Last year, Luca Guadagnino’s moving coming-of-age film, Call Me by Your Name, did two important things; it reminded us that there were some good things about 80s fashion and it launched break out star, Timothée Chalamet, as Hollywood’s next big thing.
With parts in Homeland and Interstellar it wasn’t the first time we’d seen Chalamet, but his performance as love-struck Elio made the world finally sit up and take notice; earning him Best Actor nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTA. Even with remarkable talent like his, people rarely stumble into Hollywood, and a casual dig in Timothées’ background reveals that this 22-year-old New Yorker comes from privileged stock with many links to stage and screen – definitely an advantage on his path to success.
The other, rather obvious advantage? His hair. Bone structure aside, the crux of his enviable looks is his ridiculously good barnet. He typically wears it medium-length to long with a soft side parting pushed back from his face and just hovering above his collar at the back. On paper it’s nothing special, so what’s the fuss?
Why Is Timothee Chalamet’s Hair So Good?
Call Me by Your Name captures the essence of the sun drenched Italian Riviera, even though it was filmed in Lombardy, ostensibly during an epic ‘once-in-a-century’ rain shower. Due to the artful cinematography and impervious nature of Chalamet’s ‘do, you would hardly know that it rained torrentially for most of the shoot. Heat and humidity are clearly no match for this epic head of hair; his casual waves refuse to develop that tell-tale halo of frizz (renowned kryptonite to a stylish mop) or spiral tightly into a man perm. Off screen, his hair consistently combines the dishevelled nonchalance of ‘I-just-woke-up-like this’ while maintaining great shape. Put simply: it’s hair texture goals.
Scott Ade, senior hair stylist at London salon Larry King concurs: “Timothée is a lucky lad when it comes to his hair. He’s got a good head of thick hair with a bit of natural movement and wave in it. The sort of hair that would go a bit curly and look good if he were to wash and leave it, or equally quite easy to blow dry out a bit and change the style for a straighter look.”
So, how can less genetically blessed mortals get the look? Provided you have hair of a certain length and density, this look is achievable with the following hair hacks. Hair and makeup artist, Karen Alder, who has worked with Chalamet on photoshoots, reveals her top tips for getting his style.
What To Ask For
Disclaimer: all ‘effortless’ hairstyles (that actually look good) involve effort. Sorry. This kind of style doesn’t mean you can avoid the hairdresser, and equally you can’t look barbershop fresh. To do this, “always request the ‘non-haircut,’” says Alder. The aim is to avoid looking like the hair has been freshly cut, but not so grown out that it’s starting to look unkempt. The optimum length looks like it was “cut a few weeks previously,” says Alder, which “involves point cutting the hair, so the ends are not blunt.”
At Larry King, Ade agrees that you should probably favour a salon over a high street barbershop: “I’d be very careful about where you go to get the cut, so do your research. Barbers have come a long way in the last few years from the five-minute ‘short-back-and-sides’ job but only the most rounded of barbers will be able to achieve this look.
“Personally, I believe you’d be better off going to a unisex salon to get it, as although you still want your hair to look masculine the techniques used are more associated with ladies’ cutting.” Length on top is the most important aspect for this look, so if your hair is short start letting it grow out all over.
How To Style It
Anyone with curls or wayward kinks will understand that water can be the enemy. Wavy and curly hair really needs to dry naturally to achieve the best look – fine in summer, less achievable in winter. Heat styling with a brush often ruins the definition of the curl and leaves hair a fluffy, frizzy in-between mess.
To combat this, Alder suggests co-washing. For the uninitiated, co-washing is short for ‘conditioner washing’: ditching the shampoo stage and skipping straight to the conditioner. A cleansing conditioner can nourish and help the hair retain moisture, keeping the curls defined and frizz at bay. You don’t have to avoid shampoo entirely, just use it once a week to clarify the scalp and roots – or more or less frequently depending on how oily your hair is.
If ditching shampoo isn’t right for you, a sulphate-free shampoo is a better option. Sulphates are the foaming detergent element in shampoo – often listed as SLS (sodium laureth sulphate or similar) – which can be irritating to skin and scalp. Ultimately, it can strip moisture from the hair, which is often worse for curly than straight hair.
Scott Ade has an alternative styling method: “Start by washing and conditioning your hair. Add a small golf ball-sized amount of the best hair mousse (no skimping out) to towel dried hair and then use a hairdryer to dry, shape and mould your hair in to the look. A mousse is great because once it’s dried it gives hold, but your hair is still malleable, so you have to add less finishing product; be it a clay, wax or a cream. For me blow drying the hair is essential; you have to be one of a very lucky few to have the right hair texture to achieve this look without a hairdryer.”
In terms of styling, it’s a balancing act between taming flyaway strands and keeping the hair touchable and soft. Put down the crunch-inducing gel and go for one of these products instead. Karen Alder recommends leave-in products such as Jonathan Silky Dirt Shine & Define Crème (pick some up on your next trip to the US), a vegan texturizing cream to control frizz and add shine, and our favourite, Kiehl’s Creme with Silk Groom, which she advises applying to the ends of damp hair.
Avoid the roots when you apply this type of product or it can make hair look greasy. Scott Ade’s product preferences are, “a little mousse and either a clay or a cream to finish is all you need for this look. I recommend Redken Full Effect 04 All-Over Nourishing Mousse , Redken Rough Paste 12 and the Dyson Supersonic hairdryer – it’s the best on the market.”