Poor guys. Growing up, they never spent entire evenings in hot rollers, never savored the sizzle of the straightening iron, never left a slumber party with a head covered in braids. It was unacceptable for a dude to keep eight shampoos on the edge of the tub. With celebrity role models running from Whitesnake to Billy Idol, where were they supposed to get the good-hair gospel? Bless them and their multitude of hair sins—they just want to look good, and we want to help. Here, New York's top experts offer some tactical advice:
Play to his ambition. Tell your dude that that if he wants to be a master of the universe, the mullet has to go. Edward Tricomi, co-founder of the Warren-Tricomi Salon and barber to the stars (his clients include Michael J. Fox, Ben Stiller, Mick Jagger, and Jon Bon Jovi), agrees. "To be a success, you have to look like a success, and you won't get that at the cheap-cuts salon down the block," Tricomi says.
Go slowly. "Take him to your stylist," suggests Paul Labrecque, owner of the salon and spa that bear his name. "Privately, tell the stylist to start with a subtle change. "At home, make a big deal about how great his hair looks, and tell friends to dish out the compliments. Six weeks later when the new-hair glow has faded, take him back for another cut. Inch by inch, you'll create a masterpiece.
Drop some hints. Hey, it works with the engagement ring! But seriously, Bumble and Bumble stylist Giovanna Morano suggests working comments about celebrities' hair—"George Clooney has the best hair cut!"—into conversation. Surprise him with a gift certificate (if he's frugal, tell him you won it in the office pool) for a haircut with your stylist, who you've prepped beforehand, re: Clooney.
Crunch the numbers. Larry Paul, creative director of Sharps Barber and Shop, says many guys think having good hair is hard work. After all, they see women logging serious mirror time. "In reality," Paul points out, "a cheap haircut needs more frequent touch-ups (every 3 weeks), while a quality cut will grow out gradually, and in great shape."