Looser silhouettes, throwback athletic brands, and fisherman hats are just a few recent menswear trends that have signaled the return of the 1990s. But our renewed fascination with Gen X doesn’t stop at clothing and accessories. With their long, tousled locks, the models in the fall shows for Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, and Coach made the slacker style of two decades ago seem chic once again. And this ruffled, skater-y aesthetic has extended beyond the catwalk, with celebrities like Zayn Malik and David Beckham flaunting full heads of perfectly unkempt hair, bringing to mind the hirsute, laid-back days when grunge rock ruled and Johnny dated Winona.
“I think longer hair just has this carefree cool factor,” says Bumble and bumble stylist Erickson Arrunategui. “It’s attractive for a man to look like he didn’t try so hard.”
If you’re ready to let your hair down, Arrunategui suggests doing it in phases and not skipping cuts. “Growing out all your hair can be intimidating,” he says, “but growing out the top first and cleaning up the sides will help you transition from short to long while avoiding that awkward stage.”
Once you’ve hit your desired length, you’ll need the proper products. Here are four we recommend for unlocking the true power of your locks.
Arrunategui uses this pomade to ward off frizz and add texture and weight to hair. “It will get you that undone, slept-in, second-day look.” (1.5 oz., $29; BumbleAndBumble.com)
This cream-based wax is great for recreating a textured, grunge-era shag, but it won’t leave your hair looking too greasy. (1.75 oz., $16; Kiehls.com)
A lightweight cream is your best bet if you’re looking for a decent hold and a natural, slightly glossy finish. (1.7 oz., $24; SaturdaysNYC.com)
If you want more surf, less skate, opt for this spray, which will give you a healthy, windswept appearance. You’ll look like you’ve already hit the beach by the time you get to the office. (5.1 oz., $31; MrPorter.com)