Whether closely shaven like Amaury Nolasco’s low cut or totally clean like Pitbull’s trademark bare top, the – baldy – has become an acceptable part of men’s style. No longer just a safe go-to haircut for hiding bald spots or receding hairlines, this buzzed-off trim is now favored for its low-maintenance, yet sharp look. But, like any other hairstyle (or in this case lack thereof) you should be prepared for what’s involved. Here’s what you need to know before picking up the clippers.
Making the Cut
If you have hair, start by buzzing it off as close as you can with clippers. The next step is the razor. “Styling a baldy should take the same approach as shaving your face,” says Miles Elliot, a barber at F.S.C. Barber in New York City. Elliot adds that “it’s best to shave in a steamy bathroom.”
Apply a good amount of lather, so that your razor glides easily over the skin without irritating it. Use a high-quality shaving cream like Baxter of California Super Close Shave Formula ($18, baxterofcalifornia.com) and the best razor you can get, such as Gillette Fusion ProGlide ($10, available at drugstores).
If using a razor causes you razor burn, bumps or ingrown hair, opt for electric trimmers instead. Splurge on a professional trimmer, which will last longer and perform better, such as Andis T-Outliner Trimmer ($74, andis.com). Trimmers are also great if you prefer a hint of hair over a completely bald look. Razor burn on the head is more noticeable, so be careful to take care of the skin while shaving. Be sure not to shave too fast, abrasively or against the grain – all of which can cause irritation or small cuts.
After the Cut
After you finish shaving, apply a hot towel to soften the skin and then an ice-cold towel to calm the scalp and close pores, instructs celebrity master haircutter Umberto Savone, based in Beverly Hills. Follow with a soothing after-shave treatment, such as Jack Black Post Shave Cooling Gel with Aloe, Sage & Lavender ($19, getjackblack.com).
Remember you are now exposing your scalp more than ever before, so you should incorporate its treatment into your skincare regimen. This means exfoliating with a facial scrub once a week in the shower to keep your scalp clear. Try Organic RegiMENS Microfine Face Scrub ($32, organicregimens.com), which contains skin-revitalizing botanicals. In addition, use of a nourishing moisturizer with SPF, such as Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 ($19, kiehls.com), to keep skin from drying out or cracking, as well as to protect your head from the sun is highly recommended.
To Cut or Not to Cut
How often you shave is a matter of preference, says J.P. Mastey, president of Baxter of California.
“Some men shave daily, like they do with their beard. Others are okay to shave a few times a week. It really comes down to how clean a look you like. Most guys look good with a baldy,” says Elliot. “It’s a look that can really show off your face and features.” If you’ve never had your head shaven before, the cut can be very dramatic at first, but give yourself at least a week to get used to it.