A Gentleman’s Guide to Grooming

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From modern takes on classic cuts to customized offerings, the latest trends will have you looking dapper from head to toe.

By Connie K. Ho

The Den Barber Shop & Shave Parlor | Trever Hoehne
The Den Barber Shop & Shave Parlor | Photo by Trever Hoehne

An all-new appreciation for men’s style is sweeping the country, and the proliferation of options and information is astounding. Guys are expressing themselves through contemporary approaches to hair and facial hair, and putting their best feet (and hands) forward by taking advantage of male-focused spa services and nail treatments. To get you up to speed, local experts offer insight on the major trends, with advice for getting and maintaining the looks in town.


It’s All About the Beard

Seen from the boardroom to the beach, beards have popped up all over as the go-to look. Brandon Ferguson, owner of The Den Barber Shop & Shave Parlor, has seen an increased interest in the style—particularly among men in their late 20s and early 30s.

“It’s not a mountain-man beard. … It’s having a really thick, full beard but it’s got to look good and got to look clean and it is tapered in with the style of haircut you have,” says Brandon, who opened his shop in 2013.

There are a number of brands offering products to help, such as Abraham’s, available at The Den. As someone who keeps a beard during the cooler months, Brandon has tried many products himself and recommends using a variety. For example, beard conditioner tames the hair and makes it look the most presentable; beard shampoo can be used to help it stay clean and healthy, and limits the flakiness of the skin underneath; beard oil softens facial hair and tames flyaways so that it doesn’t appear frizzy.

In terms of grooming tools, Brandon points to products from Zeus Beard; the company offers brushes and combs specifically for facial hair. “One thing you can do, if your beard gets a little out of control, is get a pair of shears and comb your beard out,” Brandon says. “You’ll see little strays going out, and you can easily go through and trim them. When you get rid of those, you’ll be surprised at how much the whole beard takes shape.”Cremo Group 2012 unsharp 75-3 small

It’s also important to shave around the beard regularly if you want to keep the look polished. Cremo Co., a wholesaler run by two men in Laguna Beach, offers a foamless shaving cream along with a healing moisturizer and sting-free face wash at retailers such as Bubbles of Laguna and CVS.

“With beards, most guys will still clean up their necks, where you get irritation or bumps—that’s what our product is really good for,” says Kyle Schroeder, president of Cremo Co., who advises men to shave in the shower. “… The hot water opens up your pores; it makes the hair softer so it’s easier to cut. We still get a lot of guys who shave before the shower and that’s not helping their skin at all because you’re going to get more irritation.”

In addition, Kyle touts the importance of using moisturizer and sun protectant on a daily basis.

“We’re a beach community,” Kyle says. “We get so much sunshine, so you should integrate SPF into your regimen.”


New Take on a Classic

Along with carefully trimmed facial hair, clean haircuts are gaining popularity. According to Sergio Andrioli, owner and art director of Serandi Salon by the Wine Gallery, the current hair trend stems from the 1930s. Known as “disconnected,” it can be described as appearing like a gentleman’s classic hairstyle but with a modern twist—the sides are cut short and the top is significantly longer. It’s parted on the right or the left, and some choose to shave in the actual part line in their hair.

Serandi Salon owner Sergio Andrioli recommends trims every four weeks to maintain the “disconnected” haircut. | Jody tiongco
Serandi Salon owner Sergio Andrioli recommends trims every four weeks to maintain the “disconnected” haircut. | Photo by Jody Tiongco

Conveniently, it pairs well with a beard. “Before it was about the mustache, and now it’s more about the beard. Everything comes back with a little twist,” says Sergio, whose professional experience includes a stint at The St. Regis Monarch Beach resort in Dana Point.

Like the well-groomed beard, this look also requires regular maintenance. “The sides and the back are so specific, the sides are short, so … you need to get it cut [more often],” says Sergio, recommending a follow-up visit every four weeks to maintain the look. “Any growth needs to be redone right away—you clean it up more often than when it’s longer.”

In addition to salon visits, quality product goes a long way when it comes to styling. A strong paste, in particular, can help provide lift in hair. Sergio cites Oribe, Seven, and Bumble and bumble, available at his salon, as companies that produce good putties and paste for men.

For those interested in the disconnected cut (or anything else), Sergio suggests coming in with images that show an example.

“We love pictures because sometimes people don’t know exactly how to describe what they want,” Sergio says. “Now it’s easy because everybody has their tablets and phones and you can just Google and look around and, in a few seconds, find what you’re looking for.”


Sleek Hands and Feet

Styling doesn’t end at hair—these days, more guys are seeking manicures and pedicures as well. “We are starting to see that men are taking better care of themselves and are enjoying services like nail treatments,” says Michael Conte, director of Spa Montage Laguna Beach, who has seen the interest in male nail services steadily advance in the last three years. “I think that it’s not considered kind of a froufrou thing to do anymore. I think men are starting to understand it’s important to take care of yourself and it’s OK to be well groomed. There’s no taboo with that anymore.”

Spas have noted the shift in opinion—Michael says that men are seeing a wider range of services offered to them. For example, Montage provides the Gentlemen’s Manicure, a 45-minute service (nail trimming and shaping, a hand scrub, massage and buff) along with a 60-minute Gentlemen’s Pedicure (a foot soak, nail trimming and shape, exfoliating buff and foot balm infused with peppermint).

Spa Montage also tailors its services for men; for example, while women may be given a sugar scrub to exfoliate, men receive a salt scrub during manicures or pedicures. As an added bonus, guests are also offered complimentary beer, ranging from draft to bottle depending on the season.

Whether you want to maintain the spa results or skip professional offerings in lieu of a do-it-yourself approach, it helps to have the right tools at home. In addition to the basics, like nail clippers and cuticle pushers for trimming and shaping, check out local beauty stores for more specialized equipment. Roots The Beauty Underground, in the Lumberyard area of downtown, offers pumice stones and scrubs to exfoliate and slough away dead skin, while Ocean Blue Beauty Supply & Salon stocks Jack Black, a line of moisturizers specifically for men.



An Ode to Old-School

Laguna’s classic barbershops offer a place for men to convene in a relaxed atmosphere.


LBM_53_Grooming_Wallys Barber Shop_By Jody Tiongco-14Wally’s Barber Shop

Wally’s Barber Shop has offered a quick shave and a clean cut since 1958. It’s popular among locals and tourists alike—many nearby hotels recommend it to their guests, as they don’t have a barbershop on-site. Owner Rudy Campos cites the inexpensive prices and consistent work style as a few of the reasons the shop remains a favorite. Customers can relax and converse with the barbers, watch sports games on the television or catch up on reading material. The shop has seven barbers on staff and offers haircut, shave and shampoo services seven days a week. (949-494-3821)


Boat Canyon Barber ShopLBM_53_Grooming_Boat Canyon Barber_By Jody Tiongco-1

Lonnie Daugherty has been hard at work at Boat Canyon Barber Shop since 1972. The shop is a one-man operation frequented by young, old and everyone in between, including families of three generations. Lonnie brings doughnuts on Saturdays (a favorite among the kids) and he offers a senior discount for haircuts. Visitors regularly chat about sports or regale the 76-year-old barber with stories about work and their families. The store is decorated with conversation starters—gifts from customers, including signed memorabilia and trinkets from out-of-state travels. (949-494-5575)

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