Russell Wilson spends a lot of his days with helmet hair, or with hair so short that it remains unmoved by his headgear. But for our September cover, the NFL’s highest-paid player and Super Bowl XLVIII champ brought volume and curls.
You don’t need an offseason to grow your own hair in this way. Though you do need the same curly texture as Wilson. (And luckily, a slightly recessed hairline will still allow for it.) If you’d like to grow, cut, and style your hair like the QB, here’s your game plan—with expert advice from barber Julien Howard at Blind Barber in NYC.
How to Get Russell Wilson’s Hairstyle: The Kind of Hair You Need
“Curly or coarse hair is best,” says Howard. He notes that guys with different curl patterns will have different rules here, since some guys’ curls grow tighter and smaller than others. He estimates that this look requires 1.5–3 inches of length.
“It’s not for someone with a high hairline or with a really long or round face,” Howard adds. Since the style itself is round, it’s best to avoid if you have a round face, since it turns your head into a perfect sphere. (Oval face shapes like Wilson’s can typically wear any style well.)
What to Tell Your Barber
Hopefully your barber already has the know-how, but here’s how he or she should do the cut. “Depending on texture, I’d recommend trying to keep it as natural as possible,” Howard says. “Scissors would be ideal for this cut. Ask the barber to achieve this shape by keeping as much length needed to make it symmetrically round and balanced.” That requires lots of eye-balling instead of hasty texturing and chopping that straighter styles allow. If you make haste here, you might end up with uneven sides or a flatter top.
Howard adds that some barbers opt instead to pick out the hair and then shape it freehand (and without a guard) with their clippers, or pull up each curly strand and cut it one cluster at a time. They’re all different means to the same end.
How to Style It
Here’s how Howard would style this look: Apply leave-in conditioner [we like Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner],
mousse [try Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse], or light styling cream [like Blind Barber 30 Proof Styling Cream] to clean, damp hair. This helps lock in the moisture and keep hair soft. “Use a dime-sized amount of product to start, and see if you need to apply more,” Howard adds. “Start by putting product in your hands first, spreading it evenly. Then ‘crunch’ your curls to enrich them on the top and sides of your head.”
A hair dryer [Bio Ionic 10X Ultralight Speed Dryer] can help define texture and add volume, too, but you should add a diffuser extension [Bio Ionic Universal Diffuser] to it. This ensures that your hair doesn’t straighten with the blow dryer, nor will you compromise your natural curls. Furthermore, it helps lock in the styling product and magnifies its lasting powers.
When to Trim It
Most guys would need top-offs every 3-6 weeks, Howard says, in order to keep the spherical look. However, if it’s cut well and you want to grow it bigger and curlier, it will also grow out uniformly from here.
How to Style Your Facial Hair Like Russel Wilson
“Keep it natural and avoid sharp lines, making sure the level and shade of the scruff is even,” says Howard. “Most likely, a #1 guard will do it. What’s most important when buzzing down your facial hair, is to start with a higher guard and move to a lower one until the desired level and shade is achieved.” You might even want different levels on different parts of the face. For example, try a #2 on the mustache to pair with a #1 everywhere else, if you’d like a little extra weight on the upper lip (though Wilson’s is a uniform length all the way around).