Photo: Jake Gyllenhaal in Jarhead (Universal Pictures)
We haven't seen this much discipline in men's hairdos since the 1960s, and with the resurgence of clean-cut styles, military fades are back. The crew cut became standard during World War II, when an order required recruits to "keep their hair cut short and fingernails clean," a rule that even Elvis Presley and his pompadour had to abide by. Many army men continued to wear the cut post-war, making it a symbol for alpha males. We asked Jeff Gray, N.Y.C. hairstylist and grooming expert, for some basic training.
Ask First "When you go for a close crop, you might be in for a surprise," Gray says. A buzz cut may look great on Jake Gyllenhaal's perfectly shaped head, but not on everyone. "Talk to your barber to determine whether a particular style would look flattering on you, taking into consideration the scars and head bumps that'll become visible after the fade work. If you have a large forehead, an egg-shaped skull, or if your hairline is receding, keep some volume on top to balance out the short sides."
Care For Your Scalp
Since you'll be exposing your scalp, it's paramount to keep it healthy. If you're prone to dandruff, Gray recommends Clear Men Scalp Therapy (12.9 oz.,$6.99), a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner that eliminates flakes at the source. Using a scalp brush when shampooing also helps.
Invest In a Good Styling Product
For shorter styles, like a crew cut or flat top, Gray suggests Osis+ Dust It Mattifying Powder (.35 oz., $23.50), a powder that adds volume to hair and gives it a natural, dry finish. "Sprinkle it at the roots and work it up to the tips to give your hair texture," Gray says. "For longer hairstyles, apply a dime-size bit of a strong pomade, like Bumble & Bumble Sumowax (1.5 oz., $27), to towel-dry hair for a slick finish. Create a side part with a comb, and let your hair air dry. Don't touch it until the product has settled -- then you can perfect that neat G.I. comb-back."
AFTER THE CROP Your regimen for an immaculate scalp
KENT SH1 SHAMPOO & SCALP BRUSH
Massage your scalp with the brush's bristles every time you shampoo to get healthier roots in the long run. $8, KentBrushes.com
TOPPIK HAIR BUILDING FIBERS
This weatherproof hair fiber powder, available in five different shades, will help fill in any thinning spots. .36 oz., $21.95, Toppik.com
VMV HYPOALLERGENICS 1635 AFTERSHAVE SOLUTION
A fragrance-free, hypoallergenic post-shave remedy to prevent skin bumps, ingrown hairs, and pimples after your buzz cut. 4 oz., $28, VMVHypoallergenics.com