Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
So you have short hair but you don’t have a clue what to do with it or how to style short hair for men. Looks like you’re in luck. We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to the best mens haircuts and mens short hairstyles, so you’ll never have to worry about what to ask for at your Barbers again.
If you’ve got short hair you’ll know how much of a nightmare it is coming up with new and alternative ways to reinvent your look. Well, that’s because you’ve never had a guide to teach you the ropes of how to tackle tricky tresses. Alternatively, you might be a long-haired lad making the transition to shorter hair. In this case, you probably don’t have a clue which looks to opt for or how to style them.
We’ve put together a hefty guide of the best short and fresh haircuts for men and cool haircuts for short hair. Keep on reading and find your favorite down below.
Short Hairstyles for Men
1. The Fringe
A fringe can be a small change that drastically transforms the look of your hairstyle. Whether blunt or a short choppy hairstyle, once you’ve had a fringe cut in there’s no going back, so make sure its definitely the style for you by arranging hair over the forehead to give yourself an idea of what the final cut will look like.
- Face Shape: Can work for longer face shapes, elongating the face by covering a portion of it and balancing out features. It is a classic cut that can suit those with thick hair the best.
- Hair Type: Works well with hair that has a natural wave as texture adds body to the fringe and helps it sit better. It also works well when worn with a hard part or comb overs. Consider adding a beard for this specific men’s haircut.
- Technique & Product: Adding a light styling clay to the hair before blow-drying allows the product to be absorbed into the natural moisture in your hair giving the final style a more natural looking finish. Blow dry hair in the opposite direction of its natural growth to add texture to the fringe, giving it better hold.
2. The Quiff
The direct alternative to the fringe, the quiff is an upturned version of so called ‘bangs’ and is a more slick ‘n sleek version of its rival. A hairstyle packed with retro nostalgia, the quiff dates back to the 1950s and was famously championed by the likes of Elvis Presley. More recent fans of the quiff include Alex Turner and Zac Efron proving that the quiff hasn’t fallen out of favour just yet. If you like the old-school classic caesar cut, why not try out this short spiky hair look as well?
- Face Shape: Suits those with round faces to add length to the face.
- Hair Type: Suits hair with a natural wave as this adds volume and hold to the final style. You might prefer medium length hair and short side cuts.
- Technique & Product: Blow dry the hair upwards to add height and body to the top section of your hair. If the hair has been dried upwards to give it enough volume, a matt clay should only need to be used for extra hold and a textured finish, not to completely style the quiff – the styling of the quiff is all in the initial drying.
For a more sleek and ‘finished’ looking quiff, use the wide toothed half of the comb to style the quiff into place, whilst Uppercut Deluxe Matt Clay is the ideal product to use if you want to add texture to your hairstyle.
3. Military Haircut
Not quite a skinhead haircut, the military cut leaves a few millimetres of hair behind to give a freshly cut, clean shaven feel. The buzz cut is a popular and wearable low maintenance and very short hairstyle, so if you want a fuss free look that requires practically no styling then the buzz cut is for you. If you’re looking for men’s short hairstyles that are suitable for warmer climates, consider this!
- Face Shape: For square face shapes, this is a masculine cut that accentuates strong features and defines the face.
- Hair Type: The buzz cut suits any hair type as it basically requires shaving the head and leaving a very short length of hair behind. It is a particularly good style for difficult to tame curly or kinky hair types for this reason. If you have a thin strand and you can pull off a bald fade you will easily recreate this cut.
- Technique & Product: A low maintenance hairstyle that can be easily achieved at home, use the shortest guard on your hair clippers in an upward motion shave close to the head, leaving a short length of hair behind. A water based pomade will slick down any strays if you leave your buzz cut on the longer side and will not leave hair feeling clumpy or greasy with product.
How to Style the Military Haircut
While the military haircut doesn’t need any styling at all, a little sheen of product can be a good way to tame flyaways. Made from natural ingredients including beeswax, lemon peel and sage oil, Baxter of California hair pomade is a pure product that’ll leave you hair feeling fresh and cleansed.
4. The Modern Pompadour
Seen as the successor of man bun or the man bun undercut, the modern pompadour isn’t going anywhere in a hurry. Favoured by the likes of David Beckham, Brad Pitt and Justin Timberlake, the modern pompadour is one of the best hairstyles for short hair. The pompadour uses the length of hair on top to roll or slick back.
A common style worn by women in the 18th century, the pompadour was adapted during the ’50s from the quiff and was revered among young men – namely teddy boys. Since then, the pompadour has remained fairly popular among the gents, but this modern hairstyle for men allows you to play with length on top whilst keeping the back and sides short. Going for a high fade is a good go-to move when rocking a pompadour.
- Face Shape: This is a haircut for someone with a round face shapes as the pompadour adds height and elongates the face.
- Hair Type: The pompadour suits most hair types, but works best with straight hair that can be properly slicked back into a sleek and neat style.
- Technique & Product: To add volume to the hair, blow dry upwards and in the opposite direction that you want to style the hair. Using a paddle brush to blow dry the hair provides a wider surface for the hair to be dried and gives a straighter finish, perfect for the slickness of the pompadour style. Set it in place with your favorite hair gel or hair wax.
5. The Cowlick Cut
Almost an evolution of the quiff, the cowslick hairstyle works particularly well for wavy and curly hair types. A cowlick can occur on any part of the head but in this instance we are focusing on the cowlick that commonly appears around the hairline.
If you’ve got a cowlick, you will most definitely know about it. The cowlick cut embraces this little imperfection and works with the natural kinks and waves in your hair to produce a style that looks like your cowlick was meant to be.
- Face Shape: Round and oval faces suit the cowlick cut – the curls will help balance out proportions.
- Hair Type: Suits particularly kinky or curly hair with more waves than the Mediterranean Ocean.
- Technique & Product: If you’re trying to fight the frizz, a strong gel can tame and hold down unwanted kinks and curls, but this style is all about embracing the curl so ditch the gel and opt for a texturising salt spray. Good for adding volume to your hair, applying a conditioning product to towel dried hair and then blow drying after can help to give a more natural, softened look. Ask your barber to cut in the direction that the cowlick grows to create a better blend – if the hair is cut in the opposite direction, the hair will grow back at different lengths.
It’s not just the celebrities that have mastered the art of perfect hair. This guy shows us that us regular Joe’s can do it too. With so much curl and volume on top, working with the natural wave of your hair can look a million times better than trying to train your hair into a style that it just isn’t feeling. This guy shows us that keeping the sides short can help to balance out top heavy styles like the cow lick cut.
How to Style The Cowlick Cut
Baxter’s Grooming Lotion is the ideal product to use for curly or wavy hair, with its lightweight formula and weightless hold, it’ll have your cowlick cut looking hydrated without seeming greasy.
Short Back and Sides Hairstyles
The mens short back and sides is a variation of the tapered cut, by which the hair is kept short around the lower half of the head and then kept longer on the top half of the head. The short back and sides has been a mainstay of men’s grooming since forever – it is a simple look that can be tailored to your own personal length and style tastes.
- Face Shape: A square face shape with a strong masculine jawline and cheekbones set off the hairstyle well – the shortness of the style defines the face well.
- Hair Type: Most hair types suit the style well, wavy hair adds body and volume on top whilst straighter hair types can be styled into shorter versions of the hairstyle.
- Technique & Product: Around the lower half of the head and around the nape of the neck, hair should be cut close to the head in a tapered style using hair clippers with varying clipper guards. Starting with the lowest guard, hair should be shorter at the bottom of the head, gradually increasing in length towards the top half of the head. Alternatively, hair on the bottom half of the head can all be kept one short length, closely shaven. Either way, the hair on top should be kept longer.
6. The Undercut
A similar style to the modern pompadour, the undercut is a relaxed, low maintenance hairstyle. The idea of the mens undercut fade is generally to make a definite and noticeable difference between the top and bottom sections of your hair by keeping the sides really short and the top a lot longer (in comparison). An undercut is hair clipped tight against the back and sides of your head, with longer hair left on top to style how you like.
- Face Shape: Triangular face shapes work best with the undercut as the bulk on top works well with angular features and balances everything out nicely.
- Hair Type: Kinky or curly hair types should stay away from the undercut, it’ll be difficult to style and nigh on impossible to create good hold. For those with straighter hair, the slicked back, sleek nature of the undercut makes it a good style to opt for.
- Technique & Product: There isn’t really any tapering involved with this hairstyle – the hair is shaved close to the head on the bottom and around the nape and stops abruptly, changing into a longer hairstyle. A styling clay or pomade can be applied to the longer section on top to slick back the hair. Alternatively a texturising spray or balm can be applied to create a more disheveled look on top.
Another regular Joe taking one for the team. An angular jawline works well to balance out the style and avoid it feeling too top heavy, as shown by this chap. With the close shave stopping abruptly half way up the head, the volume and body of the longer top is accentuated. This undercut hairstyle has a distinctly vintage feel about it – and we’re loving the prohibition era ‘tash.
How to Style the Undercut
Uppercut Deluxe are an awesome brand that perform time and time again. The shampoo and conditioner in their combo pack will clean and condition your hair ready for styling, a comb and pomade are the ultimate styling tools to create the perfect slick undercut.
The High and Tight
You could say that the high and tight is a longer, grown our version of the induction cut. A tapered style around the lower half of the head and around the nape of the neck, keep the hair slightly longer on the top. The hairstyle is a popular military cut due to it being low maintenance and an easy short hairstyle to wear underneath head gear.
- Face Shape: A square face, with masculine features and a strong jawline roughly the same width as the cheekbones suits the high and tight as the hairstyle adds height to elongate the face and accentuate the face’s squareness.
- Hair Type: The high and tight cut works well with straight hair – if your hair has a natural wave or curl in it, the style will not naturally slick back. It also looks a bit like a faux hawk, one of the most popular and known hairdos among guys.
- Technique & Product: The lower half of your hair should be shaved close to the head – the lower the clipper guard the better. The high and tight requires a tapered shave, with a little length on top. Apply a styling gel to wet hair, this will increase hold and leave a more natural looking finish when the hair has been dried. Dry the hair upwards and back to create the height and volume required for this style.
It may sound silly, but if you want your hair to look exactly like what you’re imagining inside your head then photos can be a great way of achieving your ideal look. Show any barber this image of Brad Pitt absolutely slaying the high and tight hairstyle and you’ll be onto a winner.
Brad’s barber has cut the hairstyle to perfection. The back and sides are shaven close to his head and notice there isn’t any tapered clipping involved? The distinction between the ‘tight’ – that’s the back and sides – and the ‘high’ – that’s the longer section of hair on top – has been clearly defined without the use of fading.
How to Style the High and Tight
7. The Tapered Skin Fade Cut
A tapered cut is basically a gradual trim that leaves hair fading from a longer to shorter length. The hair is usually left a little longer on the top and then fades into a shorter length or close shave around the nape of the neck. The hair can be left long on top, slicked back or styled into a short hair side parting – it’s really up to you.
The tapered skin fade can be any length, but for our purposes and because it is easier to achieve a tapered cut when the hair is shorter, longer hair is not advised for this cut. The skin fade is a fairly complex hairstyle, so it’s best to get your barber involved with this one.
- Face Shape: Square face shapes with a masculine jaw and cheekbones work well for this cut as the close shave accentuates features and frames the face.
- Hair Type: As this is a short style, most hair types work well. If you are opting for a longer tapered skin fade quiff, straight hair works best – in wavy hair kinks will crop up that will distort the overall desired effect of the cut.
- Technique & Product: This style is not one to try at home – tapering is a skill and difficult to achieve. If you want the best tapered skin fade, make a trip to your local barber and get it done properly. If you’re keeping the style longer on top, a water based pomade is good for slicking the hair back without leaving it looking greasy or ‘too worked’. Of course, the key to hair that doesn’t look too greasy or styled is all in the initial wash.
The tapered skin fade is a tricky look to pull off but this gent has nailed it. The progression from skin tight shave, gradually getting longer as you work up the head has been blended well here, gradually working into a longer top that has been slicked back into an almost pompadour style quiff. A side part switches the skin fade up nicely, leaving the hairstyle feeling completely contemporary and current.
How to Style the Tapered Skin Fade Cut
Modern Short Hairstyles
As with fashion, guy’s hairstyles tend to go in swings and roundabouts when it comes to the prevailing taste. Quiffs, man-buns and fade cuts have been among some of the most prevalent over the last few years with different variations of each cut fluctuating in popularity. Take a look at some of the most popular, current men’s hairstyles.
Really Short Men’s Hairstyles
We all have those moments, you know when you’re getting ready to head out, and for love nor money your hair just will not behave the way you want it. In moments like these, the idea of just shaving it all off will have crossed many-a-man’s mind at one point or another.
While an ultra short modern haircut won’t suit everyone, those of you brave enough to go ahead with it should have some idea of what you’re going for. Take a look at some of the most popular really short mens haircuts.
Cool Hairstyles for Men
Now, even though you’ve now got an idea of a few of the most popular hairstyles, how to style them and what to be asking for – nothing quite beats images when it comes to some hairspiration. Check out some cool short and sometimes new hairstyles for men and new hairstyle for men below.
8. Tom Hardy Hairstyles
Hollywood hard men, Tom Hardy, is know for changing his appearance for whichever character he’s playing, which includes his hair. Tom Hardy has been known to completely shave everything off, or for a more appropriate term, give himself a buzz cut. This simple yet effective cut is easy to do and is for the man who is after a stress free haircut, rather than knowing how to do or cut a short back and sides haircut, the buzz cut is a carefree and easy hairstyle to maintain. So take a leaf out of Tom Hardy’s book and go for the buzzcut.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Disguise Thinning Hair?
The best way to disguise thinning is to comb down in the direction of the area that you want to cover. Using a texturing spray can help create the illusion of thicker, fuller hair around thinning sections. After applying product, use a hairdryer and blow dry hair in the opposite direction that it usually sits to add extra volume.
Check out the following video for the best products to use to prevent thinning hair.
How Do You Add Texture to Limp Hair?
Adding texture and volume to limp hair is all in the preparation. You don’t want to work with really wet hair – make sure it is towel dried so that you have only a little moisture to work with.
The Product: Adding a salt spray or texturising matt clay into damp hair can give your hair a natural feel – drying or melting the product into the hair results in a more natural, less sticky finish.
The Styling: Using a rounded bristle brush to dry your hair can make better use of the heat you’re applying. Make sure you dry hair in the opposite direction to how you want to style it – this adds volume.
How Do You Taper Hair With Hair Clippers?
- Start with the shortest clipper guard (1) on the lowest section of hair working in a straight, upward motion without shaving all the way up to the top – you want to stagger the lengths as you work up the head.
- With the next clipper setting, start a little way up the head and carry on in the same upward motion with the clippers.
- Continue this pattern, stopping around three quarters of the way up the head. Aim to taper the hairstyle with 3-4 different clipper guards – any more than this will look short messy hairstyle and will not blend well.
Which Face Shape Suits Short Hair?
Considering your face shape is essential when determining which haircut you are about to get. Not all face shapes suit all cuts and not all cuts suits all face shapes so make sure you do your research. For shorter styles, round and square face shapes work best.
Men’s Short Haircuts
There’s a number of short hairstyles for men, and choosing one for you depends on a whole range of factors, from face shape, hair texture, what length you want, to honestly, how much time you want to spend on it. Are you a fan of a crew cut, a taper fade, a french crop, or some other trends? Choose one that complements you the best, whether it’s as simple as a military haircut or as complex as a modern pompadour.
On That Note
Wasn’t as tricky as you thought was it? Short hair for men is a lot more versatile than it gets credit for – it just takes a little creativity, good styling and the right products.
Whatever your face shape and hair type, there is a short style for you. So whether it’s a super short buzz cut hairstyle, a wavy cowlick cut or a sharp undercut – head to your local barber and let him – or her – do what they do best. Your hair’s just itching to look good.