Men: A step-by-step guide to achieve 4 'oppa' hairstyles from BTS’ V to Hyun Bin
When it comes to great-looking hair, you can’t go wrong taking a cue from Korean pop stars and leading men. You might want to skip the barber for this round.
Thinking it’s about time to switch things up, hair-wise? Guys, if you’re still getting that dated undercut or the same quick once-over with the hair clippers – yes, we think you’re definitely in need of a hair makeover and perhaps should consider going to a hair salon instead of the barber.
Want a 'do that will up your style cred, as well as get you the right attention? Look to the heads of South Korea’s most popular idols and celebrities for inspiration. They’re setting the biggest hair trends for men in Asia, if not the world, according to Readen Chia, associate director of Chez Vous Hair Salon.
CNA Lifestyle got him to pick out four “oppa” (older brother) hairstyles that a regular guy can also successfully try, and explain what goes into their making – whether they require a specific cut, hair product, hairstyling tools and techniques that, we assure you, won’t be too tough to execute.
GONG YOO’S CURTAIN PARTED BANGS
This hairstyle is all about the bangs, which can be parted at the centre or on either side of the hairline (best done in a 3:7 ratio) – no surprise why it takes its name from the drapes hanging over your windows.
Obviously, a longer fringe is requisite for this look. At the same time, it requires some level of volume and texture – in other words, you’ll probably need a perm or, in lieu of that, decent DIY hairstyling skills.
Chia noted that this hairstyle is usually worn with wavy, permed hair. “Unfortunately, this oppa hairstyle may scream ahjussi (uncle) for some, because not everyone looks good with wavy hair. In fact, some of us may look older than we actually are after a perm,” he said.
Want a preview of how it will look on you? Chia suggested asking your hairstylist to create a temporary wave for you with hairstyling tools before you take the plunge.
Chia also advised those with thinning hair or very fine hair to stay away from curtain bangs. “This hairstyle requires good hair density and thickness, otherwise, the parting will look overly wide and sparse,” he explained.
Once you have a perm in place, it’s not too complicated to finesse the look at home. Here’s what to do:
1. Apply hairstyling mousse on damp hair.
2. Blow-dry hair in the opposite direction of where you want it to fall on your head to create volume.
3. Shape and add definition to the fringe and rest of the hair with a light hair wax, then set the hairstyle with hairspray.
V OF BTS’ MODERN MULLET
This year’s trendiest hairstyle for men is, admittedly, not easy to accept for the average Singaporean gent. But that’s what trends are – they are not meant for everyone, but those with the requisite attitude to pull them off, and definitely jobs that do not have a strict dress code.
Most people think of G-Dragon when the mullet is mentioned, but there are actually many other subtler takes on the hairstyle besides the extreme versions seen on the Korean rapper. In fact, Chia thinks that it can be a very versatile hairstyle for men.
“The mullet can be customised to suit different hair types, and there are so many variations on the style. You can wear it longer at the back and with micro bangs for a punk-rock vibe; with a side fringe part or comma fringe (described below) for a K-pop-idol-inspired look; or not quite so long at the back and with a permed top and fringe for a preppy-ish look,” he explained.
To achieve the version of the modern mullet you desire, Chia advised to go to your hairstylist with reference pictures, since it can be hard for the layman to describe or distinguish between the many different components of the hairstyle’s multiple variations.
“Take note that the back of a mullet can grow out of shape quickly, so it may not be ideal for those with uneven hair growth or a slanted hairline at the back, and probably those who dislike making frequent trips to the salon for haircut maintenance,” he added.
A pro of having a mullet is that it is easy to style at home, says Chia. Here’s what to do:
1. Use a thickening spray on hair that is damp, and then blow-dry hair.
2. Shape and add definition to hair with hair wax, and spray on a texturising spray.
KIM SOO-HYUN’S COMMA HAIR
Named after the punctuation mark because of the curled-inwards fringe, this hairstyle has been popular among male Korean idols since a few years ago and, according to Chia, is still in fashion now.
The best thing about it is that you don’t need a perm – all you need is to know how to produce a C-shaped curl with either a flat iron or a hairdryer. It’s not too complicated for a guy to learn – ask your hairstylist for tips on how best to recreate the look he or she has given you.
While comma hair used to be seen on Korean stars in a more precise, defined shape, these days, it’s more commonly worn in a slightly tousled, more-textured style. “Comma-ed” bangs are typically worn on the highly popular two-block cut, or its slightly mushroom-shaped cousin. Get the haircut right and you’re set for hairstyling success at home:
1. Apply pomade (for a wet look) or hair wax (for a matte look) on damp hair, then part your hair.
2. Blow-dry your hair while using your fingers as a shaping tool. You can create the “comma” curls by picking up individual locks along your hairline and pushing them up into a C shape, then directing the hot air from hairdryer at it until it dries.
3. A flat iron can also be used – clamp it over a lock of hair and flick it inwards, towards your face, while running the styling tool through the hair. Work section by section until you achieve your desired look. You’ll need some practise for either methods, but eventually you’ll learn how to effectively control the hairstyling tool.
4. Set your hairstyle with hairspray.
HYUN BIN’S SLICKED-BACK HAIR
A classic hairstyle for men, this style channels a smart, dressy vibe, which explains why Korean celebrities love to sport it when attending award ceremonies. Chia pointed out that you’d hardly see any guys with slicked-back hair on the streets in South Korea, however, because many of them actually consider it to be a dated hairdo that makes them look older than they really are.
“For most Korean men, a visible fringe is an important ‘tool’ for appearing youthful – a trait not found in slicked-back hair,” he added. Still, it’s an undeniable fact that the stars look great in the slicked-back look, and you can too. Their secret? Instead of pulling their hair from the front and straight to the back from the hairline, they go for a side-swept variation with a parting.
This hairdo will suit just about any type of hair, although it may look more modern if your hair is cut shorter on the sides and back of the head. “This is the easiest men’s hairstyle to style at home,” said Chia. For an updated take, leave some strands of the fringe loose and tousled for a “carefree” look.
1. Apply pomade on hair that has been 50 per cent blow-dried. If you’d like to create a wet look, put the product on wet hair. Alternatively, if you desire a matte look, put it on dry hair.
2. Part hair and comb it in the direction to create your desire look.
3. Set your hairstyle with hairspray.