By Max Berlinger.
Like so many things, it started with Kanye.
Late last year the then-Trump supporting 39-year-old father of two debuted a new, closely-cropped blonde 'do, to much acclaim and controversy. Just a few weeks later, Bieber unveiled an eerily similar cut and dye job while on vacation in Acapulco, though, to be fair, the pop star has toyed with similar versions in the past — so we can't call it outright copying. But an unexpected cosign came last week and cinched things up when low-key menswear icon Kristen Stewart was like f*ck it, and just did a bleach-and-buzz, making the easy haircut officially the trendiest 'do right now.
"For women it's a trend, but for guys it's a bucket list or rite of passage look," says David Stanko, a hair color consultant and a colorist at Licari Cutler salon in New York. He sees guys inspired by everyone from Odell Beckham Jr. to famous YouTube stars like Tyler Oakley.
Mr. Stanko suggests cutting the hair first, then dyeing, so there's less hair to bleach, however he warns that it's the natural hair color that determines how long the procedure will take, not length. "The darker it is, the harder it is to bleach," he says, noting that, unless your hair is already quite light, expect to spend a couple of hours at your local salon. "It's a two part job," he explains. "First there's the lightening, but then there's the toning. Think of it as stripping a piece of furniture and then shellacking it with varnish."
For a drastic look like this — and it is drastic — Stanko highly suggests avoiding over-the-counter dyes and, instead, seeing a professional. "Nine times out of 10, you'll end up with what I call 'blorange,' he says, referring to a blonde-orange mix. Even people who want to avoid seeing a colorist may end up having to make the trip, if only to fix a dye job gone rogue. Instead, Stanko suggests bringing in some pictures of what you'd like it to look like from Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube, so the colorist has a visual guide. Plus, it helps to plan out the cut and color at the same time. "You can see the lifestyle of the person that they're trying to emulate, which is really helpful," he says.
As for maintenance, Stanko says to loosen up and have some fun, and let go of the idea that dark roots are bad. "Rock the vampire-chic look for a while, then get a trim. Roots on a bleached head, it's a hot look. That's telling the world 'Screw you, I'm cool, and I don't need some Upper East Side perfect look." he says. "You have to embrace the journey."
This story originally appeared on GQ.
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