Mane Monday: Bill Clinton's Groomer Says Bee Gees-Inspired Hair Is Coming Back
Vaughn Acord — the celeb groomer for Bruce Springsteen, David Letterman and Richard Gere — also notes that body powder is a must-have to avoid looking (or smelling) like a mess this summer.
Grooming, manscaping or just plain old regular visits to the barber, however you want to refer to men’s hair and skin care, the category has come a long way from fine-tooth combs and a can of Barbasol.
Take it from Vaughn Acord, celebrity groomer and founder of V76 by Vaughn, who counts Richard Gere, Tom Brady, Bruce Springsteen, President Bill Clinton, Michael J. Fox, Lenny Kravitz, Kevin Bacon and David Letterman among his clients.
Acord has seen trends come and go (hello, faux hawks and hipster flop tops) and has worked on some of the world’s biggest celebs and designer runway shows, but thankfully, he keeps his approach to grooming simple, saying, “I love things that don’t go out of style. I’ll look at Elvis or Clooney or James Dean and Montgomery Clift and they still look good today. Those classic things are really, really, attractive to me.”
With his celebrity clients, classic styles tend to stick, mainly because each guy is shooting a movie or TV show or is such an esteemed and iconic figure (Clinton, Letterman) — few can go full Jared Leto and hold still for some blond tips or a buzz cut. Here, Acord shares his summer grooming advice for keeping a clean, classic look, as well as a few products that every guy should be using (but probably doesn’t).
How is celebrity grooming different from a normal salon client?
You can’t get silly with them. You can’t take Clinton’s hair completely off on the sides, you can’t give Springsteen a Mohawk. Musicians and politicians, as they become iconic, can’t change as much. I have to respect that. I work with Letterman a lot. I look at his eyebrows and bring color to his face with lotions and powder. I find a balance in what he has left.
What product are guys most stubborn about using?
Sunscreen. They just don’t think that way and like feeling sun on their face. Guys should pick a lotion with sunscreen in it, so it kills two birds with one stone. Since lotion and sunscreen can be tricky, especially before going to the gym and sweating, guys can just lightly cover the forehead and tip of the nose, avoiding the eye area so nothing runs and burns the eye.
Speaking of sweat, what can guys who are worried about sweating through their clothing this summer do to combat looking (or smelling) a mess?
A lot of men who are working in a city are wearing a suit and profusely sweating through the summer. It’s one of the reasons I got back into body powders. Barber’s powder doesn’t coagulate and it smells great. If a guy is meeting someone after work, he can put powder on his hair and body instead of more cologne or deodorant. Body powders should be talc-free. There’s no reason to put those preservatives in products today.
What’s the latest in facial hair?
Guys tend to want to be more clean-shaven this time of year. They’re grooming a bit more, some guys are even taking their facial hair completely off. They are realizing they don’t have to sport a beard 24/7 and think of facial hair as an accessory. You can grow it out for the weekend and shave. The good thing about it is that it comes and goes in a week’s time. Now is a good time to go clean and then there’s nothing better than jumping in the ocean after a shave. There’s something astringent about the seawater. Guys with psoriasis swear by it.
What are we seeing with hairstyle trends?
Guys are going shorter but more even and definitely moving away from short sides and long on top. Now it’s more balanced. There’s a move toward handsomeness and guys using the right kind of product. Looking at the runways and red carpet, it’s clear they’re all using more product. Also, long hair is coming back. It’s almost like Barry Gibb and the Bee Gees' mid-length all layered out. Those kinds of influences are coming back.
What key products should guys be using to look and smell great this summer?
V76 Energizing Shampoo ($23): It’s good for every day as a light daily cleanser and has an invigorating ginger and lemon scent.
Wax or Pomade: I recommend V Rated wax because it’s made with soybean protein, not petroleum, so nothing changes in the heat.
Hydration Mist: Spray on the scalp and face. It’s a blast of aloe, vitamins B and C and a nice healthy way to reset your hair. Put it in the fridge and it’s good for after sun and for the airplane. The hydration factor for the face is wonderful.