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Men's Q & A

Hair-Styling Products Playing a New Role

August 30, 1985|BETTY GOODWIN | Times Staff Writer

Hair-styling products aren't for women only anymore. One-time hairdresser and beauty business-tycoon Vidal Sassoon talks about his line of four products--an aerosol and non-aerosol hair spray, gel and mousse--designed specifically for men.

Question: What has happened to change men's attitudes toward using styling products?

Answer: It's the fact that hair styles have changed so dramatically. That's the breakthrough. Men were afraid to look different in the '60s. But I think attitudes changed when Joe Namath started selling panty hose on TV, rock musicians started wearing their hair long and so many famous athletes began to have perms. Whole soccer teams in Europe were having perms at once because the styles were so easy to maintain and the hair stayed out of their eyes. Men began to see that they could wear their hair just as they pleased without ridicule--long, short, permed or with hair color.

Q: Other than the "manly" packaging and fragrance, do your new products differ in content from similar women's styling products?

A: The gel is the same formula. The mousse is a softer formula because men don't have to "design" the looks women do--men's hair is a lot simpler. The two sprays are very much the same as the women's because most sprays today are very gentle. Essentially I think women have been borrowing men's clothes, and men have been borrowing women's products. But I think there's a sense now of, hey, let's have a little bit of men's liberation. Men no longer want to use a feminine-looking product with a feminine fragrance.

Q: What should men know about how mousses, gels and sprays may affect the condition of the hair?

A: Styling products shouldn't affect hair adversely at all. If you're heavily into mousses, gels and sprays, you should, on a constant basis, use a protein conditioner after shampooing for added protection whether you think your hair needs it or not.

Q: What are the main differences between a gel, a mousse and a spray?

A: Mousse is a styling agent; it dries the hair in the position your hands place it. Gel is thicker. It can add body. Gels can be put on wet hair for a wet look, or they can be used before blow-drying for a dry look. With both gel and mousse, you work the hair after they are applied. Spray gives your style a finishing hold.

Q: Can a man with thinning hair use gel, mousse or spray to make his hair look fuller?

A: There isn't a styling product that can grow hair for you, but you can use mousse to give it a thicker look. It almost makes each hair look twice as thick.

Q: What do you think is the most stylish looking men's hairdo or cut today?

A: In the '60s, if you brought out a look, it was copied internationally. But are so many looks around now. We're in an era where people want to be totally individual.

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