As any recent graduate can attest to, getting your first job will require more than just a degree. The job hunt is a nifty game of persistence, letdowns, and sheer luck. But there are also rules that you can play by: prep your resume, elevator pitch, and most importantly, graduate your style to nail the interview. Getting your feet wet on the first job might be encouraged, but showing up with wet hair (a consistent look for 8AM physics) is not.
Simply wearing a suit won’t cut it if you can’t maintain the professionalism in your locks – though you’ll find the right clay does a great job of that. As the frame for your face, your shag needs to be taken seriously. And for that, you’ll need to be in the right hands. Ours happened to belong to Brayden at Garrison’s Barbershop. And as any true barber would do during their cut, Brayden kindly walked me through the elements of graduating your hairstyle for the real world.
Follow Your Face
As you become more independent, let your hair follow suit. Instead of a generic cut, find one that’s personalized to your face shape. If an oval face is the alleged holy grail of bone structure, the aim of your cut should be to add or remove volume from your hair to create those ovoid proportions. So, if you’re looking to accommodate larger ears like mine, which square out my face, think twice about opting for a simple one numbered side buzz.
Instead, Brayden layered my fade to create more volume near the crown of my head, and tapered it in toward my ears. Contrary to popular behaviour, the key to a good fade is actually to start from the top and work your way toward the ears. This allows your barber to bring the fade down as needed for the shape of your skull, and eliminates the potential for uneven, dark spots of hair to show up. And the sign of a true barber? They’ll never ask if your fade should be square or round. The answer is to always leave it natural, following the contours of your nape.
Balding. The unspoken of, yet tell-tale sign of impending employment (let’s try to reframe this as a positive omen, shall we). Realizing that your cowlick is no longer just a cowlick is a cow-trip. But thankfully, your barber should be able to create the illusion of covering it up.
Texturizing the hair surrounding your balding creates more voluminous hair. With these hairs of differing lengths now interweaving, less of your scalp is exposed to the common man’s scrutiny. Likewise, the secret to hiding that receding hairline is opting for a cut that allows the hair to fall toward your forehead. Rather than parting my hair to one side, Brayden’s cut allows the sides of my hair to seamlessly join my fringe, and like any good fringe, keeps what needs to be hidden, hidden.
Maintain the Mane
Now that the foundation is set, you’ll have to put in the work to keep it that way. Maintaining the quality of your hair can also extend the life of your cut (which is something to consider if you’re still earning those early dollars). So, avoid sulfate-based shampoos (made from some of the same ingredients as your dishwashing liquid) and products that will strip your hair of its nutrients. Along the same strand, ditch the 2-in-1 cleansers that do half as good a job at their respective tasks, and instead, alternate using a shampoo and conditioner every other day.
When styling, try and avoid products with a heavy shine. Garrison’s is stocked with some aesthetically packaged Layright brand creams to create volume and hold. These enhance and nourish your hair it as opposed to leaving it a wet, greasy, pomade mess. And if you’re looking to maintain the air of fullness to your fluff, use a hairdryer to style. If you don’t have a Dyson on hand (we get it, you’re a fresh grad), try to use a diffuser add-on to blow dry the roots of your hair for enhanced volume. Avoid running your fingers through your hair here, and instead, scrunch your hair up while blow drying it to keep it those volume enhancing curls intact.
The final piece of the puzzle to professional hair is finding the right barber. When Brayden took a couple steps back while cutting my hair to give his work a cursory glance from a distance, I knew he was committed. Few barbers will take into account the real world perceptions of your hair; how the cut is perceived from six different angles and from 10 feet away. And the beautiful natural lighting that filters through big paned windows at Garrison’s is more than just an aesthetic point. It allows your barber to catch all the real-life imperfections and nuances in your hair that would be lost in the clinical and sterile lighting of most barbershops.
Trusting your barber to style you right is a big responsibility, and can have major consequences on your overall confidence with your appearance. But, trying out new styles with new barbers can definitely pay off. While I’d normally come to an appointment armed with my baseball cap to cover up an impending disaster, having switched to Garrison’s, I can now confidently show up to cuts just armed with my elevator pitch (because when you’re this professional, you really never know who you’re going to meet.)