You got facial hair? Cool. You a clean-shaven man? Also, cool. Nothing wrong with either of them. You can choose to dress your chin however you please, but I’m begging you to find something that works for you. I’m not saying something that works for what you’ve seen on people when you open Pinterest, or Instagram, or Facebook. I’m saying you need to find a look that works for the face that you’re born with.
If that means your facial hair grows in patches and never really gets past the “wispy, guitar player from an 80’s metal cover band” stage or if you can grow stubble worthy of even the most grizzled and hardcore action heroes, you deserve to find a way to wear what you’ve been given. That’s where barbershops, salons and grooming parlors come in.
First off, I have one thing to say to a lot of high school students, college students and all those “students of life”. Great Clips, Lady Jane’s, Sports Clips and all the other “chain” haircut places are not your friends. They provide haircuts for about 10 dollars, massacre your hair and, quite honestly, are more worried about getting you in and out of the chair than they are about making sure you leave with a haircut that actually looks good. Now please don’t get me wrong. They can provide a decent haircut and beard trim, but they won’t teach you how to take care of your hair properly as a rule. They say the right things, move the clippers over the right spots and (sometimes) have a degree in cosmetology.
Please again don’t misunderstand me. Those previously mentioned places are fine. They provide a fine haircut. They can do a fine beard trim. The problem is that men have been fed the lie for most of their lives that fine is an acceptable way to be treated. Y’all, we deserve better than fine. We deserve hairdressers, barbers and cosmetologists who know what the hell they’re doing, and we have easier access to that than a lot of us realize. You know that girl in high school that you talked to for a couple weeks? She’d be happy to work with you (provided you weren’t a dick. That’s going to hurt this interaction). You know that phone you carry around in your pocket every day of your life? Yeah. Open Google, search “barbershops near me” and you’ll find an overabundance of places that aren’t chains which would be more than willing to serve you. Find a salon with high reviews, make an appointment and realize that the women in your life spend that amount of money on a haircut nearly every time they go in. You can do the same. You deserve to do the same.
I have a close friend who works in a very well-established salon in Grand Rapids – I won’t include her in this post, though if she approves, I’ll certainly include her in future ones – who was a fantastic friend in high school. She went to cosmetology school and, though I’ve only ever had one appointment with her, she’s usually the first resource that I go to when I have questions about my hair or beard. She – as well as anyone who has graduated cosmetology school – knows what looks good on all sorts of people.
In fact, it isn’t commonly known, but schools teach their students how to cut hair on all kinds of people. Whether you’re young or old, male or female, they’re taught how to work with your specific hair. That being said, some stylists have a favorite type of hair that they’re more comfortable working with. I recently had the pleasure of experiencing a new barbershop in Grand Rapids called 1890 Men’s Grooming Parlor, where I met one of the stylists there. A wonderful lady who loved to talk about all things, and could do so the entire time I was there, but as we talked, she told me that she always loved cutting men’s hair more than women’s. That was encouraging. It meant that she had a particular passion for the type of hair that she was working with.
So when you go to a place like this, what are you walking into? You’re walking into an expert’s home, and they know what to do. Suggest the hairstyle you want or, if you’re brave, tell them to “make me look good” and relax. They won’t fail. If they offer it, get your eyebrows waxed (trust me, it doesn’t hurt), get your beard trimmed (yes, ladies know how to trim beards too), ask them questions about self-care (beard oil, conditioner, shampoo, eyelashes, eyebrows, etc.) and listen. You’re in the domain of someone who literally has a degree in making people look good and who does so for a living. Get over the price (a fantastic haircut never came cheap), sit down, and get ready to feel like the king of the world when you leave.
P.s. Here’s a list of awesome barbershops and salons in the Grand Rapids area to check out
- 1890 Men’s Grooming Parlor: (616) 591.2119
- Yaseen’s Barbershop: (616) 389.5370
- Pure Salon: (616) 301.7873
- Avenue Barbershop: (616) 326.1689
- Sin Republic Salon: (616) 717.3202