwards, so that your moustache growing goes as swimmingly as possible and yields a spectacular result!Preparation

‘Temperature is key. The perfect shave starts with warm, relaxed skin, so shaving after having a shower or after applying a steaming warm towel will serve to relax and soften the skin, open up pores, and is essential.’ – says Jason, one of Truefitt’s Master Barbers. ‘Similarly, one needs to apply that same level of heat to your equipment keeping your shaving brush under hot water before applying lather, and also by running your blade under the hot tap.’ Jason adds.Your tools, products (and some tricks!)

The next step should focus on product selection and how to use them correctly. Jason recommends Truefitt & Hill’s Pre Shave Oil, one of our best sellers, which has rightfully earned a considerable following amongst the shaving fraternity. Its unique formulation will not clog the razor blades, as other pre-shave oils on the market may tend to do, while effectively easing the razor glide, moisturising, conditioning and preparing the skin for a close, yet comfortable shave. ‘From there, set about whipping up your lather. This may seem insignificant; however it is an essential part of the technique ensuring a close, comfortable shave.’ Jason says. The consistency of the lather will govern how well it lifts the hairs, making it easier for the razor to glide across and cut the hair shafts at a right angle for a smooth shave. ‘Whip one of our shaving creams in a shaving bowl using one of Truefitt’s shaving brushes making sure that the consistency is fluffy yet firm – it definitely shouldn’t run off the brush, it should form soft peaks’ advises Jason. ‘I recommend the sensual notes of the Sandalwood shaving cream or spicy, yet refreshing accords of the Trafalgar for autumn. Once your lather is ready, apply it in a circular motion to swirl it around the hair follicles and lift the hairs, so lather packs underneath and suspends the hairs in perpendicular position to the skin. Don’t apply the lather in downward strokes as this will flatten the hairs against your skin and result in a very poor shave.’Direction

‘Working with the grain is essential’, says Jason. By this he means an awareness of the direction your stubble follows. Generally, hairs grow horizontally downwards on the cheeks towards the chin, then downwards from there. Lower on the neckline, hairs tend to face upwards. However, the hair direction is highly individual, so a careful examination is essential to establish your hair growth patterns before a successful shave. Guide the razor in the direction the hair flows. Doing so will reduce irritation and ensure a smoother, fluid action as opposed to an aggressive ‘scraping’ sensation.Choice of razor

The choice of razor is pivotal in the effect it will have on your skin, says our Master Barber. For a quick and easy shave opt for a Mach III or Fusion blade – a popular choice for men on the go. The increased number of blades makes the job quicker and the design allows easy pivoting around jawlines, however, it also means that you are making more passes across your skin and taking off more layers, which may result in an uncomfortably (and unnecessarily) close shave. So always ensure you use a pre-shave oil and a well-balanced razor and do not exert too much pressure – a common mistake while using Mach III or Fusion blades.

‘For men who are looking for a more traditional option that is perfect for everyday use and suitable for sensitive skin, I would recommend the double-edged razor (DE razor), which is rapidly gaining in popularity”, says Jason. ‘This more cost-effective choice, allows men to change the blades more frequently and have more control over the number of passes on the skin. The double edge razor blade is also sharper, so it will cut through toughest stubble much easier than the Mach III or Fusion blades’ he adds. Another very important aspect to consider is the weight of your razor. Truefitt’s perfectly balanced razors, such as our handsome DE, Wellington or Edwardian range, will help you achieve a comfortably close shave as the razor’s weight will naturally be balanced, ensuring the correct level of pressure is exerted while you shave.All-essential after care

‘This is where many men make mistakes’, says Jason. After a shave, your pores are wide open and your skin is at its most vulnerable. Without post-shave care and treatment, freshly shaven skin is immediately exposed to external aggressors – walking into the open air will expose the unprotected skin to pollution and fill the pores with dirt particles, causing irritation and infections. To close the pores, apply a cold towel to the shaved area, ensuring that both the cold compress and the towel you use afterwards to pat your face dry, are clean. Follow with one of our shaving balms, which will heal, condition and moisturise the skin – an essential step in your post-shave routine. Matching the scent of your balm to the shaving cream scent and cologne will ensure you layer the fragrance throughout your routine. If your skin is particularly sensitive, try our Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream that is formulated with lavender essential oil, which acts as a subtle antiseptic to heal razor-weary skin, and follow with the unscented Ultimate Comfort Aftershave Balm. Finish off with our Gentleman’s Moustache Wax to soften and hold your moustache in place – whatever stage it is at in its hirsute journey. Most importantly, enjoy your shaving ritual and pride yourself not just on experimenting with a new look, but on doing some good along the way too.