At Men’s Health, it’s our job to stay on top of the style and grooming trends that men want to know about most. We do that in over a dozen countries—each with its own ideas of what’s cool, sexy… or completely overrated. Whether we’re coaching guys on how to get Beckham’s haircut in the UK, or perfecting our facial lifting exercises in Italy, we have an inside view on what men are doing to look their best around the world. The differences are surprising, sure. But what’s even more interesting is when the same trends start popping up in different places.
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For instance, you might find intricate shave designs showing up on haircuts in South Africa or in Spain. Hangover cures and morning routines are a subject of fascination in Poland and neighbouring Germany, while editors thousands of miles apart are predicting the rise of textured hair. And, around the world the debate rages: is the beard trend coming to an end? Here's a look at the most fascinating, surprising and insightful trends and predictions, from across the pond to across the world.
SHARPEST LOOK: SHAVE DESIGNS
In South Africa, guys favour tightly cropped haircuts with a side fade—and you might see them experimenting with designs shaved into the short-cropped areas on the sides. In Spain, this is likely a line from the temple through the side of the fade.
Meanwhile, in Poland haircuts are evolving fast. "Taking care of your haircut is no longer considered unmanly," writes Piotr Makowsky, Editor-in-Chief of thePoland Edition. "A few years ago, the most popular haircut among young Poles was a jarhead style, so the improvement is huge."
His prediction? Body hair trimming is next, and maybe even a rise of specialty body hair patterns created by grooming experts.
EARLY TREND: NOT-SO-SKINNY TAILORING
You can stop sucking in, because those skinny jeans are out. At least, in Malaysia and South Africa.
"Malaysian men now like the 'lazy' silhouette in clothes," writes Eugene Phua, an editor at Men's Health Malaysia. He points to the rise of fashion brands offering looks that are slouchy and oversized.
Likewise, in South Africa, guys are also ready to let loose.
"The next big trend in menswear: looser-fitting styles and more relaxed or slightly oversized cuts," writes Fashion and Grooming Editor Azeez Jacobs. "It's about less emphasis on business wear and more on a casual feel."
HOT PRODUCT: DEEP CONDITIONER
Here in the States, guys are obsessed with taking care of their hair. (Specifically, they want to keep it.) If that’s you, you might want to take a tip from Malaysia.
Of the top five grooming articles on Men's Health's Malaysian site in the past year, three were about hair care. The most popular? A deep conditioning routine you do once a week for amazing hair.
Low commitment, high reward. (And it's already in English—you can thank us later.)
MOST READ: MORNING ROUTINES
Whether you're hiding the effects of a hangover (Poland), learning what soccer star Fernando Llorente does to his face every day (Spain), or getting the inside scoop on what our local grooming editor does to look good (Germany), a good routine is always worth a read.
Why? Because no matter where you are, men are looking for simple techniques and good products that actually work. Or, as Makowski of Men's Health Poland puts it, "Out readers appreciate articles which prove that products simply do their job."
Plus, as his mag so eloquently puts it—when you wake up after a hard night, you shouldn’t look like a character from “The Walking Dead.”
SEEN EVERYWHERE: UNRULY BEARDS
In almost every country, the beard trend has grown to epic proportions.
"Now it's common to talk about beard oil and shampooing your beard," writes Jacobs from South Africa. In Malaysia, guys are letting their facial hair grow and “leaving behind the clean-cut boy-band look of the '90s,” notes Phua. "Hipster/lumberjack" beards are still popular in Poland. In Spain, long "hipster style" beards have given way to a shorter trend—but the beards live on. And the most popular grooming article in Romania from the past year: "What's the best beard style for your face shape?"
HOT NEW COLOUR: PINK
For cutting-edge guys in South Africa, pink is the new black.
"Traditionally feminine colours are being worn by men," writes Jacobs from the South Africa edition. "and specifically, the color pink has become a huge trend for South African men."
Fashion brands are using shades of rose and blush for masculine items—think basketball tees and bomber jackets, as well as caps and sneakers. If you want to stay ahead of the trend in Cape Town, think pink.
MOST SURPRISING: DIRTY FACES AND GLITTER BEARDS
What surprised our editors the most? Two answers were truly unexpected.
In Germany, it was the "dirty face" trend, which involves wearing an oily face with dark eyeshadow dusted on it. Think smudges—as if you just rode your motorcycle into town on a dusty road.
And in Spain, guys picked up on a sparkly way to show their holiday spirit. Take the beard trend, add glitter, and you have the "glitter beard."
UP NEXT: NATURAL HAIR
Haircuts are getting longer in Spain. Romania is predicting more natural hair textures. The Malaysians are growing their hair shaggier. And the Brits are advocating "softly-styled locks."
Maybe that's because the British have a national grooming bellwether: and his name is David Beckham. Just as his 2000 buzz cut launched a thousand trimmers, his carefree new man bun gave our UK edition a reason to do a whole hair-growing guide.
BIG QUESTION: ARE BEARDS OVER?
Time for the hairy question: how long will the beard trend last?
Asked for his prediction of the next big thing in grooming, Germany’s Grooming Director Ferry Hansen wrote, "Shaved faces! I am really tired of the beard trend."
But, other places, the beards are still big. Even in Spain, where the lumberjack beards have come down in size, facial hair isn't on the outs.
"After a few years of long beards everywhere, now they're shorter," writes Julio César Ortega, an editor in Spain. His next trend prediction? "Short beard with a little bit longer moustache."
The message is universal: long live the beard.
This article originally appeared on Menshealth.com.