It’s Men’s Health Week in Australia and what better time to look at the country’s most popular men’s hair cuts for 2021. Rather than pull these cuts out of a hat, we’ve reached out to some of Australia’s most respected barbers to see what men are asking for.
No longer are men expected to don exclusively short hairstyles, as anything from a buzz cut to luscious locks that fall well below the shoulders are all now commonplace in modern society. Australian men, in particular, could be seen to be in a world of their own when it comes to interesting and unique hairstyles, with the mullet – and even the skullet – being hairstyles that have been exported to other countries.
We’re also a nation that loves to remain on-trend as much as possible, keeping up with the latest looks to ensure we’re never “so last season.” It’s with this in mind that DMARGE reached out to some of the country’s top barbershops to find out what the most popular haircuts for Australian men are in 2021.
#1 Skin Fade Crop
Trent Pridmore, Founder & CEO of The Emporium Barber, which has three shops in Brisbane and one in Bondi Beach, has noticed some slightly differing trends from his customers. One of the most popular men’s haircuts he’s seen is the skin fade crop, a modern haircut if ever there was one.
The skin faded crop, as the name suggests, is one that exposes a fair amount of skin on the side of the head, with just a short hairstyle – the crop – on top of the head. If you want to imitate this cut yourself, Trent says to ask: “for a skin fade as short as you can go on the sides, blended up into a 1, and with a textured crop on the top.”
And as we all know, we can never fully recreate the look the barber gives us when we’re at home, but to get as close as possible, Trent says to apply “a matte clay type product to towel-dried hair and just work it with your hands until you’re happy with the result.”
“In dry hair (you’ll probably need a hairdryer) use a texture powder and again, work with your hands until you’re happy.”
Jacob Martin of Sydney barbershop Tate & Lyle has also dished out his fair share of skin fades at his shop, “Still on the list and still as ever popular! A few geezers have been opting for more low maintenance skin fade with buzz on top.”
Khushwant Dhanoa of Truefitt & Hill told DMARGE that the guys at the salon in Canberra have also noticed the skin fade to be a popular haircut for men. “This is a modern take on the classic 1950’s side part, combined with a skin fade on the sides. Still very professional but with a slightly more edgy look, especially when combined with a sharp parting line.”
“Styling for this hairstyle is very versatile; for a shinier look go for a pomade, those looking for a medium shine and hold should use a past or fiber, whereas those looking for a more natural or matte look should use a clay or cream to style their hair.”
#2 The Gentleman’s Cut
A slick, suave haircut, the Gentleman’s Cut, as it is known, is one we suspect many inner-city workers will likely want to adopt for its sophistication yet stylish nature, which can carry you from boardroom to bar.
For this cut, Trent says to ask for a “fade from a 1 on the back and sides, blended up into a side part. Push it up and to the back and side on the top.”
“We like to taper the hairlines [in the shop] rather than leaving boxy, heavy lines so they grow out more naturally.”
“To style at home, use a matte cream of pomade on towel dried hair and comb it into your desired place.”
#3 Slicked Back
Another hairstyle favoured by young professionals is the slick back. A high shine hairstyle, it too has its place in the corporate workspace as well as in more casual settings. You’ll need some good hair length to achieve a truly successful slick back hairstyle, so make sure you have the patience to grow it out if it’s one that’s new to you.
When at the barbershop, Trent says to ask for “short back and sides and pushed back on the top.” And to style at home, apply your favourite pomade to towel dried hair and comb into place, but for a more natural look, use your fingers instead.
Truefitt & Hill have also seen an uptake in slicked back styles, with in-store barber Aras telling DMARGE a middle length 1940’s slicked back has been particularly popular. “Similar to the classic 1950’s side part, but without the side part. This hairstyle is for those who like more texture and volume in their hairstyle. A more modern take on this style is to fade the sides.”
“You would need a product that provides that shiny slick look and a pomade is the best for this for a high shine look. Alternatively, you could use a paste for a more medium shine whilst still achieving the slicked back look.”
For a slightly more modern alternative, Aras says a low taper push back has been asked for numerous times in the shop. “This is a modern variation of the slicked back look. It could be done with different lengths of fade on the sides, usually with medium to longer length on top.”
#4 Classic Scissor Cut
They’re called classic for a reason. A scissor cut is oh so timeless as it requires the barber to go back to the basics, before hair clippers were invented, and to simply wield a pair of scissors to work their magic.
Trent adds a classic scissor cut is “similar to the gentleman’s cut, but is kept a bit longer and one that uses scissors for a longer and more textured look that appears more natural and softer. Tapering the hairlines here definitely makes a difference for the better.”
“To style at home, apply a grooming cream to towel-dried hair, or you can first apply a texture spray, lightly dry your hair and then apply the cream. Then simply style with your hands until you’re happy with the result.”
Nathan Jancuaskas, founder of Men’s Biz adds he and his team have also noticed “a lot more emphasis on scissor work rather than just skin fades,” with some classic short hairstyles proving particularly popular, including “French crops and Caesar cuts.”
#5 Mohawk Mullet
Lastly, this is Australia after all, so it should come as no surprise that a mullet features on a list of most popular haircuts. For Trent and his team, he says “we like trying to keep them a bit more high class rather than full bogan, so ask for a 4/5 on the top and sides, with a tight burst fade on the sides.”
“For a tidier look, ask for the back to tapered out.”
As for styling, Trent asks us, “does this really matter for the mullet aficionado?”
“In all seriousness, if you’re seeing your mum for a Sunday roast then use some texture powder in dry hair and style using your hands so it at least looks like you’ve made an effort.”
Jacob has also seen a preference for mullet haircuts from the guys walking through his shop doors, “this has gained huge traction with Aussies and expats alike wanting the iconic Aussie cut – with so many prominent Aussie sports stars donning one it’s easy to see why!”
Nathan adds Men’s Biz has also been “seeing a preference for longer styles with guys coming out of lockdown or not being able to get haircuts the last year, and taking advantage of the extra length.” This is something Jacob has noticed too, “During the winter months we also see chaps experimenting with growing hair out this was even more popularised with lockdown cuts. Loads of texture easy to maintain for that Manly surfer vibe.”
For the guys at Truefitt & Hill, they’ve seen a preference for the faux hawk, as opposed to full on mullets – perhaps that speaks to the city’s political background? – “for those looking for something slightly more dramatic, this hairstyle if for them. Short on the sides with more length on top, it is edgy yet stylish.”
“You would usually style this hairstyle with a matte finish product like texture clay or for a more natural shine use a fiber hair management product.”