Basic hair care for men

By Candice Zen (email:

This blog post is aimed at guys (sorry to genderise here – it may be useful to a few women too) and is basically answers to a lot of questions I get asked by customers. Hope it is helpful – please send in any comments or further questions you have.

1.     It's best to wash your hair every 1-3 days

Everyday hair washing is fine, especially if you do sports/gym. It does not damage it too much, even if you dry it with a hairdryer after (which is a good idea). London has a lot of pollution and dirt particles in the atmosphere and those get stuck to the natural oils (sebum) and sweat produced on the skin and scalp. Just like you would wash your skin frequently, it’s not a bad idea to do your hair too. If your hair gets fluffy or uncontrollable after washing, you need to use conditioner, and wash at least every 3rd day.

2.       If your hair is longer than 4cm (2in) in places, consider using conditioner

Conditioner isn’t just for women! If you have longish or very thick or curly hair, conditioner will help your hair to be less fluffy and wild after washing. It will lay better. Buy a normal conditioner (if you’re new to this, don’t go for a heavy moisturising one, and don’t go too cheap: Tesco’s Value or any similar supermarket economy range)

3.       If your hair takes longer than 5 min to dry naturally, use a hairdryer

Another thing that’s not just for women. Think of it like drying between your toes to prevent stuff growing there. The scalp has a natural yeast/fungus there called Malassezia which can get out of control for various reasons and cause dandruff. A nice damp environment can favour it, so definitely use a hair-dryer if you are prone to scalp skin issues.

4.       If your hair is thinning, there are various ways of cutting the hair to disguise/minimise it.

Short buzz cuts can look good but you don’t necessarily have to go for that if your hair is thinning or receding a bit. A natural, textured crop which is about 2-3cm in length on top will usually do the trick of hiding thinner areas and look nice/be easy to maintain. Stay away from parted styles! They have the visual effect of emphasising thin areas, and are going out of fashion now anyway. If you get to the point where clipping it very short is the best option, a beard or thick-rimmed glasses will improve the look. In any case, if it’s worrying you, drop by for a 15 min complimentary consultation at the Totem Hair pop-up where you can get advice on the best look.

5.       Skin and scalp problems are very common

A lot of us have got those: hairdressers and barbers are well used to seeing dandruff, eczema etc and zits, believe me. For dandruff and scalp issues, please see the earlier blog post here. For zits, I personally use PanOxyl with 10% benzoyl peroxide or even better, Duac with benzoyl peroxide and 1% clindamycin is highly effective (available from an online pharmacy e.g. pharmacy2U or via your GP).

6.       Cleaning and maintaining your beard

You can clean your beard the same way you would do head hair. Just shampoo it when you wash your hair, and use a bit of conditioner. No need for fancy beard shampoos or conditioners. Beard hair is much coarser than head hair, so it does benefit from a bit of softening/conditioning. In addition, beard oils or lotions help soften your beard and skin even more. At the Totem Hair pop-up, I currently use Beardsley’s Beard Lotion (£14.95) which is fairly light, non-greasy and smells nicely of spicy cloves.

Always feel free to ask questions at the Totem Hair pop-up. Book a free 15 min consultation or just ask away while you’re getting a haircut. If I don’t know the answer, I will certainly find out for you!