Say what you will about the fellas from MTV's "Jersey Shore": They are shallow, behave ridiculously and exhibit the combined brainpower of a single capuchin monkey. However, they do have unique looks, especially when it comes to their hair. (We won't touch their flash-meets-crash wardrobes.)
In fact, their hair is their signature. When Pauly D let his blowout go flat for GQ magazine, all hell broke loose. Nobody recognized him. The backlash was horrible.
So while you might not want to emulate these guys physically, emotionally or intellectually, you might want to try out one of their unique hairstyles. How can you get one? That's easy -- Vinny, Mike, Ronnie and Pauly go to a barbershop, not a high-end salon.
The key is instructing the barber correctly, according to Garret Pike, who is a barber in Queens and a high-end stylist in New York City who has seen it all when it comes to hair: "Any man who knows what to ask -- and has the right product to maintain it -- can get a ‘Jersey Shore' look."
Here's what to say and do if you want to look like one of the guys:
Desired Hairstyle: THE PAULY D
"He starts with a very full haircut called a ‘tape up' -- actually a low fade with a tape up," says Pike. "All the hair around his ears and neck are faded. It starts very short near the ear and gets longer as it goes up. On top, Pauly's hair is actually pretty long."
To style it, Pauly gets a blowout, meaning he uses a blow-dryer to get his hair to stand up. "He adds gel to wet hair and starts drying," says Pike. "You can use any brush, but a flat brush works best, and you need to keep brushing the whole time."
When you get the shape you want, reapply more gel and then add hair spray on top of that. This keeps the hair from moving or falling down. Any spray works, but a brand called Alagio Fast Freeze ($9) is popular.
Tip: Unlike clay or pomades, which include oil, gel is water-based, so it's easier to wash out with shampoo. But if shampoo isn't enough to wash away the gel and hair spray combo, "Crack two eggs in a bowl," says Pike. "Shampoo with whatever you're using and rinse. Then, rub eggs in your hair and shampoo again. This should get rid of anything in your hair."
Desired Hairstyle: THE VINNY
"He has a Caesar tape-up," says Pike. "That's when you taper the sideburns and the back from the neck up." Then, Vinny gets a lineup with super-straight lines around the temples and sideburns.
"I've seen him with pointy sideburns or just faded sideburns," says Pike. "Regardless, he keeps it tight. His barber probably uses a No. 1 1/2 or No. 2 guard on top -- maybe a No. 1. -- and he applies no product."
Desired Hairstyle: THE RONNIE
Ronnie gets a high fade. It's more like a faux hawk with a high fade on top. His barber uses clippers to cut the side and then uses scissors on top. He also gets a lineup around the front. This gives him a carved, sharp look. His barber probably uses a smaller electric clipper.
For product, he adds some wet-look gel or something equally strong, such as PHYTO Wet or KMS.
Tip: Apply gel to wet hair for a wetter look. Also, use more than you should to really keep your style in place. Gel washes out fairly easy, so don't worry too much about getting it out at the end of the day. And if you are really concerned about your hair moving, then use some hair spray on top of your final look just before going out.
Desired Hairstyle: "THE SITUATION" (MIKE)
"He gets a bald fade, which is a really tight fade," says Pike. "Sometimes he gets head designs drawn on the side; they're carved into the short hairs with a detailer."
A bald fade means the lower half from the temple down is bald, and then it slowly gets a little longer above the temple, fading upward. The top of his head is choppy, probably cut with scissors.
Mike's sideburns are what we call a "shape-up." First, they're trimmed with clippers, and then the shape is finished with a straight razor to get the details sharp.
For product, he uses pomade with shine. Gel would make his hair look thinner, but pomade keeps everything more piecey and messy -- more casual-looking."
Aaron Krach, former grooming editor of Cargo magazine, is a writer and editor based in New York City. His work has appeared in InStyle, Out, and TimeOut New York, as well as on Esquire.com. Aaron is a frequent contributor to Style and Tech for Men.
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