Manscaping has been popular for some time now. While men are still trimming, shaving and plucking some parts of their body, the top of the head is one area our gender doesn’t typically want to be left bare.
In this particular piece, I really want to focus away from the products for a change, and really delve into some of the great styles that men need to pay attention to. From classically inspired cuts to more modern flairs, one thing that’s out now is the fohawk and for good reason – it’s about as ridiculous as the name itself. Sure, if you’re 16, the girls might think it looks cute on you, but for the thirty-year-old in the boardroom, rest assured no one is going to be swooning over it.
So for those men who are interested in really grasping their hair by the strand (so to speak), read on, and let’s explore some great styles and cuts for everything from short hair to long.
The Prohibition High-and-Tight
It was very popular in the mid-1920s and with shows like Boardwalk Empire and Peaky Blinders; they all had very similar hairstyles. They are very short on the side with longer hair on the back and it gives you that rough edge that’s kind of cool but at the same time, very classic. It’s a style that works for anything from fine to thick hair as long as it’s reasonably straight and not too curly.
Personally, I’ve somewhat wavy hair and I can still pull that style off by using a very strong gel which is available at any drugstore. Even though my hair has a mind of its own, gels allow me to get a fairly straight look and it easily comes out just by washing it with water and regular shampoo.
The tricky part about this haircut is that when it grows out, it can look quite bad so you have to pay attention and go to your barber on a regular basis. Apart from a strong gel, of course, you could also use wax, you can use a pomade or fiber. It really all depends on the hair and what works for you.
I’ve tried many things and pomade for me created a pomade acne which meant I had lots of zits on my forehead and the sheets and the pillowcases were always dirty and it was a huge pain.
In terms of length, I suggest you have at least two inches on top and if you’re at the barber, tell them to go with number one to start and you can see how you’ll like it and how it blends in. Of course, you can also have longer hair all the way up to five or six inches but then it gets a little borderline.
The Pompadour AKA The James Dean
You’ll need a little more on top, but this classic cut is coming back with a bang. Often called the James Dean, this updated version can be done with more than just naturally wavy hair. Obviously, if you are looking to replicate the exact James Dean look, you need some curl to your locks, but the Pompadour can now be done with straight hair as well. You’re going to want a bit of hair on the sides this time, but it can be done with less. The goal is more on top since this particular style makes use of combing the hair back and to the side meaning that with extremely short hair, you’re just going to look like a porcupine.
If you’re new to this hairstyle, I suggest you go to a barber because it all starts with a hairdryer. Yes, if you don’t have one of those, you can safely invest in them it’s not just something for women. For the pompadour, you also need good hair products.
For most men, a medium pomade or grooming cream is the best way to achieve that look that looks typically like the cool James Dean.
Most barbers should be familiar with this look. It’s something that’s been around since the mid-1900s, and young or old, this cut should be a pre-requisite for barbers working in a salon or barbershop. If your barber doesn’t know this cut like the back of their hand – run.
I’m not talking about the 1980s Gordon Gekko look that just looks dated today. Of course, if you have longer hair on top, you can comb it back and have a little flair and not get quite an extreme Gordon Gekko look.
If you want to wear the updated version of it, you want a square cut and if you tell your barber, he’ll know what you mean. For this hairstyle, a mousse works best and you just work it in your hair and then comb it back. I suggest not to comb it back quite straight. You want a little wave so it looks more pleasing.
The Gent Gazette
It’s the kind of a haircut I typically wear. I part it on one side and initially, I started parting it in front, in the middle, and I moved all the way out. Usually, my sides are cut shorter all the way up so I get that nice transition. At the same time, it grows out in a way that doesn’t look terrible. Usually, you go get a haircut about every three to four weeks.
If you want to see how I get that hairstyle step-by-step and what my hair looks like without product, please check out this video here.
Personally, I use a very strong gel got2b from Henkel. Traditionally you would do it with pomade but unfortunately, I just had many bad experiences with it.
This isn’t what you’re thinking. I’m not suggesting you just roll out of bed and walk into the office. This is the “gentleman’s” version of the bedhead and one that’s a little more hipster and rock and roll than some of the others.
It’s similar to a pompadour. It’s shorter on the side, higher on top but it’s just a little more disheveled which could look more relaxed. It’s particularly popular with hipsters, often combined with a beard.
You want to tell your barber to keep it high on the sides and instead of combing it back, you’re pulling it forward and you dishevel it slightly with your hands. This is definitely a cut you don’t want to be slicked back, otherwise, it looks greasy.
In terms of products, you want to stick with something with a matte finish and it can be like a grooming cream or a foaming cream, not a pomade, they’re just too stiff. I suggest you start with damp hair and then use a blow-dryer and your fingers to kind of dry it in shape and the only problem is strong winds. To counteract that, you can work with a bit of hairspray.
There are so many haircuts popular today that to list them all would be difficult. Many people with longer hair will opt to style it in a samurai or above the shoulders, whereas people with shorter hair can mix and match the above cuts to give various looks based on their mood or style that day.
My biggest tip is to work with your hair and face shape rather than against it. A good stylist or barber will be able to give you any cut you want and will make you feel great leaving the salon, but once you’re home it’s up to you to maintain it. By choosing a cut that doesn’t suit your hair type, length or face shape, you’re setting yourself up to fail and in the process, look ridiculous.
Here are a few quick tips:
1. Short on the sides looks longer up top. If you keep your sides shorter, you can keep the top shorter too which is easier to maintain yet it will look longer than if the sides grow out. In my case my ears will also look bigger and my wife always teases me about it.
2. Shave the part. I find a nice part to be quite pleasing and you can really achieve it easily by combing it forward first and then backwards to get that proper line. I find that correcting the part is more difficult than starting all over. If you’re having a lot of issues, you can also shave the part with a razor. It’s not something I personally resort to but I definitely know people who swear by it. So give it a try if you have issues getting a nice part you desire.
3. Buy only quality products. Now personally, I’d like to get a more high-quality product that cost a little more but honestly I’ve tried so many things and the got2b is the only thing that works so far for me. If you have a better alternative, please make some suggestions in the comments.
4. Don’t wash your hair daily. By doing so, you’re removing healthy and important oils and you’re just drying out your hair. If you wash your hair every second or third day, you should be just fine. I don’t know if you ever noticed but your hair is likely to look healthier and it’s easy to work with the second day after you’ve washed it than right after you’ve washed it. If you workout or exercise a lot and you feel compelled to wash your hair, I suggest to use conditioner instead and not always shampoo. It will be better for your hair and not as harsh. Also, it gets rid of all the grime and grit of your hair without stripping it of all the essential oils.
5. It’s okay to have multiple products. Sometimes you want different hairstyles that require different products. Just test a few things and figure out what works and doesn’t work for you. Every hair is the same and no hair is like the other.
6. Invest in a quality comb. I know the 50 cent or dollar store combs – very tempting. They’re made out of plastic. They’re cheap. They seem to be exactly the same ones as more expensive combs yet a quality comb will cost you about 20 bucks. It’s usually made of hard rubber and it’s much better for your scalp. It’s much more comfortable and you can also comb in a more precise way. Personally, I’ve tried horn combs but I find the teeth to be too stiff and too brittle so over time they’ll just break.
7. Establish a good relationship with your barber. Make sure to tip your barber well; five to ten dollars are perfectly acceptable, they’ll be happy, they’ll remember you, and they’ll fit you in when it’s tight and you need a haircut quickly. They will go the extra mile to get you that haircut that you want and looks great on you.