Advice From a Barber: New Trends, Common Mistakes, and Proper Barbershop Etiquette

We chatted with Frank Sariles, Baxter of California's resident barber, to get the latest hairstyling know-how—from fresh looks to common misconceptions.

Birchbox Man: So the undercut has come and gone. Are there any men's hairstyle trends that you're excited about in 2015?

Frank Sariles: I'm excited to see “slicker” looks like the duck tail and pompadour making a comeback—some guys blend them with tight fades for a more contemporary look. Side parts are also holding strong, since they're so flexible in terms of styling: The product you use can really define the overall look.

Do you have any personal tips or suggestions for applying a styler to hair?

Have your hair on the dryer end as opposed to dripping wet. Dryer hair helps prevent diluting the styling product.

What factors should a man consider when picking a product for his hair type?

Several! The first is thickness of hair: Men with thick hair may like a styling cream or Hard Cream Pomade since they don't add volume the way clay might, and they don't leave hair feeling smothered. Guys with fine hair should like Clay Pomade since it's good at molding hair without separating it. Texture is another key factor: I encourage men to make the most of their natural curls and waves, and products with shine like Cream and Soft Water Pomade control them and add to their finishes.

What common haircare or hair-styling mistakes do you see guys making the most?

Not combing, brushing, or styling immediately after a shower. Everyone's got their routine and habits, but one thing to remember is that your hair, once washed, is like a blank canvas. Just like paint starts to dry after applying, so does your hair start to dry and set after showering. Thus, the earlier you start styling your hair, the easier it will be, and the more control you'll have. At the very least brush your hair into place—even if it’s just with your hands—so that it dries in the right style.

What are the main etiquette mistakes that guys make at the barbershop?

While we love to serve all clients at Baxter Finley Barber & Shop in West Hollywood, we do advise customers not to wear a hat on the day of the cut or to use too much product earlier in the day. Hair is best when cut in its natural state, and hat hair or gunk can impair your barber’s ability to cut. Coming in with a clean head of hair will be greatly appreciated by your stylist—and you’ll leave feeling like a million bucks.

Do you have any tips for getting on a barber's discounted rate list? Is it just frequency of visits and generous tipping, or is there a secret handshake?

This is each barber's best-kept secret. Just be a nice guy and try becoming friends with your barber.

Do you have any favorite products from Baxter of California?

I love the Baxter of California Clay Pomade, which provides a firm hold with a matte finish. It’s ideal for molding hair to do exactly what you want it to do. The Daily Protein Shampoo and Daily Moisturizing Conditioner are also great for cleansing and hydrating hair, and getting it ready to be cut or styled.

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