According to research from Global Industry Analysts, Inc., the world market for men's grooming products is projected to exceed $33 billion by the year 2015. The market growth is fueled by product innovation, an expanding middle-class consumer base, and evolving consumer trends that have seen an increasing level of male interest in appearance and grooming. Men are not sneaking products from their wives in the shower anymore. The media is consistently noting that the current male interest in improving their physical allure is being influenced in particular by the cult of high-profile male role models, such as celebrity film stars -- and I would argue, specifically, action heroes -- and sportsmen.
On a personal level, I have noticed the influx of men, of all ages and backgrounds, whether in my studio or in my chair on the latest action-hero movie such as Expendibles 3 and Escape Plan, solidly armed with a hair-grooming plan -- that is, an idea or vision of a stylized character look they want to achieve. Or at the very least they're open to a revamp or modification of their existing style. They can also clearly express what they don't want or what didn't work with their last cut. This is awesome! Because it is always my mane goal to learn, and then share, my behind-the-scenes tricks of the trade, here's the skinny on all-action power grooming tips for men:
Get a master game plan.
Finding the look that you want is key to power grooming. Whether it's a tailored Beckham disconnected "undercut," the purposely disheveled young gun look rocked by Liam Hemsworth or Kellan Lutz, the "Statham" locked and loaded all-out action buzz, or the slick sleek, classic Sean Connery Bond -- a hairstyle is your personal statement, your signature look. So get a plan, and preferably a versatile one. Patience and clear communication are your biggest allies when it comes to maintaining, changing, or growing into a look. It can often take three to six months to lock it down. Keep an open mind for color, extensions, or facial-hair contouring as it can also complement a cut and put the mystery spin on a transformation.
Claim your cut, steal the style, and make it yours.
Whether you keep it short and textured tame like Sylvester Stallone does, or wild and messy mid-length like Bradley Cooper flaunts, there are at least two to four different looks within a great cut. Remember to always consult with your stylist or barber, toss around pictures and ideas, and discuss different style options, hair parts, and products to offset any look. It's also important to express what you haven't liked in past haircuts or the part of your hair story where you like it longer by your ears or on your forehead, so that you inspire the most creativity from your stylist and ultimately the best look for you. It's totally Bond to go from the bedroom with sexy bad-ass bed-head to the boardroom -- clean, confident, and sleek. So remember: Don't be afraid to experiment with different looks within your one signature cut.
Don't forget about your facial hair.
Facial hair can make or break your look or take you into new style territory, depending upon what you do with it. You may not want to venture into the short-lived more extreme styles, such as the handlebar mustache, the soul patch, or the mutton chops, but a man can rely on the test-of-time classics for a modern update. The five o'clock shadow can transition into a manicured/scruffy look, accentuating your cheekbones; a short beard can camoflauge a double chin (and when paired with a sleek hair style can create a conquering juxtaposition); a goatee can complement either a short, scruffy hair style or your freer, longer curls. The key is to keep it well groomed and working with your face type and hair cut, keeping in mind balance and symmetry. The nice thing about facial hair is that it grows quickly, so you can experiment with two to three looks in a short period of time, cleverly gaining feedback and comfort with your style investment as you go.
Remember it's all about maintenance.
Once you have achieved greatness, it's all about how you maintain your look. It's a smart choice to book in every 3-6 weeks with your stylist to maintain and modify your haircut. Waiting any longer can often lead to the danger zone, rendering a new shape that's either too short or oddly off. Many men actually maintain their cut and color every week to 10 days -- complementing their visit with modern-day guy-salon efficiency as they simultaneously get manicures, lash, stache, and brow color and/or shaping, body-hair minimizing, facials, and even pedicures. So treat yourself and indulge.
Play with your product and style smart.
When it comes to hair product, only you will know what is best for your hair by experimenting. Do your own research, trial-and-error sessions with different products at different price points. It's a great way to know what works well on your hair type. Always ask your stylist for his or her advice on styling products -- you can go from sleek to messy by simply raking your water-doused fingers through your hair, or you can add dry shampoo to combat greasy grime. There are literally dozens of products on the market to choose from: a spray-in conditioning volumizer, hair type-specific shampoo and conditioner, a color mousse to tone grays or brighten your hair color, colored fiber filler for thinning spots, miracle paste for sensible styling, gel for a solid and serious look, pomade for control and shine, or an Argan oil for dry static hair days. Experiment and you will likely find that you only need one or two "perfect" products that work for you and your look (and keep hidden away in your saddlebag or sachel!). It's quite possible you may need a new brush, blow dryer, moustache/nail grooming kit, or even a flat iron for those unruly cowlicks.
With all the attention to action heroes and celebrity athletes in the media today, the time to celebrate the male action hero in you is here. Pick from -- and follow -- a few of these sure-fire grooming tips and you are sure to find your own stealth power.
Nicole Cothrun Venables is a Hollywood stylist with two dozen films and television shows to her credit. She specializes in creating iconic looks for men, especially action heroes, for films such as Rambo, Rocky Balboa, The Expendibles, and Escape Plan.