Slicked-back hair is back in style, and it’s no surprise.
A timeless hairstyle dating back to the 1950s, edgy rockabilly actors and artists popularized this rebellious look. James Dean and Elvis Presley famously pulled off the slicked-back style, even carrying a comb in their back pockets. Today, we see it making its rounds again with icons such as David Beckham, Leonardo Di Caprio and Colin Farrell.
But if you’ve ever attempted this look–or seen it poorly executed on a fellow gentleman–then you already know there’s a delicate balance between looking handsome and looking downright greasy. While it’s one of the easiest men’s hairstyles to achieve, it requires the right products and a little bit of patience, plus a few tricks.
So whether you go for an undercut, a pompadour or the polished quiff, with a little help, you can get this classic hairstyle. Here is a step-by-step tutorial to demonstrate how you can achieve the slicked-back hairstyle without looking greasy.
Choose the Right Styling Products for Your Hair
First things first: You need to select the correct hair styling products to achieve the slicked-back look. But it’s important to know which is best for your hairstyle.
Available are two types of hair products for creating this look: hair putty and styling gel. So let’s take a look at some of Pete & Pedro’s products and how they work:
For men with fine hair, a gel styling product is appropriate. Using our GELous styling gel will lock fine hair into place, but leave it softer and more manageable with a ton of shine.
For men with coarse hair, wax or putty is recommended. Check out our mega-popular hair putty to get a firm, flexible hold, while adding that touch of shine to make you look like a classic badass.
Steps for a Slicked-Back Hairstyle (without That Greasy Look)
The slicked-back look is one of the simplest yet classiest hairstyles to pull off. But often, you’ll encounter hiccups that cause the unwanted and undesirable greasy look. To ensure this doesn’t happen, follow these steps:
- Wash Hair—Wash your hair of the previous day’s products or any grime to get it as light as can be. After that, towel dry your hair and leave it slightly damp. Avoid air drying (or getting distracted) and get to styling–pronto!
- Apply Styling Product to Palms—The next step is to apply the styling product best suited for your hair type. The trick here is only to use a small bit and not too much. Using too much is where it can go wrong, giving that greasy, heavy look. Instead, use only a pea- or dime-sized amount.
- Emulsify and Apply to Hair—Once you have the gel or putty in your palms, emulsify the hair product and gently pat it onto your hair. Without touching the roots, let it settle first before evenly massaging it all the way through.
- Comb Back Hair—The most important step is to comb your hair straight back, allowing the natural part to do its thing. But not just with any comb. To avoid the greasy look, use a fine-toothed comb. Where many men go wrong is using a wide-toothed comb, resulting in deep tramlines.
- Work the Style—Once you have product in your hair, you can play with the style a bit more. Don’t fight the natural part, or it could appear like a comb-over. Work with the part you have instead. Give height to the forehead for the pompadour, or whatever look you want to step out in.
- Spray in Place—Once you’ve achieved the perfect pompadour or polished quiff, now’s the time to secure it. Spray it with hairspray to hold it in place. We recommend our Freeze Hair Spray to lock your look in place, as well as add some volume, texture and strength, without getting sticky or stiff. If you’re looking for a lighter, more natural hold, then we suggest our men's sea salt spray.
Step Out Today in a Slicked-Back Style
And, gentlemen, that’s it! By now, you should have an amazing style that will have you looking as dapper as all the most classic slicked-back gents. Step out today in this retro yet timeless hairstyle.
And, don’t forget: The slicked-back hairstyle looks amazingly sexy with a beard!
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