The Playbook For The Modern Man

The Definitive Guide To Different Hairstyles For Men In 2021

No longer is a glossary of hairstyle terms only appropriate for women, as men have an almost endless array of options presented to them when it comes to deciding what to do with their hair. In bygone years a man simply needed to decided whether he wanted a short, medium or longer length hairstyle. But today, within these categories there are a plethora of sub-categories – some of which can be broken down further – meaning men can be extra picky and precise with how they want their hair to look.

And before you start thinking that the longer a man frets over his hair, the less masculine he is, we’re here to tell you once and for all that a man’s appearance can do wonders for his mental health. So keep your comments to yourself, and start spending more time on some self-care. Thank us later.

But the huge choice of men’s haircuts on offer can naturally induce a sense of confusion among the male population, just take a look at our dedicated men’s hairstyles page and you’ll soon start to realise the breadth of options available today. Which is why we’ve put together this definitive guide to the legions of different hairstyles for men you can comfortably ask your barber for next time you take a visit to the leather chair.

From buzz cuts to crew cuts, pompadours, quiffs, undercuts and everything in-between, save this page and revert back to it next time you’re considering a hairstyle change.

Buzz Cut Haircut

Starting with the shortest and working our way up to the longer men’s hairstyles, a buzz cut is as short as you can possibly go without getting rid of all your hair entirely. Passed down from military times, when soldiers would have a buzz cut – also called an induction cut – so that it would instil a team mentality and prevent it from being pulled by enemy soldiers, a buzz cut is defined by its short length cut close to the head using clippers.

Without a doubt a buzz cut is the most low maintenance men’s hairstyle around, as you don’t even need to shampoo it, there’s such little hair. A buzz cut is also a great hairstyle for balding men, as it cuts out the awkward ‘losing your hair’ stage and goes straight to incredibly short. A suitable hairstyle for both corporate and casual lifestyles, it’s no wonder the buzz cut continues to prove popular with men.

Blowout Haircut

Not to be confused with the pompadour – which is just as voluminous, but we’ll cover later – a blowout is a men’s hairstyle that is meant to be big. Achieved with the aid of a hairdryer, a blowout sees the hair styled up as much as possible, and so is a great hairstyle for men with slightly longer hair on top of their head.

RELATED: Best Military Haircuts For Men

To help accentuate that volume, a blowout pairs incredibly well with short back and sides or even faded sides. It’s most likely going to suit men with straight hair, as the extra weight that comes with curly hair and wavy hair will likely cause the mountain to fall. And you don’t want to counteract it with an entire bottle of hairspray.

Caesar Haircut

No prizes for guessing where this men’s haircut derives its name. Yes, Julius Caesar. The Roman general may be an unlikely figure in the world of men’s grooming, but he was clearly way ahead of his time when it came to style, as his haircut is now being copied around the world. A Caesar haircut is defined as being the same length on the top, back and sides, but has a fringe that can either be blunt cut or point cut.

RELATED: Most Popular Short Haircuts For Men

The Caesar haircut can often be confused with the French crop haircut – it’s easy to see why – but a Caesar haircut is typically longer all around the head compared to the French crop. The Caesar haircut is relatively versatile, as it suits men with straight hair, curly hair and wavy hair, and it doesn’t matter too much about the thickness of your hair either.

While classic versions of the Caesar haircut do call for the same length of hair all around, more modern interpretations of the haircut have seen it paired with faded sides.

Crew Cut Haircut

One of the most classic and timeless men’s haircuts is the crew cut. Essentially the haircut you can expect if you just ask your barber for a short back and sides, a crew cut is cut slightly longer than a buzz cut. The hair on top of the head is traditionally kept slightly longer than the hair on the back and sides, and while the classic versions didn’t call for it, modern interpretations of the crew cut see it paired with faded sides.

There’s not necessarily a ‘right or wrong’ answer with regards to the length of the hair on top of the head, but it will commonly be cut with scissors as opposed to clippers so that you can benefit from some texture to aid with styling if you wish.

Comb Over Haircut

A hairstyle that is quite literally defined by its name, a comb over sees the hair on top of the head combed over from one side to the other. But before you think it’ll make you look like your great, great granddad, the comb over most definitely has its place among modern men’s hairstyles. For the best effect, you will need some extra length on top of the head, but you should also be able to achieve a basic comb over with a few inches.

You can also achieve varying looks depending on the hair styling product you use. A high-shine pomade, for example, would be more akin to corporate life, but a matte-effect styling paste is perfect for an off-duty cool look.

Disconnected Undercut Haircut

Part of the already head-turning undercut family of hairstyles, the disconnected undercut turns things up to 11 by introducing a solid cut between the long hair on top of the head and the much shorter hair on the back and sides. While a traditional undercut will see this contrast gradually introduced by way of fading, tapering and blending, the disconnected undercut has a clear distinction between long and short.

It’s because of this hard contrast that the disconnected undercut hairstyle won’t be for everyone – and you will need some good hair length on top before you attempt it – but do so and style it well, commonly slicking the hair from front to back, and you’ll be in ownership of one of the most style-savvy hairstyles around.

Fade Haircut

An umbrella term if ever there was one, a fade haircut can refer to a wide range of hairstyles, with the most popular being: low fade, mid fade, high fade, taper fade, burst fade and skin fade. Each one of these may have an incredibly similar definition, but they all introduce a slightly different look to your overall hairstyle, and if your barber knows their stuff, they’ll be able to execute each one with aplomb.

For a more in-depth look at the various fade haircuts on offer, check out our complete guide to the ever-popular hairstyle.

Faux Hawk Haircut

Taking inspiration from the iconic mohawk, but reinterpreting it as a far more socially acceptable hairstyle is the faux hawk. Like its distant cousin, the faux hawk makes use of a longer strip of hair down the middle of the head, but it retains the remaining hair on the head, as opposed to the mohawk which does away with it all entirely.

Paired with short back and sides and even a fade haircut, the faux hawk is an incredibly modern hairstyle for men, and one that can look incredibly stylish.

French Crop Haircut

The French crop is a men’s hairstyle that can look good pretty much regardless of hair type or face shape. It’s a versatile haircut that has remained popular for decades due to its low maintenance upkeep and effortless appearance. Defined by its short back and sides, slightly longer top and short fringe that can either be blunt cut or point cut, the French crop is a men’s hairstyle that is easy to achieve.

As for styling, it’s entirely down to your personal preference. You can let it dry naturally and leave it as is, or you can apply a small amount of matte-effect styling product to towel-dried hair for a slightly more textured appearance.

Ivy League Haircut

The Ivy League haircut takes its name from the Ivy League universities in America, which goes in some way to explaining its appearance. This men’s haircut is all about clean lines and a touch of sophistication. It’s very similar to a crew cut, in that the hair on top of the head is kept longer than the hair on the sides, and you’re also less likely to introduce a fade on the back and sides of the Ivy League too.

Where it differs to a crew cut haircut is that the hair on top is left slightly longer, long enough so that you can incorporate a side-part. For an authentic Ivy League, you’ll want to apply a hair product with a hint of shine to it to help lock the hair in place, as well as give off a traditional corporate look.

Man Bun Hairstyle

Ah the man bun. Has there ever been a more polarising men’s hairstyle? We don’t think so. Initially worn by hipsters and your wife’s personal yoga teacher, the man bun has gone on to become a mainstay within men’s hairstyling. And for good reason, with the right hair type and on the right guy, it can actually look incredibly masculine, especially when teamed with a solid beard.

The beauty of the man bun is that it can work for virtually all hair types, be it curly hair, wavy hair or straight hair, and it also doesn’t matter if you have thick hair or thin hair. We would suggest, however, that you wait until your hair is around shoulder-length before attempting to tie it up, as a man bun created using shorter-length hair can turn heads for all the wrong reasons.

Military Haircuts

The military has given modern day men plenty of style inspiration, from trench coats and khaki green to camouflage. It is also a great source of inspiration for men’s haircuts, and so can be given a complete category of its own. Military haircuts for men once served a genuine purpose, with buzz cuts – or induction cuts – seeing all the hair removed so that enemy soldiers couldn’t grab hold of it. Plus, it also made all the recruits look the same, so instilled a team mentality and removed any sense of individual personality.

There are plenty of other military-inspired haircuts for men to consider, however, with undercuts, crew cuts and high and tight haircuts all proving popular. For a complete list of the best military haircuts for men, check out our complete guide.

Pompadour Haircut

The pompadour may have originated in 18th century France as a hairstyle for women, but it only took a few high profile men such as Elvis Presley to see its popularity soar. Today, the pompadour has become a quintessential men’s hairstyle, which sees the hair styled upwards and backwards, resulting in a voluminous hairstyle that looks incredible when paired with a fade or an undercut.

What makes the pompadour such a versatile hairstyle for men is that it doesn’t necessarily need require the hair to be any particular length. You can create a pompadour out of short hair – although you will still need a good few inches to create some height – which will require some extra maintenance to ensure everything is locked in place, but is still just as effective as a pompadour created with longer hair.

For a more in-depth look at the various pompadour hairstyles for men you can get, as well as how to maintain and style them, check out our complete guide. 

Quiff Haircut

Not to be confused with the pompadour haircut, although we admit it’s incredibly easy to do so, the quiff is also seen as a voluminous hairstyle. The quiff, however, only sees the hair at the front of the head styled upwards and backwards, compared to the pompadour, which sees all of the hair styled up. It’s because of this slightly less intense approach to bouffant styling that makes the quiff so popular, because it can be adjusted to suit virtually any face shape.

RELATED: Coolest Ways To Rock The Quiff Hairstyle For Men

And, while it will perform the best with straight hair, men with curly hair can still style theirs upwards using some hair styling product to create a similar effect. The quiff haircut could just be the perfect all-rounder hairstyle for men.

Short Back And Sides Haircut

A short back and sides should be part of every modern man’s vocabulary. The most simple of haircuts to ask for when sitting in the chair – other than perhaps a buzz cut – a short back and sides is what you ask for when you want a simple tidy up. You will still need to dictate the length you want your short back and sides to be – a number two is a great starting point – and your barber will then likely want to cut the hair on top using scissors.

You can, of course, leave this hair as it is if you wish, or you could have just a small amount taken off and have it worked into something akin to a French crop or crew cut.

Side Part Hairstyle

A side part hairstyle is an incredibly classic option for men. One that can be styled with either a high-shine hair product for a wholeheartedly corporate look, or a matte-effect styling paste for off-duty cool, the side part is a great hairstyle option for men. You only need a few inches of hair on top of your head to achieve an effective side part, and ultimately it doesn’t matter how long you let it grow, as you can incorporate a side parting into longer hairstyles.

RELATED: Stylish Side Part Hairstyles For Men

It also doesn’t matter too much about the type of hair you have, as a side part can be integrated into curly hair and wavy hair, but we’ll admit, straight hair does perform best.

Slicked Back Hairstyle

A slicked back hairstyle is an essential haircut for men who work in the corporate space. While it’s not necessarily a case of the slicker the better, you will want to invest in a strong-hold, high-shine gel or pomade to give your hair a good amount of sheen, whilst also being locked in place for the entire working day. An effective slicked back hairstyle does ask for some good length of hair on top of the head, as you’ll need this to literally slick back from the front to the back.

You can tell your barber this is what you intend to do with your hair, and they should cut the hair towards the rear at the crown slightly shorter, to make way for the hair coming over from the front.

Undercut Hairstyle

Just as we promised earlier, the undercut haircut is incredibly similar to the disconnected undercut, it just differs at the point where the longer hair on top of the head meets the shorter hair on the sides. While the disconnected undercut sees a hard, sharp line to separate the two, the classic undercut sees more of a gradual change in length instead.

The undercut itself refers to the drastic change in length between the back and sides of the head and top, meaning you’re free to experiment with the style you choose for the longer section. Classic undercuts see the likes of pompadours, quiffs and slicked back styles introduced. But ultimately you can rock any hairstyle you wish, but it would be fair to say medium length and longer length hairstyles work best.

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