What does your hair care routine look like when you leave the barbershop? For some, it might not look like much at all. For others, that story might be the complete opposite. But here’s the thing: If you’re not doing at least something in the aftercare realm in-between visits, you should.
Before we jump into anything else, let’s talk about what aftercare means. In the self-care sphere, the term is used to describe the recovery or healing process after a service. In other words, it’s the routine you do to maintain your new look—in this case—haircut.
Aftercare is extremely helpful and important. For starters, it’s going to maintain the look and feel of your initial haircut. Additionally, an aftercare routine could help you identify any problem areas to bring back to your barber. Plus, it’s a great way to fit self-care into your schedule.
So, what does an aftercare routine look like? For the most part, it’s up to you. Create a routine that works for your hair and the cut, and that you can manage. In this post, we’re going to talk about the basics you should keep in mind, as well as some steps that are universally applicable. Of course, if you’re ready to pick a new barbershop to call your home, don’t forget about booking using Booksy.
Let’s jump right in!
1. Use the right products.
If you want a style that makes aftercare easy and effective, start with the products you’re using. What’s in your current lineup?
For instance, if you’re wearing a cut that requires styling products, one of them should be a pre-styler. Think of pre-stylers as a warmup—it gets your hair ready to hold products and protects it from being damaged.
A pre-styler sounds pretty great, right? In fact, you might already own one and have no idea. As an example, mousse is a thickening pre-styler that stretches the strands of your hair, providing a volumizing effect. If you have small flyaways you want to keep in place, try mousse.
Another great choice for a pre-styler is sea salt spray. Use it on the tips of your hair to give your cut extra height Pomade also gives you the same result. It keeps hair in place and doesn’t over-dry your roots.
Pre-stylers will make the rest of the products you use in your aftercare routine shine. Be sure to always prep your hair before styling.
2. Get a cut that fits your hair type.
Hair is objective. Essentially, there’s no “correct” or “incorrect” way to get a haircut—ultimately, it’s up to you. With that, however, some cuts are going to be easier to manage during aftercare than others. This is because of hair type and texture.
Hair type and texture are important factors, and not just for aftercare. They’re also important when determining what type of haircut you should be getting. Some cuts aren’t going to look the same on everyone. If you’re unsure, consult your barber! They’re going to know what will work best for you and what won’t.
For example, dreadlocks are a popular choice for African-American men. African-American hair tends to be more thick, curly, and prone to breakage. Locking hair in dreads protects thick hair variations from breakage and sun damage. This is why it’s also known as a protective style. But, if someone doesn’t have the thick hair needed to sustain dreadlocks, that hair will become matted and dirty.
On the flip side, if you’re thinking a shorter cut won’t require any styling, most actually do. So it’s good to think about how much time you can put into aftercare before your next cut.
3. Don’t overdo it.
It’s known as a cardinal rule when it comes to hair, but that’s because it really is so important. During styling and especially aftercare, a little goes a long way.
You might think you have to pile on product when you’re mimicking your barber’s skill. After all, when you’re in the chair, you might see your barber using a multitude of products. While that’s true, at home, you have to be mindful of buildup and how it can affect your hair.
Make sure you’re reading directions so you know how much of a product to apply. Admittedly, when something seems straightforward, reading instructions usually isn’t at the top of my mind. However, that’s how you’ll know how to use and apply the product, all while avoiding excess buildup.
This rule also goes for the products you use to wash your hair. Shampoo strips and dries hair of oil, dirt, and grime. So while it’s cleaning, it’s also drying. Shampoo can be a huge factor in a dry scalp, so only use what you need for aftercare.
4. Wear your natural hair to allow for “breathing room.”
This one is not just for long hair! How many times do you throw extra gel or an elastic band in your hair when you don’t want to do much else? (Or when your haircut isn’t turning out the way it did earlier?) When you want to give your hair the shop look, it seems automatic to reach for as many products as possible to get it done, right?
Sometimes, the best solution is to do the minimum. Skip the styling products—just let your hair breathe. Think about it: If hair is constantly being weighed down and manipulated by stylers, there’s not much room for your natural hair to be on its own.
In the same vein, continuously tying hair up in a ponytail or bun is going to put stress near the middle of your hair. You might notice your hair becoming thinner where you put bands. This means your hair is growing weaker by being pulled by the bands so much.
So give your hair some room to breathe and spend a couple of days without any extra products. You’ll find how much healthier your hair feels when it’s allowed to be in its natural state. Plus, it’s way less for you to do when it’s time to style.
5. Always condition your hair, always.
Conditioner is one of those products everyone should use. It’s a common misconception that men don’t need to use it. But remember earlier in this post, where we talked about how drying shampoo is? This is where conditioner comes in.
You may have heard that men don’t need to condition their hair until it’s at a certain length. However, if you’re using shampoo, you should use conditioner as well. Like every great duo, one does what the other doesn’t.
Now if you want your hair to be extra soft, remember not to over apply conditioner. If you want more moisture, use more water when you’re washing. You can also invest in a deep conditioner. It’s a product formulated to moisturize your hair deeply and can be a weekly companion to your regular washing or aftercare routine.
These are just five steps to keep in mind, but remember, your routine can be curated just to fit you. Now you have a solid jumping off point to get you going. You might even be doing some of these steps already—let us know. And of course, if you’re ready to book your next haircut, don’t hesitate to get started looking on Booksy.