Henry Golding, the star of the summer smash hit movie Crazy Rich Asians, is as gifted in the hair department as he is in acting, and he’s got a lot of people asking how they can get his slicked-back hairstyle. Good news, it's fairly to maintain and can be modified for just about any type of hair...so long as you have enough of it. (If your hair's thinning, step right this way.)
We spoke with celebrity groomer Christine Nelli, the style guru behind guys like Justin Timberlake, Edgar Ramirez, and Jon Hamm, for tips on achieving Golding’s hairstyle. Here are her suggestions on what to tell the barber, tips on styling the look, and how to maintain your glorious Golding-inspired locks long into the future.
What to Tell Your Stylist
First, note that we used the word "stylist," not "barber." Nelli believes (and we agree) that when you're making a big change with long hair, you want someone who's a black belt with scissors, texturizing shears, and a blow dryer. “A scissor cut will lay better than clippers, and be easier to style while growing out,” Nelli says. True, the lines are blurring and more barbers are trained in those styling skills these days, but if yours is more about clippers-n-combs, then it's best to look elsewhere.
Once you're in the chair, here's what to say, according to Nelli: “Ask for a slight fade with scissor over comb, going shorter by ears and neck, fading longer towards the temples. On the top, tell your stylist to leave the front longer, maybe around eyebrow length. This way you can sweep back and create a part and then go slightly shorter into the crown of your head, to take out the weight.” Unless you've got a photographic memory, maybe copy-paste this into your Notes app.
How to Style the Hair Yourself
In case you forget what the stylist did once you're back in your own bathroom: Rinse your hair clean with water, then comb it back with a fine-tooth comb (like Byrd’s), says Nelli. Gauge where the part of your hair should be by finding the side where it naturally sits and drawing a line straight up from the outer end of that side's eyebrow. (And if your natural part is unnaturally bad, you can override it with the right hair product and some work.)
Once your part's locked in, Nelli says to use a soft-hold pomade (like bumble and bumble’s or Layrite’s, “scooping out a quarter size of product into the palm of your hand and running it through your fingers. Distribute it across the whole head, and with the fine-tooth comb, begin to comb your hair, starting on the left side of your head and then moving to the right side with sweeping motions up and back.” That's how you guarantee the product doesn't clump in one place. “Just be mindful of the part you created in the beginning,” she says. And if you screw it up, re-work it with the comb.
At this point, your golden Golding 'do should be perfect. If it's got too much of a helmet look, comb your hair forward then back again with the wider end of the comb, or loosen it a bit with your fingers without disturbing the direction of the hair. You don’t need a blow dryer, since the pomade should keep everything in place (so long as you can resist running your hands through it pensively)—but using one will speed up drying and provide a little extra hold. Work that comb while blow drying so it maintains the slicked-back, slightly glossy finish of a man who belongs in the spotlight.
How to get all your best warm-weather fits off before summer is officially done for.
How to Keep Your Heartthrob Hair
Golding's look isn't here for your procrastination—Nelli says that this style demands a trim every four weeks. Luckily, most stylists charge less for a trim than a full-blown cut, and you should only need 10 to 20 minutes in the chair. Between trims, avoid drying out your red-carpet hair by shampooing every 2-3 days. You want that perfect middle ground between over-washed hay and Bieber-greasy. And remember to smile big for the paparazzi selfies, Mr. Hollywood.