His & Hers: Holiday Hair

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"Every girl I know seems to be lopping off her hair, and a frisky bob isn't the same as long, go-with-the-flow-hair: it takes a little bit of work, and a little bit of product,” I told our friends over at Bumble and bumble a few weeks ago. They’d asked me (and Nick) to curate two holiday gift sets, one his, one hers (aww), and quizzed us on our hairlosophies at the same time. “What was your worst haircut?” they asked, to which I gallantly replied, “I’ve been okay on the haircut front…color is a different story. I am just not a good blonde. Never have been, never will be.”

Well, that was then, and this is now. I’ve been trimming my hair shorter and shorter for the past year, in a series of late-night (slightly buzzed) solo snip sessions and irregular visits to various hair whizzes (mostly to fix the damage I’d done). At best, my hair was getting Catherine McNeil comparisons—just below the chin is its sweet spot. However, just below the cheekbones, I soon found out, is not. I brought a heap of Leonardo-DiCaprio-circa-Romeo + Juliet reference pictures to one of my hair heroes one night and declared, “Let’s do it—it will be so ‘90s skater kid! So cool! Androgynous chic!” And on a good day, which is maybe 1 in 5, that’s what it looks like: Gwyneth in Sliding Doors, Leo, or early Mick Jagger...but on most days, it evokes Donald (as in Trump), Flock of Seagulls, a political TV pundit, Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka, or, as my dad said on Thanksgiving, “your aunt Kristen.” (You don’t want to know).

The one thing I’ve learned through all of this experimenting, though, is the importance of products. Long, straight lady-hair of the wash n’ go variety really doesn’t need much. But anything above the shoulder demands stuff. The set I put together for Bumble includes a trio of style savers including Bb. Texture (I’ve discussed this), Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil (how could you forget), and Spray de Mode, because hairspray is important, people. Forget shellacked grandma hair—this stuff is subtle. I don’t know about you, but I need no fewer than three products to get this coif looking half decent. And I just did all the work by figuring out what they are, so, for your “frisky bob”-inclined love ones (or for yourself!), I’d suggest gifting this trio. I'd also recommend putting the scissors down while you're ahead.

For his set, Nick picked out some simple, fail-safe boy tools: Sumotech, a non-shiny, pliable styling paste (the only one that comes close to keeping his "fro" under control, he says); plus Tonic Shampoo and Tonic Lotion, both of which are fortified with zingy tea tree oil and peppermint, so you can feel them working, and keeping your scalp in shape. Nick and his very-hip dad Steve are fans of Tonic. Trust them. (The Axelrods have great hair.)

Which brings me to my last thought: if your dads (or brothers, etc) are anything like ours, for the holidays, they'd probably like: 1. New socks  2. A book 3. A wallet 4. Cologne. But we say, spice up their lives and bring them out of their comfort zones. They don’t really know what to put in their hair, do they? Buy them this set and make 'em feel like they just stepped out of GQ.

Wait! Nick and I are also giving away one of each gift set, to the two people who write in the best (funniest, scariest...) answer to the following question, in the comments section below:

Describe your most, um, memorable haircut?**

Because we want to know.

—Emily Weiss

Get Emily's Gift Set here.  And for the men in your life, Nick's Gift Set is right over here.

**Contest now closed. We'll be revealing the winners ASAP.

Emily Weiss and Nick Axelrod photographed by Stephanie Dinkel at Smith Canteen in Brooklyn, New York on November 24th, 2012.

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