When American Baby asked dads to volunteer for makeovers, we weren't surprised to hear mostly from their significant others. The top complaints: Men keep a hairstyle for years, stick to the same old clothes, and rarely make much of an effort on their appearance. Stylist Antonio Berducci, who works at John Dellaria Salon in New York City and Cristophe Salon in Beverly Hills, came to the rescue armed with advice about small changes that can make guys look and feel better.
Above: Stylist Antonio Berducci makes new daddy Scott Matthews look good.
Kenny Pitts, a firefighter and paramedic, was our most fearless dad. "Go for broke!" he told us -- we could even shave off the mustache he'd had for 17 years. "I can grow it back in three weeks," he reasoned. That's true! All you other dads out there: Your looks are so easy to change, so why not experiment more?
Kenny's wife, Bambi, told us that most of the time he wears firemen's T-shirts. We approved of the 9/11 shirt he wore to our photo shoot, but suggested that he get some plain Ts, too. The goal is for people to notice Kenny first, and what he's wearing second. Finally, at 6-foot-5, Kenny relied on specialty shops for pants. But we found "tall" offerings at Old Navy stores and Gap.com.
Above: Firefighter Kenny Pitts appears nervous about what he's gotten himself into.
Berducci gave Kenny a haircut to tame his wavy hair. It didn't help that Kenny had been using his wife's volumizing shampoo. The message: What works for you may not work for him -- men need shampoo for their specific hair type. "Thick hair needs moisturizing shampoo, and thin hair needs something volumizing," Berducci says.
The shave and haircut alone made Kenny look 10 years younger, so then it was on to finishing touches. His neck gets irritated when he shaves, so Berducci suggests that, in the shower, he wash his face and neck with a scrub such as Lab Series for Men Active Treatment Scrub ($13.50; Sephora stores), then let steam soften his facial hair before shaving. Berducci also tweezed Kenny's eyebrows, something men with thick brows should consider having done every few months. "It makes your eyes look wider and cleans up your whole appearance," he says.
Above: Berducci gives Kenny some expert tips ("don't use your wife's shampoo") while working on his hair.
Kenny wore his new look at work, where he got some razzing, and at home, where his 2-year-old needed time to warm up to her clean-shaven daddy. But everyone agrees that he looks "cool" -- even his teenage sons, which is saying something!
Above: The mustache-less, "younger", "cooler" Kenny Pitts.
"My wife likes my hair kind of long, and I like the beard," Scott Matthews told us, explaining his bushy look. But he was ready to embrace change -- both in his look and his life. Wife Ronda was due to give birth on May 20, and Scott will be home with the baby before going back to teaching high school geometry this fall. Berducci wanted to make him look fresh. "A beard makes you look old, and you're young!" Berducci told Scott. "Plus we want to see more of your face."
Above: Brand-new dad Scott, sporting his soon-to-be gone "bushy" look.
Berducci first cut Scott's hair with a razor, leaving it on the long side but giving it shape, balance, and style. Next, he took out the electric shaver. "I suggest he lose the beard and just keep the goatee," Berducci says. He squared off the goatee to better complement the shape of Scott's face.
Scott's skin is sensitive and prone to razor rash -- Berducci recommends that men with this problem only shave with a regular blade every two or three days. In between they can use an electric razor. To soothe Scott's skin, Berducci recommends he put on a little Nivea Visage Simply Glowing Daily Energizing Moisturizer ($9; drugstores) each day. And when he's on newborn duty this summer, Berducci suggests he shower with a tingly, clean-smelling soap with peppermint, to wake himself up. One to try: Burt's Bees Peppermint Shower Soap ($5; burtsbees.com).
Above: Being a good sport, Scott was open to adding highlights to his hair.
Scott, like many men, is conservative with the colors he wears. We brightened him up by pairing a yellow T-shirt with a striped button-down shirt. When he looked doubtful, we gave him a neutral jacket to throw on top -- it's okay to take baby steps when changing your look! Scott was so pleased, he wore the outfit home to Ronda, who called to say she approves. "He looks like a California boy," she said -- younger and ready to be a hip dad!
Above: Scott relaxes with his new casual look.
Joe Prudente's wife, Denise, nominated him for a makeover. "He works as a construction worker six days a week so I can stay home and raise our 1-year-old daughter," she wrote. "I would love for him to be a king for a day." Joe was open to a new look. "I'm willing to do something different, especially if it makes my wife happy," he told us. What a guy!
Above: Joe is not sure that this makeover deal is going to fly with his construction buddies at work.
Berducci started by squaring Joe's haircut to lengthen his face. "His round cut, with his round face, was a mismatch," he says. "Men need to beware of stylists who give the same cut to every man who walks into their salon." If you feel as if the person who cuts your hair is doing a cookie-cutter job, it's time to change.
Next, Berducci painted on blond highlights. "I tell men to get them done at a salon -- don't highlight at home. You don't want white streaks; plus salon highlights, for men, are cheaper because their hair is so short." How fair is that?
Joe has oily skin and works in the sun, so two products are key for him, Berducci says: A cleansing gel, such as Neutrogena's liquid facial cleanser ($9; drugstores), and an SPF lotion, such as Clarins Advanced Sun Protection Wrinkle Control Cream ($25; department stores). We gave Joe casual clothes he can relax in without looking like he came from a construction site. "This is so much fun," said Denise, who came to watch. They then went on their first date in "ages." There's your final motivation, guys: Change your look, and you might get lucky!
Above: Joe looking pleased with how things turned out.