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The Short and the Long of It : Hair is cropped close for boys, and down-the-back for girls. Styles include intellectual punk and the fade.

August 28, 1992|R. DANIEL FOSTER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES: R. Daniel Foster writes regularly for Valley Life

Aaron Zoref remembers when he dyed his brown hair red--the color of a boiled lobster.

"That was the wildest haircut I ever had," says Aaron, 16, a student at Calabasas High School. "It was definitely a stranger look. I had it pulled back in three different ponytails."

Aaron says he outgrew his layered crimson look several years ago and now favors the newest hair trend among teen-age boys: intellectual punk.

And it's not just for punk rock fans who read Stephen Hawking.

"The hair is cut in different lengths, from one to two inches, all the way around the head," explains Sebastian International artistic director Terah Weeks. Aaron recently visited Sebastian's Woodland Hills salon for his new look, which cropped up about three months ago, according to Weeks and area hairstylists.

"Kids take a gel and rub it through the whole head, and then put up their hair," adds Weeks. "The hair is never combed and the gel is soft, not hard. It gives a short, choppy, highly textured look. And it's a snap to care for."

Before his latest cut, Aaron said he sported a "real GQ-type haircut--really tailored, looking straight out of a magazine. But it was time for a change, especially now that school is starting back up. You want to look your absolute best the first day back."

Long hair is the look for teen-age girls.

"Long bangs are popular for girls--as long as they can grow them," says Bart Firsdon, a hairstylist for Unicuts Family Haircutting Center in Tarzana. "They want something to throw back and around their heads. A lot of girls are growing their hair all the way down their backs."

Lorena Lopez visited Sebastian's salon this month for a trim of her below-the-shoulders-length hair.

"Most girls are going for less products on their hair--they want more of a natural look," says Lorena, 17, a student at Van Nuys High School. "Girls are accepting what they have. If they have straight hair, they don't try to change it. But color is still important to change. You don't want to get bored."

Lorena says she likes to color her hair, staying "with about five different shades of red." She agrees that bangs are getting longer.

"Girls are wanting to show their face more," she says. "Rounded, tear-shaped bangs are out."

Some girls are using "attachables"--clumps of curled fake hair that are pinned away from the face or on the back of the head.

"Attachables are really a refreshing twist on the old, heavy hairpieces--the clumpy wiglet and the huge falls women used to use," Weeks says. "Today, girls want some movement and texture in their hair. They get it by growing it long, using color and some highlighter."

Although intellectual punk is the latest look for boys and most hairstylists agree that ponytails for boys are out, many young men still prefer the step or fade cut--extremely short around the sides and long on top.

"For some guys, it looks like a beanie on a bald head," says Firsdon. "It needs a lot of maintenance--that means a haircut about every two weeks."

Chuck Mauceri, owner of De Castilian barbershop in Woodland Hills, says many boys "want their hair shaved absolutely to the skin" on the sides.

"It's just an exaggeration of a '50s cut--real close around the ears but long on top," he says.

Flat tops, Mauceri says, are popular with boys under 14, but some want to "imitate their big brothers with the fade."

Clark Smith recently got a fade, or step, haircut from Mauceri.

"I like my hair short because long hair is too hard to deal with," says Clark, 16, a student at El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills.

"My parents let me do what I want with my hair. They like it short because it looks a lot cleaner."

"Twenty years ago, parents used to call me up, warning me that their kid was coming in," says Mauceri, who opened his shop 30 years ago. "They would say, 'He's going to say take nothing off, but I'm telling you, I want some hair off that kid.'

"Now, when their boy's on his way over, they call and say, 'He's going to say skin it on the side, but please--just leave some hair on my son.' "

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