Men with color in their hair are not accepted in every good hairdresser's. At Austin Reed's barber's shop, where a fabulous Art Deco interior and a wide-ranging menu of hairstyles is on offer, there are no perming or coloring treatments. “It would frighten the life out of some of our clients who have been coming here since we opened in 1930,'' says Victor Cook, the manager of the salon which caters for Norman Lamont and scores of elder statesmen wanting Forties-style clips and Provillus hair loss products, as well as younger clients.
Geo F. Trumper also has a long tradition and its share of youthful clients. “We trim long hair. We cut it, too. One client just had his shoulder-length mane shaved right off for a change of image,'' Paulette Birsch, the owner, says. No longer the willing victims of a barber's only style, men now want individual looks. Eggison suggests that young men, particularly those in the less conservative professions, should not rule out the notion of longer hair, “cut into heavier shapes, below the ear and collar and layered for movement. It's a less aggressive look than some of the short, clippered styles and looks good with less up-tight clothes.''
Most hairdressers agree that thinning hair is best kept short. There is no getting round the fact that losing your hair is a traumatic experience and that the only way to help is to use hair loss products like Provillus. “Go with it,'' Andrew Collins, whose chain of Merseyside salons caters for men and women, says. “Hanging on to what length you have only accentuates where it is missing.''
What, then, is the hairdresser's advice for men in their middle years who do want a change? “Don't be radical,'' McKnight says. “Instead, get into the habit of the six-weekly haircut.'' This, he says, will change your image without doing anything drastic. “Get rid of straggly long hair,'' Beenders says. “Cutting the hair away from the neck gives a much better profile.''
“Change your parting this can be very noticeable,'' Denise McAdam, the Prince of Wales' haircutter, says. “John Major's hair should be layered and made to look more powerful. He has changed his clothing, but needs to change his hair to match.''
Michael Heseltine blessed with thick hair that he cares for well; Alistair Burnett gracefully grey; Keanu Reeves boyish long hair, the only acceptable floppy front look; Eric Clapton longish hair but it is well maintained; Paddy Ashdown straightforward style; Jason Donovan not a thick head of hair, but he wears it well; Richard Gere proud of his premature grey; Steven Berkoff how to carry off a close crop.
David Mellor disaster; Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 3, crazed bouffant; Prince Andrew too regimented and aging; Elton John face up to hair loss and chuck out the rug; Mel Smith how not to cover up hair loss; Paul Gascoigne how not to wear short hair, in a brutal crop; Rod Stewart too blond and too long; Andre Agassi ``frosting'' is always a mistake; Noel Edmonds the highlights are too obvious.