Despite a lack of hair length, short haircuts for men can be interpreted in several different ways. Whether it be a slick, sophisticated quiff haircut or a more edgy and daring undercut with side-part, the possibilities when it comes to short hairstyles are almost endless.
Your face shape will ultimately determine what short hairstyle works for you. This could be anything from a buzz cut to a crew, or a faux hawk to a taper fade. For each short hair, there are even more variations.
While this presents potentially too much choice when it comes to deciding on a short hairstyle, it also means there is effectively no ‘wrong’ answer.
Asking your barber for a short haircut
Don’t expect to just sit down in the chair and let your barber cut away. It’s always useful to have several examples of the type of short hairstyle you’re after stored on your phone, whether these be of celebrities or images you’ve found online when you search ‘short haircuts for men’.
Use celebrities as inspiration for hairstyles for short hair, as you’re unlikely to replicate their exact look.
As any good barber will tell you, we’re not all made for the same style of a short hairstyle, no matter how good it may look on someone else. Like it or not, there are several different hair types; from straight and curly to afro and Asian, and then you need to consider whether your hair is thin or thick.
These factors and more can have a direct effect on the short haircut that works best for you.
A good barber or hairdresser will also ask you questions about what you wear – daytime, work time, and party time. They’ll approach your overall cut with this in mind to keep you looking good in your threads.
Maintaining Short Haircuts For Men
Short haircuts look their best when they are just that, short. Inevitably, your hair grows and after 2-3 weeks, it will start to look a little untidy, especially around the neckline and over your ears. To help combat this unkempt look, make sure you revisit your barber at the very least, every four weeks, but if you’re able to maintain a regular schedule, hitting that sweet 3 week mark, you’ll be looking slick and suave all year round.
Keeping on top of the maintenance will be of particular importance to guys with thick hair. When you get your hair cut short, it’s always a good idea to ask your barber to point cut it to create some texture, allowing you to be able to run your hands through it much easier, and removing some of the weight. If you have thick hair, this texture will disappear as your hair grows, making it harder to style and taking longer to dry.
Iconic Short Haircuts To Know
Need some inspiration? We’ve rounded up some of the most popular men’s short hairstyles to help you decide which is best for you.
Buzz Cut Haircut
Possibly the most low maintenance haircut for all men, the buzz cut is a military-inspired look that can add some sophistication to your overall appearance. You can achieve an authentic buzz cut yourself at home by taking a set of clippers set to one length and hacking away.
However, if you leave it the same length all over, you end up stepping into butch cut territory (more on that below), so for a more modern approach, you should consider asking your barber to add a fade on the sides.
The fade itself can be anything from a low-fade to a high-fade, or even a taper-fade. The boundaries between the buzz cut, butch cut and crew cut definitely blur somewhat, so be sure to be clear with your barber what you’re after, and to ask for their professional opinion as to which style will suit your face type the best.
Butch Cut Haircut
The butch cut haircut is incredibly similar to the buzz cut above (in fact, it technically sits within the same family), but goes one further by going super short all over in one uniform length. Uniform being the key word there, since this haircut is one predominantly adopted by those in the military.
While we say it’s super short, that doesn’t mean you have to opt for a number 1 or a number 2 on the clippers for it to be considered ‘butch’, but you could equally go for a 4 or 5, just as long as it’s the same length all over.
It’s with this in mind that the butch cut can easily be achieved at home by yourself, or with the help of a partner, as all it requires you to do is run the clippers all over your head, leaving no stray hairs behind. As for styling the butch cut, because of the lack of length, there isn’t a lot you can do. However, you can apply some wax into the hair you do have to provide a shinier finish and to prevent it from looking a little bit fluffy.
Crew Cut Haircut
Equally popular as the buzz cut and also with military roots is the crew haircut. Best suited to those with squarer faces and thick hair (although most men should be able to achieve this cut of some description) and easy to maintain, it’s the perfect all-rounder. If you’ve never gone short before, the crew cut is the best option for first-timers.
It’s similar to the buzz cut above, but rather than have one length all over (if going for authenticity) the hair on top will be longer than the sides, so if you like to work some product into your hair, this is the one to go for. As seen here on Channing Tatum, the crew cut works well with a quiff when styled, but it can also look great with a side-part hairstyle below.
Short Side-Part Haircut
The side-part hairstyle for men can be applied to all hair lengths but is particularly effective for short hair. You’ll need regular maintenance to keep the side as short as possible, but do so, and you’ll be in the possession of a suave haircut that works just as well in the boardroom as it does at the weekend. Whilst you need a hard, defined part for it to be called a side-part, what you do with the sides is down to you.
You could opt for a high-fade, exposing a lot of skin on the side of the head, or, as in the image above, you could go for what we would consider to be the best option, and that’s a taper fade effect.
French Crop Haircut
The French Crop is a seriously classic haircut for men and can be worn in any number of ways. The original French Crop asks for clipped hair on the back and sides, with the top cut only slightly longer. Modern interpretations see the hair remaining longer on top than the sides, but with a blunt fringe and, usually, much shorter sides to create a high contrast between the two.
Taper Fade Haircut
The taper fade haircut has proven to be incredibly popular with men in recent years, thanks to its suave style and sophistication and ability to pair well not only with casual and formal outfits, but it suits a wide range of face types too, compared to something like a high fade, for example.
The taper fade haircut is named as such because of the way the hair tapers on the sides of the head, going from longer to shorter, but all being blended together to create a smooth transition. However, the rate at which the hair transitions from long to short is totally up to you, as there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. You can even taper down to expose the skin, if you wish.
As for the hair on top, again, the length at which you have it is down to you, although your face shape may come into play a little here. Ultimately, you can pair the taper fade with pretty much any short or medium-length men’s hairstyle, and you’ll be onto a winner.
Ivy League Haircut
Named after the high-profile American universities, the Ivy League combines elements of several other haircuts. Similar to a crew cut in that the hair at the front is longer than at the back (the length will vary depending on the individual’s face shape and hair type) and worn in a side-part, the Ivy League is usually styled with wax to give a slick, business-style finish haircut for men.
Caesar Cut Haircut
Named after the notorious Roman Emperor, the classic Caesar cut calls for the same hair length all over, cut horizontally with straight bangs (fringe). While its history can be traced back hundreds of years, it is very much a modern men’s cut, although we feel a tapered fade will be more effective for any men wanting this cut. This is short hair at its imperial finest.
With clear inspiration taken from the Pompadour, the quiff haircut is one that can be worn by men of all ages and in many ways. While all quiffs call for longer hair on the top than on the sides, a classic version will only exhibit a slight variance in length between the two. More modern versions can range from anywhere between a classic short back and sides to an undercut, giving a seriously hard contrast. This looks great if you have thick hair.
This brings us on perfectly to the pompadour. Named after a mistress of King Louis XV of France the pompadour is instantly recognisable due to its sheer volume. Classic examples of this haircut resemble the late great Elvis Presley (meaning your hair needs to be longer), but modern interpretations scale it back a little, and this is where the short pompadour haircut comes into play. There is some crossover with the quiff, but the short pompadour hairstyle will be far more streamlined and unified. Another thick hair winner.
To help you first decide if a short haircut is for you and furthermore, how to achieve a good one and how to maintain and style it, DMARGE reached out to some of Sydney’s best barbers, for their professional opinions.
Tips & Tricks
Adam Walmsley – Friends & Family
- Keep the contrast in length to a minimum when choosing short haircuts for men
- Having a short haircut that blends gradually from the back and sides into a slightly longer length on top will increase the longevity and the versatility. Using this as a guide frees you up to wear a cropped cut, skin-tight or suede soft.
- Don’t be tied to one type of product, although a decent product can be pricey, having 3 or 4 variations in both hold and texture will help you dress for any occasion.
- Stronger hold products such as Davines ‘This Is A Strong Hold Wax, is a must for creating definition in tightly cropped lengths.
- For a more relaxed, “who gives a f*ck?”, texture try drying a medium hold paste into your short hair from wet. The key is experimenting and don’t always do what it tells you to do on the tin.
- It’s a given that a short haircut needs more upkeep so you’ll need regular trips to your hairdresser but there is a way of squeezing out an extra week of looking sharp.
- Make sure your hairdresser graduates your hairline around the back and sides as close to a natural finish as is possible. This means no hard lines on the neck! So if you guy asks you if you want a square or V-shapes hairline at the back, run for the hills because he’s not your guy anymore.
Anthony Nader – RAW Hair Salon Sydney
- Texture, texture, and more texture is the secret to keep your short precision hair cut looking fantastic and in shape for longer. Ask your hairstylist to cut more texture into your next haircut, then you can get more leverage and create even more cool hair shapes on top.
- For the days you want to go that choppy dishevelled look, get yourself a tub a moulding paste and this will make you look campaign-worthy.
- For the days you want to go on the smoother route, go get yourself a bottle of Kiehl’s Silk Groom.
Phoenix Thomson – American Crew
- Keeping your hair short can often become less than exciting if you don’t keep a little length to work with. My advice for this season is keeping a look versatile, with added length on top.
- Being able to morph your short hairstyles into a more groomed and dapper shape can be as easy as using a product with a high shine and shaping with a comb to create a smoother finish. Try drying American Crew Firm Hold Gel into the hair to give support and finish off with a small amount of American Crew Pomade wiped over the surface to keep the hair in place, and create a high shine result.
- Short hair does mean more visits to the salon to keep the hairline in shape and any unwanted neck hair at bay. Keeping your appointments to a four-weekly routine will ensure your look is always fresh.
Best Short Hairstyles FAQ
What are the best styling products for short hairsyles?
Brands such as American Crew, Patricks and Kevin Murphy offer some of the highest quality hair products for men on the market. The short haircut you have will determine what sort of product you get, but for the majority, a
What is the most popular short hairstyle for men?
Choosing just one popular short hairstyle is hard, however, some of the most popular short hairstyles men can be seen sporting including a fade, the undercut and the Pompadour.
How do I style short hair?
All men's haircuts will be styled differently, but a general rule of the thumb says you should use a hairdryer and a comb if you want to achieve a quiff or Pompadour style, or any hairstyle that you want to remain exactly in place. Otherwise, you can apply a hair styling product to towel-dried hair, using your hands to work it through. Use only a small amount of hairspray to lock your style in place.