How to: beach hair for men

It's a fine line between the chic surfer look and cheesy '90s boy band. Tread carefully.

While some trends disappear forever, others wash ashore again and find a second life: “surfer hair” is back in style thanks to stars like Zac Efron. But before you make any snap judgments, know that there are no puka-shell necklaces involved this time, and that this beach-friendly look comes with less maintenance than 2015’s grey-hair-dye trend (as in, your hair won’t accidentally turn purple).

For the most flattering results, go for highlights instead of an all-over dye. “I’m a fan of contrast and for that, highlights are best,” says Vaughn Acord, stylist and founder of V76 by Vaughn. “What’s also great is that they will be enhanced while you’re outside in the sun.”

The contrast from these highlights will add visual texture to your hair. This is a key component of the style, as is the gritty sea-soaked texture that one gets from a dip in the ocean. To mimic this effect at home, Vaughn recommends a sea-salt spray or a hair tonic to add separation. His other secret? Ditching the comb. “Use your hands, as combing can calm hair and kill any texture,” he says.

If you’ve got thick, unruly hair, try a small dollop of conditioning gelfor sturdier hold, or a light cream if you want it wind-swept. Guys with less finicky hair should stick with a texturizing paste, which will make the style look fuller. Again, use your hands, not a comb.

As for hair care, use nourishing shampoo and conditioner. Condition daily—this will still remove grease and product buildup—and shampoo every second or third day if you can manage. Since shampoo strips hairs of its natural oils, it’s hard to get that perfect texture and separation if you wash it daily. On those in-between days, use a dry shampoo to nourish the hair while absorbing any excess grease. The key here is to use products that strengthen and moisturize the hair instead of drying it out.

If you want to take your hair-care regimen one step further, invest in a color-preserving shampoo and leave-in conditioner. They’ll slow any fading effects, and will fortify hair that is weakened or damaged by the dye.

And guys, let a professional do it. (Seriously, do not try any lemon-juice lightening concoctions or some type of over-the-counter sun-in product.) A stylist knows what shade to give you, how to apply it, and how long to let it set. There are too many variables to try this at home and expect anything presentable.