As fun as it may be to rock a wild and trendy new ’do, there’s something to be said about classic hairstyles for men. They’re simple, stylish and time-tested. Most importantly, they’ll save you from major embarrassment a decade down the road when you’re looking at old photographs of yourself and not wondering to yourself: What the hell was I thinking?
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to make a classic hairstyle feel fresh. Before you head to your barber, consider these five classic hairstyles for men and what it takes to make ’em look good.
1. The Buzz Cut
The buzz cut is about as utilitarian as it gets. Made famous by the military, this short hairstyle is a total breeze to style and an absolute godsend in the summer when heat and humidity are at their worst. The only requirement is that you MUST have a good head shape to rock this style. Bumpy head shapes need not apply (if that includes you, keep reading—there are other classic hairstyles for men that are worthy of your uneven dome).
How to Style: As you may have guessed, the buzz cut is ridiculously low-maintenance. You can wake up, head out the door and skip the styling altogether if you’re in a hurry. Otherwise, you can spritz sea salt spray for men on your buzz cut and follow it with a hair styling clay to give your new ’do some additional texture and definition. The choice is yours, gentlemen.
2. The Pompadour
For those of us who aren’t blessed with a perfectly-shaped dome, there’s always the pompadour hairstyle, or “the pomp,” for short. Timeless, sexy and formerly rebellious, this windswept hairstyle originated in the 1700s and became popular in the 1950s after it was donned by none other than the King himself, Elvis Presley. Modern pompadours are now seen on men and women alike and have spawned dozens of variations–from the faded pomp to the classic quiff.
How to Style: Although the pompadour may look high maintenance, it’s really not as hard as it looks. To achieve its gravity-defying style, use your sea salt spray as a pre-styler and follow it with a high hold, high shine pomade to give your pomp its rockabilly aesthetic. Then, set that bad boy in place by blasting with a blow dryer on high heat, using a round brush to pull the hair backwards into its classically coiffed ’do.
3. The Comb-Over/Side Part
Ah, yes: The classic comb-over/side part. While it’s often associated with men who are trying to hide bald spots and thinning domes, this hairstyle has evolved significantly after being made popular by John Hamm’s character from Mad Men. The comb-over is sometimes referred to as a side-part which you technically “comb over” to one side. The comb-over focuses on volume, whereas the side part has a have accent on hair separation. To make this classic style look more Don Draper-esque, you’ll want to keep the sides and back short while leaving the top a couple of inches longer.
How to Style: If you’re going for a contemporary comb-over, start with slightly damp hair and work a high-quality pomade into it. Next, brush your hair over to one side to achieve the iconic side-part. Your pomade will keep it securely in place while giving it plenty of shine for a vintage, Mad Men-esque look. Allow hair to air dry and tame flyaways with hairspray. Finish by making yourself an Old-Fashioned and raising a glass to your handsome mug in the mirror.
4. The French Crop
We’re not sure who first said, “There is beauty in simplicity,” but whoever it was must have been talking about the French Crop. Low maintenance and stylish, the French crop is defined by shorter hair all around the head and a longer fringe in the front. You can give it a modern twist by asking your barber for a taper fade. The main benefit of this classic hairstyle for men (apart from its low maintenance) is that it’s universally flattering, especially for guys with thinning hair.
How to Style: You can use men’s hair products to elevate your French Crop or go without them—it’s up to you. We recommend applying a high-quality hair putty to your fringe section to give some sexy shine and texture. Other than that, you’re pretty much good to go.
5. The Slick Back
Bold and sleek, the slick back is a classic hairstyle marked by its unapologetic glossy finish. Once sported by stock traders and bankers in the 1920s, this lacquered look has come roaring back in a new, contemporary style. Though today’s slick back hairstyle is less shiny, it’s still got all of the charm and cool confidence to take your hair game to the next level. This style is best for guys with fine to medium thickness hair.
How to Style: To get a perfectly slicked-back ’do, start with clean, towel-dried hair. Pick up a paste or a pomade with a high hold, medium shine. Unlike other hairstyles, you’ll want to work the product in starting from the outer tips of the hair—not the roots. Distribute it evenly, comb the style back and blast it with a light layer of hairspray to freeze it in place.
A Hairstyle for the Ages
Hair trends come and go in the blink of an eye. If you’re tired of trying to keep up, just stick with one of these classic hairstyles that will always be in style. Remember that you can always put a cool, modern twist on a classic that makes it feel fresh!
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