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How to Get Donald Glover’s Hair

Celebrity groomer Erica Sauer spills on her trade-secret hair tips

Donald Glover mobile
Donald Glover / Theo Wargo/Getty Images

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December 20, 2018

Have you ever looked at your favorite celebrity’s red carpet images and thought, “Damn. How did they make their hair do that?” Erica Sauer, celebrity men’s groomer, is likely the woman behind it. Her client list runs the gamut: Donald Glover, John Legend, Jamie Dornan, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, John Krasinski, Will Smith, Josh Hutcherson, Adam Sandler, Russell Crowe and Milo Ventimiglia, to name a few.

 

Hailing from Ventura County, about an hour north of LA, Sauer has spent ten years in the hair business. She originally set out on an entertainment law path, working first at United Talent, one of LA’s premier talent agencies. “Working behind a desk wasn’t for me, and I used the connections from UTA to launch a hair and makeup career,” Sauer says. Her very first client was Justin Long. The job? Those now-iconic Apple commercials. “I got an agent pretty quickly doing men’s makeup, but realized hair would follow, so I went to barber school.”

 

One of her star clients, Donald Glover, along with crushing the charts this year with his infectious track "This is America," has inspired serious hair envy along the way. Here are the eight steps to get true, Donald Glover hair, direct from the hairstylist's mouth.

1. Shampoo

Shampoo your hair only twice a week. Having natural oil, especially if your hair is short, is very important. You can still condition. Donald Glover’s hair is tight, Type 4 hair. You should moisturize every day with shea butter, coconut conditioner or argan oil. Type 4 hair breaks easily. Type 1 hair should still be conditioned, but not as much.

2. Moisturize

With level 4A or 4B hair, like Glover’s, you don’t have to detangle as much as a type 4C, the curliest type. Philip B has a great one that I love. I also have a few, less expensive options I keep in my kit. Argan Oil has a good one. A few over-the-counter options from places like Target are still successful.

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3. Detangle

I use my fingers to get his afro looking the way that I want it to. You can pull out one or two-inch pieces. In the last six months, his hair isn’t a uniform curl. We like to pull out pieces to be a natural texture. I pull out a two-inch piece, pull it out a little bit longer with my fingers, and use a blowdryer to create different lengths.

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4. Pik

Sometimes, I will just pull it out with an actual afro pik. It makes it a little more uniform. This is helpful if you want to create an asymmetrical look, with one side two-inch stuck to your head and the other feathered out.

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5. Beard Maintenance

Keeping your beard moisturized is also super important. A good beard comb, something with boar bristles is helpful. You can get a flat beard brush at any place, like a Sally’s Beauty. Jojoba oil and argan oil both stimulate oil and are super nourishing to the hair follicle. You can grab both of these at Whole Foods or organic markets. On the high end, Tom Ford makes a two-inch beard oil that I always have in my kit.

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Neroli Portofino Conditioning Beard Oil, $52

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6. Beard Trimming

I prefer scissor-over-comb with beards, to clean up the stray hairs. Brush the beard up, so you can see the real length of the hair, and use the scissors… It’s called freehand scissoring… and pick out some stray hairs. Or, you can use clippers, but that is a little scarier. One miss and you can take out your entire beard! (laughs) The point of the beard, in my opinion, is to be masculine. So an unkempt beard can be too tidy. 

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7. Clippers

I like to take clippers and move at a diagonal on the neck, to eradicate that line. You know how you can do the straight line of the neck? Instead, take the edge of your clippers and move at a diagonal, moving in and out of the beard. You still clean up the neck but remove what shouldn’t be there. I love these clippers from Wahl Pro—they’re a great size. Small, light and easy to travel with.

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8. Set It

I like to take a bit of hairspray or gel to set the look. One of the guy’s biggest insecurities are the grey hairs that appear in their beard or the front of their hairline or eyebrows. So, I use Anastasia brow gel to tame those fly-aways.

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