We’ve always associated Matthew McConaughey with perfect surfer hair. His mane is full despite the fineness of his hair, thanks to its natural, wavy texture. He cleans it up for black-tie events, but wears it casually otherwise. McConaughey is proof you don’t need to have some businessman’s cut to be taken seriously. Instead, you only have to know how to style and maintain your hair.
To learn how to do exactly that, we spoke with our stylist pal Greg Ruggeri of Salon Ruggeri in NYC. He has enviable wavy hair, much like McConaughey’s, and helps many of his male and female clients make good of their own. Here’s Ruggeri’s advice on how to cop McConaughey’s look for yourself.
The Type of Hair You Need
As with any style, you need to have the right kind of hair in order to execute this one perfectly. This comes down to density, texture, thickness, and so forth. And with McConaughey’s style, Ruggeri says you need to have fine- to medium-textured hair (so, not thick and wiry), and it needs to have “a slight wave or soft curl to create the appearance of floppiness.”
If you have thick and straight hair, this style will end up looking like Brad Pitt in the late aughts. It’s not a bad result, but it’s important to note you’ll have different results, and that this piecier McConaughey style is probably not yours to execute.
And of course, it will need to be dense—that is, not overtly thinning—and grown an inch or two past your ears.
What to Tell Your Stylist
Ruggeri says you won’t need to cut much, but that your stylist should do a general tidying up everywhere.
“Keep the length, giving the appearance of a slightly grown-out haircut,” he says. “Then, ask him or her to texturize the ends all over, to create definition and softness.”
Ruggeri says to start with a curling balm (like Liquid Rollers from Evo), which will emphasize your natural curly texture, as well as a salt spray (like Australian Salt Spray from David Mallet) to enhance and control it. You can also substitute the balm for a light paste (like Box o’ Bollox by Evo), which will preserve your wavy texture if you aren’t working with actual curls.
“When hair is slightly wet, apply the pomade or curling balm to your hands,” says Ruggeri. “Rub together gently, distributing evenly over your palms. Then lightly rub the product over your entire head. Don’t think too much about it.”
You can comb it in with your fingers, then go back through and scratch at it to dismantle the neatness. You just want to keep it loose, unfussy.
“Once the first product is applied, lightly spray salt spray to create slight texture,” Ruggeri adds. “If you want a simpler approach, try just using the salt spray by itself. Your only concern here is not to use too much.”
Start with a couple sprays, evenly over the hair, and work from there, gauging the texture and definition as you go.
How to Style it Formally
When it comes to dressed-up styling, Ruggeri says that the formal execution is not much different than the casual approach: “The difference with formal styling here is that you’d use slightly more product,” he says. You’ll get a glossier finish, and Ruggeri advises using your fingers to play with the balance and weight—until you see that it flatters and frames you properly.
How Often to Get it Cleaned Up
Ruggeri says you should return to your stylist every 4-8 weeks for a slight trim with scissors. You don’t want to do anything with an electric clipper, and you only want to clean up the ends and lightly texturize anything that isn’t already so.
Note: Guys with straight hair will have to texturize their hair with scissors more often. How frequently you visit is just a matter of how fast your hair grows, and a matter of how quickly the style looks or feels unlike the one you first received.