GQ Videos

James Harden's Burst Fade Haircut Recreated by a Master Barber

There is nobody in the NBA with more iconic hair than Houston Rockets star James Harden, but what exactly defines his look? Master barber Faheem Alexander is here to recreate Harden's beard and hair so you can figure out how to ask for it at your next haircut.

Released on 11/15/2019

Credits

Starring: Faheem Alexander

Transcript

00:00
Joey!
00:01
I'm hearing you're the hottest barber in Philly, man.
00:03
A little something like that.
00:04
Let's do it man.
00:06
[slow hip-hop beat]
00:12
I've been cutting hair for 29 years.
00:15
My list of clients that I have serviced that are celebrities
00:17
are The Roots,
00:18
Mr. Jay Pharaoh,
00:19
Mr. Tracy Morgan.
00:20
Today, I'm going to give my man, Joey,
00:21
that James Harden look.
00:26
I got some pictures here Joey.
00:28
The evolution of James Harden's build up
00:29
to his iconic style.
00:31
Oh wow.
00:32
[Faheem] So we got like 2007 here.
00:34
Little James Harden, high school.
00:36
Looks like he's sporting like a number 2.
00:37
[Joey] That was like the style, like around 2007,
00:40
when people like they startin' to cut their braids.
00:42
[Faheem] 2009
00:44
There go the beard.
00:45
The year of the beard, it's growing.
00:46
That smile.
00:47
Look like the money coming.
00:48
That chipped tooth.
00:49
That's not gonna be there after that first check.
00:51
You know what? And it's interesting
00:53
because like even like in 2009
00:55
like people wasn't even like tryin' to grow their beard
00:57
or even havin' that type of style.
00:59
OK Joey.
01:00
This is the beginning of the Mohawk.
01:01
As you can tell, it's faded on the side.
01:03
This barber's allowing it to grow,
01:05
in the back and on top.
01:06
This the James Harden I knew.
01:07
Like when I first discovered him.
01:09
He had the Mohawk.
01:10
He was like kinda stand out at this point.
01:14
2014
01:15
[Faheem] There it go, it's comin'.
01:16
The beard is like growing, to it's highest point.
01:18
[Joey] That's crazy. I never noticed after 2011.
01:21
I always thought his beard was at the same length.
01:23
But going through these photos, it's like it was
01:25
actually growing, growing and growing.
01:27
At the top like his kinda his Mohawk kinda like
01:29
went in a little skinnier on top.
01:31
[Faheem] But that's cool.
01:32
That's pretty much like the punk rocker Mohawks.
01:34
They went in skinnier, to show that full effect.
01:36
By this time, 2017.
01:38
James Harden has let his hair grow out.
01:41
As you can see.
01:42
The Mohawk itself is wider.
01:44
It's not the cone shape, it's a Frohawk.
01:47
[Joey] 2019
01:48
Yeah I think this is probably my favorite look
01:51
out of all the looks.
01:52
Where it's like a little lower on the side.
01:54
And just the way how it grows in.
01:55
It's just like, it grows in smooth.
01:58
And also, it just fits all the objects on the face.
02:01
The eyebrows, the eyes, the nose, his forehead
02:04
and the contour shapes that he has.
02:06
That his momma blessed him with.
02:08
So it's look great.
02:09
If I go to another barber.
02:10
What would I call this look specifically?
02:12
So you want to tell them to give you like
02:14
pretty much like a Burst Fade.
02:16
And leave your beard to it's highest point.
02:19
So basically you startin' from like the ear point
02:22
and it just exploding like a burst.
02:24
Right, there we go.
02:25
So the ear from one all the way up to a two,
02:28
it's poppin'.
02:29
Exploding.
02:30
So that's a Burst Fade.
02:32
Let me ask you this.
02:33
What is the easiest way to communicate with the barber?
02:36
Pictures are great Joe.
02:37
You know, make sure your phone is charged
02:39
when you go into the barber shop.
02:41
So you can show the barber, hey, this is what I want.
02:44
Between New York City and Philadelphia,
02:46
they say you know, let me get a Caesar.
02:49
In Philadelphia that mean a Dark Fade.
02:50
It's same exact haircut.
02:52
It's just different terminology.
02:53
So basically I'm leaving the slang alone
02:56
and just showing the picture.
02:57
Can't go wrong with that.
03:00
Why you decide to grow your beard, Joey?
03:01
Because, you know what?
03:02
When you don't have a beard...
03:04
When I had the five o'clock shadow, like nobody really..
03:07
No one paid you no mind.
03:09
But once I had the beard they was like,
03:11
oh, he's serious.
03:12
This is real.
03:13
I get that.
03:14
So the problem that I'm having right now.
03:17
I'm starting to notice.
03:18
On one side, that part of my hair is thinning a little bit.
03:22
So I just have to like smudge it.
03:23
And I'm like trying to cover it up.
03:25
So, with your hair today Joey.
03:27
Maybe I just use like a little bit illusion,
03:29
just to show you a template of how we can
03:32
get that line back out to look natural.
03:35
Doesn't look like it's receding or push back.
03:38
[Faheem] Got the 50 calibers.
03:40
First order of operation here.
03:43
I'm going to remove the weight.
03:45
I take my 50 caliper.
03:47
And my comb.
03:48
Removing the weight is removing the thickness.
03:51
Opening the hawk up.
03:52
To the fade.
03:54
Next order of operation here.
03:56
We going to fade this down.
03:57
To a nice length.
03:59
Maybe, like a one.
04:02
And I'm going downwards; I'm going south.
04:03
So this is called Fading it Down.
04:07
Thirdly.
04:08
I want to get that bling.
04:10
Like that Burst Fade type feeling right here.
04:12
So we can knock all the dark spots out.
04:21
So James Harden's Mohawk is full right here.
04:24
So I'm not going to touch nothing right here at all.
04:27
Because I want it to grow wide.
04:30
The next order of operation that I really like.
04:33
Going to get some shears.
04:35
Thinning Shears.
04:37
So I want to just take...
04:39
Just go like the first line
04:40
and just trim
04:44
the split ends on the hawk.
04:46
Once I got my right side done,
04:49
this is going to be my template
04:50
for my left side.
04:52
So now I'm on my left side.
04:53
Same order of operation here.
04:55
Got my bush comb,
04:56
got my 50 caliper clipper.
05:02
So let me ask you something.
05:04
What inspired you to be a barber?
05:07
What got me into barbering.
05:08
Is just growing up in Philadelphia.
05:10
Late 80's, early 90's.
05:12
It was a lot of, you know, gun violence.
05:14
And it was a lot of drugs and, you know,
05:16
negativity goin' on, you know, in our neighborhoods.
05:18
And the barbershop was a safe haven
05:20
for a lot of us.
05:21
It taught us how to be, you know, good young men.
05:25
Handle yourself in the streets.
05:27
In my barbershop I play that role.
05:28
You know, a mentor, a big brother, you know
05:31
a father figure.
05:32
Someone for somebody else to look up to
05:34
in real time.
05:35
What I mean by real time.
05:37
Every
05:38
Single
05:39
Day.
05:44
So my next step here.
05:45
I just want to add some moisture to his hair.
05:49
I got somethin' special.
05:50
Be right back.
05:51
I call this one here.
05:52
My portable shampoo bowl.
05:55
See the fine mist just shoot out?
05:58
So I need some dampness here.
05:59
Going in a circular motion
06:01
So I got a water and astringent mixed in one.
06:05
To clean his scalp and open up his pores.
06:09
So I need to add some product to his hair.
06:11
So I got some lock and twist gel.
06:13
You don't even need that much.
06:14
Just like a fingertip.
06:16
Kinda like want to get it all up in there.
06:18
The lock and twist gel helps give it body
06:23
Woo, we looking good.
06:24
Now I got my blow dryer here.
06:29
I'm going to turn it on it's highest
06:32
capacity so I can dry the hair up.
06:39
So, what I have here is this 38 special caliper
06:42
to get that nice, crisp shape up.
06:48
So Joey's thinning out right here.
06:50
So I went over just to grab
06:51
some Natural Hair Fibers.
06:54
And I'm just going to put the card right here.
07:01
Get some misty mist to his beard.
07:03
So after the water and astringent combination.
07:05
I want to grab some beard oil.
07:07
Really light, just a few drops to put on the beard.
07:10
Get that shiny coat,
07:12
like a brand new painted car.
07:13
You want to massage it
07:15
into the hair
07:16
to the surface of the cheek.
07:18
Applied my oil.
07:19
I want to grab my blow dryer and a comb attachment.
07:22
So let me ask you this.
07:23
Why are you adding oil after you wet my hair?
07:27
The main reason is.
07:28
After the water, or shampoo, and astringent combination,
07:32
your pores are open.
07:34
So I applied the oil to the follicle
07:37
and massage it into the side of the face
07:39
so it gets down to the cheek.
07:41
And why is it so important to dry it after?
07:43
It's definitely very important to add heat.
07:46
to the oil.
07:47
So you can make it silky smooth.
07:54
So we got the Feather Razor, Joey.
07:56
Just pretty much just steel; it's thin.
07:58
Give you a natural
08:00
fresh arch shape up.
08:02
That's going to be really clean.
08:02
That's what I'm talking about.
08:03
Let's do it.
08:09
So Joey has some new growth going on here.
08:11
And I kinda like want to highlight that.
08:13
So I want to fill it in with some natural fibers.
08:16
Doing this enough times, trains the line.
08:19
And keeps the line out to it's furthest capacity.
08:26
The last step is what I truly, truly like.
08:28
Is Sculpting.
08:29
So, you know, I grab my favorite racquet that I like.
08:32
It's plastic.
08:33
Easy to maintain and take care of.
08:35
And it's sanitary.
08:38
So twisting in a circular motion
08:40
is locking the mohawk.
08:43
And it also has a pick,
08:44
that you can pick the hair out.
08:46
So Joey.
08:47
I think I'm done Joey.
08:49
You know, I got the same as James Harden did.
08:51
I worked very hard on.
08:52
But first let me give you some tips.
08:54
You know, as far as how to maintain it.
08:58
We all know that enhancement in the fibers,
09:01
you know, aren't real.
09:02
They just there as an illusion.
09:04
You can do it yourself, it's very, very easy
09:06
to do.
09:07
Then get you a nice, you know,
09:08
curl racquet to curl your hair.
09:11
That, and maybe if you want
09:13
you can tie it down at night.
09:15
So it doesn't get messed up.
09:17
All right, let's see what we talking about right now.
09:21
Oh, oh wow!
09:23
This is it.
09:24
Wow this is... Yo, this is it.
09:27
When we talk about greatness right now.
09:28
I steppin' out tonight for sure.
09:30
Like for real.
09:31
This fade.
09:33
Oh my gosh I'm going to kill it.
09:34
Faheem, man. You done saved my life man.
09:37
I appreciate you bro.
09:38
Stay true brotha.
09:39
Most likely man.
09:40
Coming from Philly, that brotherly love man.
09:42
You done shown me a lot of love out here man.
09:44
I'm feelin' good. That's what we do.
09:45
That's what we do.