Hair dos and hair don’ts

From breathtaking beehives to miserable man-buns – the dos that did good and the mops that flopped.

If nothing else, hairstyles give us something to talk or at least laugh about.

You walk out of the salon or barber’s and people stop and stare at you. The know a great cut when they see one.

Some of them whisper to each other, pointing at you and smiling. Admiration, surely.

And yet…

You go home and look in the mirror, not without apprehension.

 It felt so right at the time as your hairdresser winked confidently at you and sent you on your way.

You’re having second thoughts – maybe a layered perm bob isn’t for you after all, especially as you’re a 47 year old man. It looked good on Johnny Depp but what doesn’t on that good-looking bastard?

Throughout the ages hairstyles have defined their times.

Conservative, slick, adventurous, misguided.

The truly great hairdos are generally perfected simplicity and are always good for a revival.

The infamous dos are never forgotten and can be relied on for chuckles and winces.

Thank God I never had that or Thank God I no longer have that.

Cheers 🥂 or The Shears ✂? You decide.

The Bob

Short, sweet and simple.

The bob is a stylish and smart cut that accentuates the face, which is great for those with piercing eyes, cheeky smiles or even remotely expressive faces.

Not so great for those with bland, sour or expressionless features, but them’s the breaks.

It first came to attention in the early 20th century on some of society’s more adventurous types in Europe and the USA. Women, mainly – for a man to have attempted a bob in the early 1900s would have been truly adventurous.

We have to go back further to find the bob’s origins to one Joan of Arc. Joan was famously adventurous and her cropped no nonsense hair inspired hairdressers in the 1920s to go for the same look.

It caught on amongst high-society women and it wasn’t long before the bob hit the screens with the likes of Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford.

In the late 1940s and 50s women opted for longer locks, but the bob was too good to hold down and continued to reappear.

In the 60s everyone from The Supremes to Jackie O was bobbing and so on it went.

The bob is always a good option for reinvention and it transcends ages.

Toddlers, teens, mums and grandmums can all get away with a well-cut bob. Men can and have tried, but it’s a style only reserved for the Johnny Depps of the world or lunatic drummers, who do whatever they want anyway.

Cheers or Shears ? A resounding Cheers. Open up the finest champers.

The Man Bun

Men wearing their hair tied up in a bun certainly isn’t a modern phenomenon.

Indian Sikhs and ancient Chinese warriors wore their hair long as respect to the natural gifts bestowed upon them by God. They tied their hair up as a means of convenience – for example when going into battle or hunting wild animals.

Not the same can be said unfortunately for craft beer sipping hipsters and self-infatuated celebrities.

The man bun reeks of trying desperately hard to appear blissfully carefree and nonchalant. A hairstyle allegedly claimed to be the essence of true masculinity, when men roamed the earth growing their hair wild and hunting beasts.

We’re not buying it because precious man bunners spend more time on their hair than Victoria Secret models on Instagram.

Cheers or Shears ? No drink for you. Chop, chop, chop.

The Shag

A real crowd-pleaser is the shag. It comes with various layers and textures and could even be called unkempt.

Nowhere near as much work is required as with other dos and best of all, the shag suits pretty much everyone.

From Jane Fonda and Mick Jagger in the 60s right through the 70s, 80s and into today, the shag has never gone out of fashion. Rod Stewart, Blondie, Meg Ryan, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift

It gives the sense of not caring too much about things, maybe with an added creative leaning or a rebellious past.

The Shag doesn’t look like you spend too much time on your hair (which you probably don’t) and are more concerned with other things in life. This makes you approachable.

Cheers or Shears? Fancy a shag? Yes please.

The Perm / Wave (women and men)

This particular style comes naturally to Merino sheep who have to grin and bear it as they have no choice.

In the 80s and early 90s plenty of people willingly opted for the permed and wooly look. Even at the time it can’t have seemed like a good idea but wooly perms were everywhere.

Men, women and innocent children were all srutting around with perms that begged, “Look at me – please!”

The 80s and early 90s were not periods renowned for subtlety or restraint. The perm was a feeble attempt to convey a sense of fun, wild independence and style all in the one cut.

It failed on all counts.

Actors, singers and athletes led the charge and soon the family next door were sporting perms.

Jon Bon Jovi, Cher, Lionel Richie and Dolly Parton were all guilty of influencing the clueless to head for the curlers and hair irons.

As silly as they looked, the permanent wave dos did achieve their main goal – people certainly looked at you.

Cheers or Shears?

Baa, shears please. As used on wooly farm animals.

The Side Part / Comb Over

Let’s be clear from the get-go: we’re talking about the 60s style comb over, with healthy hair cut short and slicked to the side. As worn by the likes of Cary Grant, Sean Connery and recently on George Clooney and Ryan Gosling.

The classic side part / comb over never dates, looks sharp and is easy to style with some wax or gel. It’s the sort of cut guaranteed to ace that job interview or win over potential in-laws. Most importantly, the side comb over doesn’t try too hard.

As opposed to the other comb over – the one everyone sniggers at. The pathetic attempt to fool others but mostly yourself that there’s still enough hair to warrant parting.

Certain ex American presidents, heirs to the British throne, school principals and unsuccessful salesmen are renowned for fighting this unwinnable battle.

Cheers or Shears?

Raise your glasses, preferably a vodka martini. Simple and smart.

The Mullet

No critique of coiffures would be complete without the almighty mullet.

A hair style that needs no introduction, the mullet is the most infamous do of them all.

Originating in the 70s with David Bowie and Mrs Brady from the Brady Bunch, the mullet took off in the 80s and overstayed its welcome well into the 90s.

This was thanks to not only legions of hard rock and metal bands but also movie stars, singers, pro athletes and creepy teachers trying to fit in.

The mullet snubbed its nose at authority and suggested you were possibly a bad-ass.

A really tough-looking mullet was often sported by actual tough dudes and chicks, who were drawn to its menacing look – think ice hockey players, truck drivers, inmates.

It was also favored by cowards in the hope it would protect them from any actual confrontations.

While there are several variations, the basic mullet is short / shortish on top and long at the back. Abiding by society at the front but drinking Jim Beam from the bottle in carparks at the back.

Even during the mid-80s peak, those with a mullet were thinking, Surely this can’t last…and they were right.

No matter how glamorous or important you were, if you had a mullet it looked as if you were either on your way to or just released from prison. Fact.

Cheers or Shears?

Let the shearing begin, starting immediately at the back.

The Buzz Cut

If simplicity is key then all hail to the buzz cut, the simplest of hairdos. Grab a set of barber’s razors and in 20 minutes you’re done.

Initially a staple haircut for military personnel or police officers, the buzz cut is now very much mainstream and a go-to for follically-challenged males (or females).

The hair is shaved short at an equal length all over. This differs from the crew cut which allows for some length at the top for a slight part. Both are reliably timeless but the buzz cut is the safer bet for those with thinning hair or can’t be bothered with styling.

There’s a lot to like about the buzz cut. First, it’s a time saver. No fooling around with combs or product saves you at least 10 minutes a day. That works out to (we think) around 2 extra days a year which is not to be sneezed at.

Time to spend doing whatever you like while other saps waste away their lives in front of mirrors.

Buzz cuts also say you mean you don’t have time to fool around, nor do you worry about the superficialities of life (even if you secretly do). It’s the image that counts, and the buzz cut will be fashionable way into the next millennium.

Cheers or Shears?

Buzz cutters don’t have time for nonsense. Cheers with a quick tequila shot then on your way.

The Bowl Cut

No, no, no, no, no.

If you’re thinking about a bowl cut – don’t, if you ever had one – shame on you and if you have one now you are strongly advised to go for a buzz cut and start again.

Simplicity in hairdos can work both ways. The perfect symmetry of a bob or the sharpness of a buzz cut are simple.

Then there’s the bowl cut which even early homo sapiens ridiculed for being too simple.

Bowl cuts are what they sound like. Hair cut around a bowl sitting on your head.

This first kicked off in the Middle Ages when it was considered a marvelous idea for its convenience and ease.

The same people who also regarded using leeches to cure disease and putting animals on trial for stealing as marvelous ideas.

Anyone claiming that 60s bands such as The Beatles had bowl cuts are way out of line. Those fine arbiters of style in fact had mop – tops, which have also been continually rejuvenated.

Bowl cuts look odd, half-finished and draw attention for the wrong reasons.

Cheers or Shears?

Bowls are for eating from, time for a fresh start.

Braids

If done correctly and with the right hair, braids are a great option. Very cool, very sleek and depending on the style, can last for ages. Well-braided hair evokes admiration for the painstaking attention to detail.

If done haphazardly with inappropriate hair however, they cause people to recoil in horror and shrieks of laughter ensue. Photos are taken behind the person’s back that soon become internet memes.

People have been braiding hair for thousands of years with evidence of the hairdo coming from Egyptian, Indian and Mediterranean cultures.

Popular options include the French braid (like a ponytail) or box braids and cornrows , which are especially popular in African cultures and the African diaspora.

Great-looking cornrows have been displayed by singers and athletes such as Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Allen Iverson. The irrepressible rapper Snoop Dogg has made braiding his hair an art form.

French braids or cornrows are a favorite with many female athletes for their convenience. Cool-looking hair tied back, out of the way and no need to change styles for months.

Alas, many with inflated senses of importance have made spectacular errors in judgement and opted for braided hair. They either don’t have the hair, the face or the gravitas to pull it off.

These unfortunates do play an important role in society however.

They allow us to think, well at least I’m not them, as we get a spring in our step and power on through the day.

Cheers or Shears?

Good braids are to be rewarded. A drink of your choice.

Bad braids – all that hard work for nothing. Stick to hats and/or buzz cuts. Or both.

2 Comments

  1. A few good laughs here. Had to bow my head in shame looking at the perms. Those mullets & bowl cuts are hysterically funny now but so are many aspects of fashion with hindsight.

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