Celebrity hairstylist Aalim Hakim gives MW a primer on his scissors, combs and more.
Scissors and razors
My go-to brands are Jaguar and Joewell. I prefer 5-inch lengths for regular haircuts, although most other stylists use 5.5-6 inches. The shorter the hair you are cutting, the smaller the length you need. The texturising scissor — sharp on one side and with a comb on the other — is important to remove excess volume from the hair while retaining length. There’s also a texturising razor that’s used for the buzzed haircuts that are trendy at the moment. A normal razor is good to sharpen the sides and back.
Mousse and hair gel are very important. You get many variants now — vertical hold, strong hold etc. For the day, use a matt product that gives good hold while looking natural. It’s also sold under names like messer and clay. Finally, lock your style with Elnett hairspray, so that it stays that way for long.
The paddle brush is commonly used for blow-drying. It has thick cuticles, making the hair smooth and nice. To create body, I play around with a wooden round or thermal brush. The thermal brush keeps the back and sides tight, while the wooden round brush adds movement to the top, so that it doesn’t look flat. Then there’s the vent brush. It’s a very old fashioned one that was used by men like James Dean to create a puff. When air from the blow-dryer passes through it, it keeps the extra heat and aids in adding volume. Finally, there’s the bow brush — a finishing brush to flatten hair for tight, sleek styles.
The cutting comb is used for finer cutting, such as front hair and sides, while the barbering comb is used for beards, moustaches, sideburns and the nape — where hair length goes from short to really long. These are the two most important ones in men’s hairdressing.
The root iron doesn’t heat up as much as a regular iron, so it gives off a natural look with a little straightness. It works well for guys with short, curly hair. A root crimper can be used to add volume at the base, without being visible. Finally, for a beachy look, use a blow-dryer with a proper nozzle as well as a diffuser that removes extra moisture.
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