Bradley Cooper’s hair is the divining rod of the men’s grooming industry. No other male celebrity experiments with his look as freely and purposefully. He clearly understands the power of grooming, not just for his characters, but for himself. When A Star Is Born launched on screens last year, it not only cemented his place as a director, singer, and award-bait, but also as a full-blown grooming icon. His character Jackson Maine’s shaggy rock star anti-style instantly reached icon status and spurred men everywhere to start growing their hair and throwing away their razors.
It is hard to separate Cooper from Jackson Maine, which is why it was such a shock to see him show up at the Golden Globes clean-shaven and with a shiny movie star ‘do. A few weeks later, he showed up at the SAG Awards with five o’clock shadow and a more disheveled (but still styled) coif. If that progression is any indication of what’s to come at this year’s Oscars, when he’ll be taking the stage to sing “Shallow” with his co-star Lady Gaga, I’m placing my money on an even more relaxed look to pay homage to the character he’s created.
But that’s the thing about the Jackson Maine look: it’s specific. To go full Maine at a formal event like the Oscars would look completely out of place. Long, unkempt hair looks rad on stage, but not always on the red carpet. So I called up Natalia Bruschi, Cooper’s actual groomer and the women behind his most iconic grooming looks, to find out exactly how to translate a Maine mane into an everyday look that any guy can rock, whether they’re performing in front of thousands or just watching from home.
WASH YOUR HAIR THE NIGHT BEFORE
The foundation to any good hair style is the hair itself, so always start with a blank slate. That doesn’t necessarily mean a squeaky clean slate, though. “Shampooing the night before is essential,” says Bruschi. “Then sleep on it and just wet it down the next day. It will have a little bit of oil and a little bit of slept-in body at the roots.” Cooper himself has course hair, which tends to get try, so Bruschi has him use a moisturising shampoo and conditioner, but always use a formula for your specific hair type.
USE A TEXTURE PASTE
To create piece-y, gritty texture on any length of hair, Bruschi uses a texturising paste. Pastes have hold, but aren’t wet or shiny and many use ingredients like salt to add volume. “Use a dime sized amount and rub it into both hands to distribute the product evenly,” says Bruschi. “I'll distribute it in the back first, then the top and sides, and then put the last bit of product through the front.” The last thing you want is a big clump of product front and centre, but it’s easy to add more if you need it.
ALWAYS USE YOUR FINGERS
The secret to a relaxed look is to avoid combs and brushes at all costs. “It's all about manipulating with your fingers and your hands,” she says. “It's mostly patting down the hair, running the fingers through it, scrunching it to keep the volume.” And don’t even think about a part. As Cooper himself told Bruschi about this style, “relax and don’t be such a perfectionist.”
SAY NO TO HAIR SPRAY
The finishing touch to easygoing hair is that there is no finishing touch, so put down the hairspray. “[Cooper] likes his hair natural and relaxed and he likes to be able to run his hands through it,” Bruschi says. With a style like this, running your hands through it is actually essential, since it will help distribute the oils and product consistently and make it actually look better.
SMOOTHE THE BEARD
A Jackson Maine beard is the second part of the Jackson Maine equation. And whether you have stubble, a shorter trim like Cooper, or a beard down to your navel, the care is the same. Start with a beard serum, which Brushi also uses in Cooper’s hair and on his skin, to hydrate and soften the hair. Then top it off with a beard cream. “It’s conditioning, but it has hold,” she says. “If you have any hair that's sticking out, it helps flatten it.” It can also double as a hair product if you’ve, say, run out of your paste.
TRIMMING? USE TALC
Trimming your beard isn’t like your hair, you can do it the same day as an event. In fact, you need to trim a beard much more often than your hair to help it keep its shape. But trimming your beard is messy business. Bruschi uses Aqua di Parma Colonia talc powder to remove trimming and hair from Cooper’s neck and face, ensuring that he looks relaxed, but not messy. “It also removes excess oils from skin and lifts the hair perfectly,” she says.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health