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Last updated: June 13, 2018

5 Tips To Master Men’s Grunge

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As a TIGI® stylist, talent educator and seasoned New York Fashion Week hairdresser, Joel Torres  knows a thing or two about fashionable hair. His work has appeared in Italian and American Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and InStyle, among others, and he’s also our go-to guy for predicting upcoming men’s hair trends. So when we asked him what’s trending in men’s hair, he gave us a sneak peek at what’s sure to be hot this season.


“For the last couple of years, we’ve seen everything from the ’40s coming back,” notes Joel. “Clipper cuts, the really short sides, the hard side part…But now everything is changing. Men are coming into the salon and asking for something else—a twist.” What Joel is predicting is a shift from polished to punk—think Kurt Cobain circa 1991. “That grungy, natural, undone kind of feeling,” Joel says. So what can you do to help your clients seamlessly transition from dapper ’40s to grungy ’90s? Here are five expert tips from the men’s hair guru himself.


1. Add Some Disconnected Length to the Top
To evolve from short and sleek to edgy and overgrown, Joel recommends trimming the sides, but letting the hair grow out on the top and in the fringe area. “Short on the sides and long on top is something we are starting to see a lot on the street,” he says. To make the transition, create a horseshoe parting and work the sides and back with clippers and the top with shears, creating a radical disconnection. Finish the look using TIGI® Bed Head Matte Separation Wax to create the perfect style with texture and movement.



2. Experiment with New Products
When hair is longer, it’s more difficult to keep it slick and straight with a gel, so what better time to experiment with new and different products on your clients? “In the ‘90s, people had to let their hair get dirty for two, maybe three days,” says Joel. “But today, we have the technology to get that messy look on day one, so you can create that separation with products even when your hair is clean.” To get an edgy look, Joel recommends waxes and pomades—such as the TIGI® Bed Head for Men Pure Texture Moulding Paste and Matte Separation Wax—to create more volume and disconnection.


3. Ditch the Gel
On that note, Joel says glossy and polished is out and matte finish is SO in. “We’re definitely moving away from gels, which give hair a shiny finish,” says Joel. “With matte products, you can layer the product and it still looks natural. It also gives you separation, allowing you to create cool, different shapes with a grungier end result.”


4. Go for Grunge
A year ago, men’s style was all about short and sleek cuts from the 1930s and ‘40s. But according to Joel, that’s all about to change. We’re talking grunge bedhead a la “Smells like Teen Spirt.” To help your male clients grow out their hair with style, make sure to maintain control and disconnection underneath while letting it grow longer. “Change up your technique,” says Joel. “Point cut instead of blunt cut, which will give more movement and separation, which is important because when you apply the products, it will look really texturized. That’s something we remember from Kurt Cobain.” 


5. Get Beachy
We all know salt spray comes in handy for editorial stylists looking to add volume and texture to their supermodels’ looks. But according to Joel, it’s not just for the ladies! “Salt spray is perfect for the guys who are short on time,” he says. “They can go to the gym in the morning before work, wash their hair, add a little salt spray and let their hair dry—this adds control to the hair while giving it a little bit of style. When the hair is completely clean, it doesn’t dry like that.” Salt spray is great because it’s easy to apply and adds separation without having to use wax, but will still give your clients that natural and undone style.




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