Mistake 1: Shampooing with Softening Chemicals
Paraben-laced shampoo is good for a quick fix because, as Dale explains, these chemicals—which are found in all kinds of product from toothpaste to moisturizers—will make your hair feel nice and soft. “But the only reason it feels soft is because its coated in parabens.” says Dale. There’s a longstanding debate in about the possible dangers of parabens—the FDA says they’re fine, but a 2004 study found them in breast cancer tissue. In either case, the shine that comes from a quick paraben fix is no match for lasting healthy shine from a quality styler.
Mistake 2: Applying Product to Bone-Dry Hair
“When I see guys with dull or dusty-looking hair, most often it’s because they’ve used a cream product in dry hair.” That’s a faux pas. “As a rule of thumb, creams and paste should go into hair when it is damp. Stuff like pomade or softer waxes should go in when hair is dry.”
Mistake 3: Clinging to Middle School Past
Most hair gels go in easy, but turn strands crispy in minutes. “Hair paste is perfect for guys that want to break away from a long-standing gel habit. It can provide the same spiky texture, separation, and definition without being crunchy or looking too 1980s.”
Mistake 4: Mussing Hair Like Amateur Finger Painters
To really activate a hair product and apply effectively, you can’t just tease the ends of strands between thumb and forefinger. You’ve got to work in product from the root with the full surface area of both hands. And of course, as Dale says, it’s important to “heat it up in hands so it distributes evenly.”
Mistake 5: Wielding the Comb Post Product Application
“Never use a comb after you apply a paste or cream product to your hair—once you've got it in there it should be hands only,” says Dale. “I recommend combing or brushing hair into the shape you want and then applying product.” The exceptions, of course, are pomades and gels, which are meant to be combed into hair.