Men’s groomer KC Fee first met actor and viral underwear sensation Jeremy Allen White in 2018 at the Toronto International Film Festival when he was in town for Homecoming, the Julia Roberts TV series. Back then, the Emmy-winning star of The Bear had short hair, but when Fee was reunited with him for the premiere of the Hulu show, he’d grown his hair out for the role and requested “a more, lived in, kind of wet look” says Fee.
They’ve worked together ever since for his publicity appearances (sadly, she did not get to work on his Calvin Klein ad) keeping White’s relaxed curls in check, which are now a huge part of his sex appeal. And he’s not the only one currently wearing his hair like this on the red carpet circuit; see also Charles Melton and Timothée Chalamet.
“I’m getting asked about it all the time,” says Fee of the style that’s on the rise. “It’s very much like a couple years ago when it was the beard and short cropped hair.” Fee thinks that it works best with classic clothes, which is where White’s red carpet style leans — ”It’s kind of an element of unkempt sophistication” — and with no facial hair which can read “too mountain man.”
For men who have natural curls, often their biggest missteps are either thinking there’s nothing they can do with it so they keep it short, ignoring it and just wearing it in a giant frizzball (think Seth Rogan) or they go to the other extreme and load it with product (think Justin Timberlake). “And it’s too heavy and weighed down and has that wet kind of crunchy curl look,” says Fee.
To celebrate your curls, it all starts with the right cut. “You definitely need longer on top,” says Fee. Then lean into it. On damp hair, run some curling lotion or serum through it to minimize frizz and create hydration. Fee loves using Roz Milk Hair Serum with Santa Lucia Styling Oil right after, but she’s also a big fan of curl products from Bumble and Bumble as well as Kevin Murphy.
Next, diffuse, which is using heat from a hair dryer but not the air. That’s achieved with a diffuser attachment which many men can feel intimidated by. Fee has a great solution. “One of the best hack products out there is the Hot Sock,” says Fee. “It almost looks like a sock that you put over the nozzle of the hairdryer. And then just kind of scrunch the hair to dry it. It’s great for travel too.”
While diffusing, Fee has a specific technique. “I manipulate with my hands to work with the curls,” she says. “So it’s very much like twisting it around to kind of form the curl. Like twist and scrunch.” To add volume she does the same thing, pulling and twisting from the root around the hairline.
When hair is about 80% dry, the third step is applying a curl defining product; Oribe’s Silkening Crème provides an especially smooth finish. “That gives it the definitive curl, the texture, kind of lived in look,” says Fee. After that you’re good to go. Fee also says that it works well with White’s red carpet style because his hair has a laissez faire attitude: disheveled and lived in. “He also has a great innate sense of himself, what he likes and he’s very comfortable in his own skin. So he just rocks it and is getting attention for just truly being authentic.”