Birchbox Man Q&A: Vaughn Acord, Stylist and Founder of V76 by Vaughn

We catch up with famed men’s hairstylist Vaughn Acord for some styling expertise, and to learn about his new line of products.

v76 Vaughn Acord starting cutting and styling hair in 1976, inspired by icons like David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. But his first client wasn’t a rock star—it was his younger brother, somewhat cornered into a makeshift barber chair. He has since moved on to heavy hitters like Springsteen, Pacino, and Clinton. But his newest product line is named for the hair-centric year he gave his brother that first cut: It's called V76 by Vaughn. We caught up with the legendary stylist to seek some expertise before heading to our next hair appointment.

BB Man: What’s the best way to communicate a desired style when you take a seat in a barber’s chair?

Vaughn: I prefer that guys bring a picture. They might say they want an angle in the front when they actually need layering. Haircut terminology isn’t universal for people, and pictures get right to the point, zeroing in on the length, texture, style of hair, most importantly, the mood. That photo gives us a grounding that we can work off of.

BB Man: What's the best way to find a styling product suited to your hair?

Vaughn: Products are either going to add weight and moisture to hair, or lift it up and dry it out. Waxes, pomades, and creams are going to add moisture and wetness. Those kinds of products you put in dry hair only. They’ll never dry if you put them in hair that’s already wet. With these, you’re celebrating the haircut and letting the hair do what it wants to do. Gels and pastes, on the other hand, are stronger and can be put into wet hair. They’ll thicken the hair and give it volume, and it will dry the way you set it.

BB Man: Any predictions on the next hot hairstyle for men?

Vaughn: For styles, I think we will keep seeing hard lines and very strong looks. I don’t think we’ll see wet looks on the rise, and we won’t be moving back to Nirvana-type looks. Faces will get clean again, but people will want you to know that they have product in their hair, so you’ll see purposeful products on the shelves: products that give volume, movement, definition. It’s cool to be aware of trends, but don’t be trapped by them. Take the time to know what is actually best for you—what will make you look the best. That’s what will make you confident.

BB Man: You’re a hair expert, but some products in your new assortment go beyond hair care. What common tie do your products share?

Vaughn: I’ve spent many years grooming men for photographs. More times than not it goes beyond the guy’s hairstyle—fixing patches of facial hair he forgot to shave, dry lips, or uneven sideburns. I entered this world of editorial in New York and found myself looking at the whole guy before he went on camera. This is “full-on grooming.”

Photos courtesy of V76 by Vaughn

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