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The Grooming Manual

Top Hairstyles for Men and How to Achieve Them

Top Hairstyles for Men and How to Achieve Them

Jason Momoa. David Beckham. Elvis Presley. Steven Tyler.

When you describe famous men like these, a big defining characteristic is their hairstyles. 

Indeed, a great hairstyle can mean a lasting positive impression, an increase in confidence, and a more commanding presence when you walk in a room. 

Here are some of the top hairstyles for men and how to achieve them. 

Pompadour 

 

Originally named after King Louis XV’s mistress Madame de Pompadour - and made popular by Elvis Presley - the pompadour has become the “it” haircut once again for everyone from hipsters to students (even businessmen). 

This look, worn with short sides and the top of the hair swept upwards and backward, is all about volume and control. It’s high maintenance, and it needs to be styled every day if you want to keep it up. A pompadour particularly suits people with longer faces as it maintains the balance of width with height, but it does look good on most face shapes.

So how do you keep it up? To style a pompadour, you should: 

  1. Start with freshly washed hair - no dirt, product residue, or excess oil. 
  2. Towel dry hair, then blow dry as you comb backward toward your crown and the back of your head. 
  3. Apply a pea-sized amount of styling product. Rub it between the palms of your hands to warm it before running it through your hair.
  4. Resume combing and pat down the hair as you comb to further smooth the hair and get the right shape. 
  5. Create the quiff - the tall wave at the front - by gently pushing your combed hair forward until it starts to bend slightly. Then, use your comb to gently tease the hair up and back until you have the desired look. 
  6. Finish the look with a texturizing spray.

To get your pompadour to stay, use a firm hold gel pomade, as it’ll provide the lift, hold, and staying power you need for this style. 

Undercut 

 

An undercut is like a pompadour with shaved sides. The look is characterized by shaved sides and slick back long hair on top of the head. Since the sides are shaved, it’s a little more low-maintenance than a classic pompadour, and it’s a great look to help fight the summer heat without totally compromising a longer style. 

To achieve the undercut style, follow the same directions you would for a classic pompadour: 

  1. Start with freshly washed hair - no dirt, product residue, or excess oil. 
  2. Towel dry hair, then blow dry as you comb backward toward your crown and the back of your head. 
  3. Apply a pea-sized amount of styling product. Rub it between the palms of your hands to warm it before running it through your hair.
  4. Resume combing and pat down the hair as you comb to further smooth the hair and get the right shape. 
  5. Create the quiff - the tall wave at the front - by gently pushing your combed hair forward until it starts to bend slightly. Then, use your comb to gently tease the hair up and back until you have the desired look. 
  6. Finish the look with a texturizing spray.

Again, you’ll want to use a pomade with strong hold here. That said, if you don’t want the shine that comes with a firm hold gel pomade, you can also effectively execute the look with a flexible hold wax pomade. It will give the lift and hold you need while providing a more natural-looking shine. 

Quiff 

You may not have heard of a quiff hairstyle before, but you’ve definitely seen it. Part pompadour, part flattop, and even occasionally part mohawk, the quiff has been popular since the 1950's. It originally emerged post-war as a sort of rebellion against the buzz cut, and in the decades since then the cut has come to symbolize confidence and going against the grain. 

While it’s super similar to the pompadour, the classic quiff can be more versatile - sometimes textures, sometimes shorter, sometimes a little bit of another style mixed it. 

As far as how you style a quiff and what products you use, that depends largely on what you want the finished look to be. 

If you want a classic quiff - not overly styled or shined - work a small amount of matte pomade into your hair as slick your hair back to blow dry and comb.

If you want a more rockabilly quiff a la Elvis Presley, James Dean, or Zane Malik, use a heavier, high-shine gel pomade.

Ducktail/Slick Back 

Remember the haircut from Grease? That was a ducktail. At the time, it was a pompadour-like, high-shine style finished with a V-shape in the back of the head. It got its name, of course, from the back of the head looking like the rear end of a duck. 

In recent years, though, the look has gotten decidedly edgier and more modern. While some prefer to style with the traditional pompadour look and elephant-trunk style bang, others pair it with straightforward slick back hair or a flattop cut. ‘

To style the look, you’ll follow the same directions outlined for the pompadour and the quiff - but comb toward the middle of your head to form the ducktail look. As you’ll need strong hold for the hair to stay throughout the day, we recommend a firm hold styling pomade.

Combover 

While a combover may sound like the go-to look for balding men, the name actually refers to an array of hairstyles that - as the name suggests - are combed over to one side. You can choose anything from an undercut to taper fade on the side, and the comb-over itself can be neat or loose, long or short. 

Surfer’s Hair 

 

Surfer's hair is all about a long, textured, go-with-the-flow look. It’s generally messy, textured, and unkempt in appearance -so it doesn’t require a lot of styling or product. 

If you have naturally straight or frizzy hair, you may have to use some styling product to achieve the perfect surfer’s hair look. 

We recommend an alcohol-free Texturizing Sea Salt Spray For Men - it’ll give you the texture, lift, and volume of a day at the beach without the sand and sunscreen. Make sure that you pick an alcohol-free product so it doesn’t dry or damage your mane.    

Flat Top 

Though a flat top can often evoke images of the military - or of Will Smith a la Fresh Prince - the haircut is fairly popular, not to mention modern (when it's cut correctly). 

As the name suggests, a flat top is any haircut where the hair has been cut or styled to look flat across the top of the head. The style usually calls for short hair on the back and sides and a little more length on the top. 

To style this look, you should blow dry the hair in your fringe area up and away from your face. Finish the look with a strong, matte wax pomade or a clay pomade to make sure that the look stays all day.  

French Crop 

Like a Caesar cut, a french crop hairstyle is short on the back and sides, but slightly longer through the top, The hair is either combed forward or pushed to the side depending on its length. 

Since this look doesn’t require a long ‘do, smooth hair, or a lot of volume, it’s a pretty low-maintenance style. To maintain it, we recommend that you simply apply a little Classic Firm Hold Gel Pomade to dry hair. It’ll give the look some texture and hold.

Looking for a complete hair care kit to get you started with any hairstyle? Consider the Complete Men’s Hair Care Routine.

 

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