A how-to by barber Zach Linhardt of Lakeside Barbershop, Oklahoma City.
Gosling has probably one of the most classic, always in style haircuts, and it’s literally one of the first cuts a barber learns in college. I can’t guarantee that if you get this haircut, you’ll have his love life, but maybe it’ll get you in the door.
Step one: Go to a barber. The chain stores have a history of hiring people as apprentices, so you’re essentially paying for someone to practice! Since salons specialize in women’s hair, they are notorious for not knowing how to cut a man’s mane. There are a few out there that I’d trust to coif my hair, but they are few and far between, and they went to barber college with me!
Step two: Walk into the shop, and take a look around. Make sure the shop is clean and make sure all the barbers look professional. If they look professional, they’re going to cut like a professional. If the place is busy, take a seat (it’s a good thing you’re waiting; it means people want to get a haircut at that shop).
When it’s your turn, introduce yourself and take a seat. Now a lot of customers seem to be afraid of showing a picture, or at least mildly embarrassed. There’s no need for all that, pull up a picture of our dear friend Mr. Gosling and show it to the person that’s going to be cutting your hair. We use different language than you do when talking about cutting, so there’s no shame in using a picture instead of words. Now, I’m going to tell you what I’d say to a barber.
First, say you are going for kind of a cross between “a gentleman’s cut” and an “ivy league”. That’s going to give him an idea of how you want the end product styled (it matters for the fade). Then, if you want it exactly like the pictures, I’d say I wanted either a 3 or 4 on the sides (always overestimate, it’s easy to cut off more and really hard to put it back on!), and leave about an inch and a half or two on top. Lastly, ask the barber to thin out the top a little, as it’ll help blend it into the sides, and make it lay over a little easier.
Congrats! Now you look like a proper man! There’s only one more issue to address; how the hell are you supposed to style it at home!? One word: pomade. If you’re changing styles drastically, that tin of pomade is going to be your best friend. Lucky for us, a lot of manufacturers realized not everyone wants to ruin their pillow cases and have their hair combed one way for a week, so they’ve made a lot of water based pomades (Shiner Gold, Suavecito, Bona Fide). They’ll hold just like Murray’s, or the gold standard, Sweet Georgia Brown, but will wash out as soon as they touch water and shampoo.
Fine or thinning hair?
Check out Quicksand by Hanz de Fuko – a paste that thickens your hair to add volume and allows natural styling. Completely matte finish, and lightweight.
As far as products that won't leave your hair shiny; I like J.S. Sloane Brilliantine. It holds like a pomade, but has a matte finish, and it smells like gummy bears. I think American Crew is a little too proud of their products.
Now, have you ever heard that phrase “a dab will do ya”? Well, it applies here. My hair is about 5 inches long on top, and I’ll use maybe the pad of my index finger worth of pomade to style my hair, so adjust accordingly. Just take a fingertip worth, and start rubbing your hands together, and when you feel it start to get tacky, rub it all over your dome piece. At this point, you will want a good comb, that’s half wide tooth and fine tooth (if you can find Kent combs, your wallet will hate you, but your hair will look great). Start with the wide tooth side and start combing it how you’d like. Once you’ve got the basic look down, flip that comb over and use the fine tooth side and clean up all the details and make yourself look all snazzy and Goslingesque.
This cut is guaranteed to get you into all the good kinds of trouble. Now you know you look good, go out and take that newfound confidence and convince the ladies that you’re better than Ryan Gosling. If you’re ever in Oklahoma City, stop by Lakeside Barber Shop and get a shave and a haircut, and I’ll even pour you a glass of whisky while you wait.