Hair Product: East Coast vs. West Coast

May 19th, 2014

Since our move from NYC to LA, we’ve been steadily documenting the (very notable) differences in style from the East Coast to the West Coast. It’s been a fascinating cultural experiment, and a continuous learning experience.

One of the first things that gradually started to change, for both Alex and I, was the way we styled our hair.

Here’s my perspective.

East Coast


East Coast: sharp, clean, layered, tailored, serious, success-driven, about-my-business, thoughtfully put together

On the East coast I usually keep my hair sleek and sharply in place (to go with my bespoke suits and serious business shirts). First I dampen my hair, dry my hands thoroughly, and work-in a significant amount of product. Then I use a sharp comb to split the side part, and swoop it all up and to the side in a Don Draper-like fashion. I also use a stiffer product with a strong hold and high shine, something like this hard water pomade.

West Coast


West Coast: casual, flowy, easy, beachy, free spirited, about-my-lifestyle, purposefully underthought

On the West Coast my hairstyle is a bit different. I still keep it high and tight on the sides, but it’s much looser and wavier (to go better with my lightweight leather jackets and linen tees). First I soak my hair, dry my hands thoroughly, than work in a small amount of pomade. No combs on the west coast; I forgo the side-part all together and only use my fingers to push my hair straight back. It’s purposefully messy and sometimes falls down in my face a little, which I really like. It’s like my version of a whiteboy jerry curl. I also use a lighter product with a more natural hold and only a slight sheen, something like this cream pomade.


Do you change your hairstyle with different outfits/styles? Or always stick to one go-to “do”?


Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Articles of Style

  • Nathan

    I mix it up. My go to is the Bradley cooper style — calls for a lighter, no shine wax. Sometimes I slick it back if I’m in important business meetings and occasionally I’ll go with the side part.

    I learned quickly that a good conditioner and a few different types of hair product can do wonders.

  • Jack

    It’s Jheri curl. Just saying :)

  • Billy

    I’ve had your east coast style for the past couple of years. I use American Crew gel or pomade. I recently came across this article in Details article calling slicked , stiff hair “douchy”

    Do they mean the Jersey Shore spiky gel type , or all gelled hair in general?

  • ChrisD

    to have a beautiful thick head of hair.. *sigh*
    I can’t pull off your east coast due to poor coverage but I’m actually rocking the thinning man’s version of your west-coast look because screw “going ultra short to make it appear more full”. I have the rest of my life to be bald, i’ll cross the bridge with a razor when i get there.

  • AJ

    Jheri curl:)

    I’m a white boy too, just a big NBA fan

  • LouCaves

    If I do change anything it would be the cut. I don’t really change how it’s styled.

    I currently have a very short cut (short for me) for the summer so I don’t have to worry about styling when I have a motorcycle helmet on (3 guard on the top and blended downward).

    When it’s short I use a a dab of sunscreen and a dab of hair conditioner mixed together.

    Thanks, TSB.

    • Dan Trepanier

      Respect the sunscreen + conditioner on the short buzz. That’s a veteran move.

  • Shawn

    For hairstyles, I usually go through phases. From 13-17 years old I’ve had long hair (read here: longer than shoulder height) which I mostly tucked in a pony tail or a samurai bun. From 17 to 23 years old was my buzz cut years, #1 or #2 every week of every other week. Since the last 2 years tho, I’ve started to let my hair grow longer on top and I keep it short but not skin-faded on the sides, and go with a side part. Recently, I noticed I started to experience hair thinning, especially around the rosette on top of my head, so I might go back to the buzz cut and grow a beard, à la Ethan from the Armoury. I mean, being 6′ tall, almost no one will see the balding top of my head unless I’m sitting, but I’m not sure I’m confident enough to embrace my starting hair thinning so..

    • Dan Trepanier

      Shoulder length -> full buzz = that takes balls. Love it.

      Great point about thinning hair. We have a piece coming up about “dealing with this issue as a man”, would love to get multiple guys’ opinions on the topic…(sneak peak: step up your hat game!)

      Thanks for sharing Shawn, and stay tuned!

      • LC

        Once you’re past thinning to full-on balding, shaving it close is the way to go: looks good on most men, projects confidence, easy to maintain. It’s sort of like hiding your baldness in plain sight.

        Hats can look great–and are very practical protection against the sun–but I’d caution against becoming the hat guy who’s afraid ever to show his thinning locks in public. I’ve known guys who wore hats *everywhere*, including indoors, as they were losing their hair and it came off as self-conscious and insecure.

  • Miguel

    Well my hair is short, I get the same haircut every week so it don’t matter where I’m at, my hair it’s always the same.
    What I do change all the time is my Hats, Fedora, etc.

    • Dan Trepanier

      I kinda miss my days of the bald fade with a “1” on top…I loved seeing my barber every Sunday. He was a friend and mentor to me at the time…that crazy Jamaican

  • Calvin McCoy

    Does your leather jacket say ‘T-Birds’ on the back ? Definitely feeling some 50s greaser vibes

    • Dan Trepanier

      We’re just out here looking for some Sunshine Sandys.

  • Sergio Arteaga

    I’ve lived in LA and NYC, my hair is the only thing that’s remained consistent. Tapered at the side and short at the top, regardless of where I’ve lived. No product at all for me though.

    • Dan

      I usually only go no-product for casual or buisness-casual looks. Anything else is slicked back with pomade.

      • Sergio Arteaga

        My hair is never long enough to slick it back. I get a 3 on the top so my hair is usually no longer than 1/2 inch, maybe just a little longer than that.

      • Dan Trepanier

        So slicked for business and formal?

  • JBells

    For the past year I’ve gone more with your east coast hairstyle exclusively. Within the last month I’ve wanted a change tho. I’ve always wanted to grow out a samurai bun and after seeing Wes grow his out again I am now on the journey. I’m still undecided about what to do with my hair during this in between stage. Any suggestions?

    Your west coast style looks like Danny Zuko using soul glow. Dig it

    • Westley Dimagiba

      The awkward stage is the most difficult part, my advice would just be to maintain it by going to the barber once every month to form it properly.

      Otherwise, good luck.

      • JBells

        Salamat kuya

      • Dan Trepanier

        If you can look like Westley Dimagiba in the end, it will have all been worth it.

    • Brent G Rowe

      Check out Big Jimmy’s cut from boardwalk empire… That should hold you until you can tie it in a bun.

  • NB

    Could you provide an example of how you’d style it in the South>?

    • ZachPack

      I think the south is very similar to the east coast, but without all of the product. They’re more of a free flowing comb over.

    • Dan Trepanier

      Hmmm… I’d have to live in the south for some time to give you a real answer.

      My guess is that it would be a “dryer” look. I’d probably dry my hair with a towel as much as possible before applying product, and use a very light product with no sheen to keep it looking coifed by not “sleek”… But what do I know, I only go to the south to go “mudding” (or “jeeping”) with my country boy brothers…

      Although the Team and I are planning a Nashville trip in the near future… Maybe I’ll have a better feel after that.