Flip-ups, spikes, blow-outs, long bangs—perhaps these styles were intended to recall looks from the past, but they’ve become such gaudy perversions of the originals that they are something else entirely. The flatironed look of Zac Efron, for example, harks back to David Cassidy and other seventies light-rock heartthrobs. Now the look is so carefully designed, foppish types like Efron have to spend upwards of an hour to get party-ready, and have to attend to it constantly thereafter.

Other product-soaked, color-treated styles emulate punk hair from the seventies and the sculptural coiffures worn by New Wavers like A Flock of Seagulls. The difference is that those guys didn’t care whether they blended in—being nonconformist and standing out were the point. The real tragedy of today’s hairstyles is that they’re actually supposed to look normal.

Douchebag hair exists only because our overstyled, surgically enhanced, neurotically preening culture demands it. Now that appearance modification via plastic surgery, fake tanning, colored contact lenses, and jawline Restylane injections is widespread, contrived hair seems the least a guy can do. Just take a look at the overly made-up, porny girls these dudes hang out with and you get a good idea of why their minds have warped enough to think frosted tips are a good idea.

Guys who want to break free of the cultural shellack should return to classic images of naturally stylish figures for inspiration. “Go back to the icons of style: James Dean, early Elvis, Steve McQueen,” Hauck says. As for today’s role models, look to media players like Anderson Cooper, George Clooney, and Johnny Depp, all of whom have good, unaffected hair. “Hair is not an exact science,” Losi says. “In the end, you can’t force your hair to do what it doesn’t want to do.”

Tell that to the guy who can’t leave the house without a good blow-out and a fistful of product.