David Beckham, sporting a pompadour, Paris Fashion Week, June 24, 2022. Photo: Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
While wolf cuts and elevated mullets are 2023’s edgier men’s hair trends, most gents prefer a cut that works in any environment, from the boardroom to Sunday brunch.
1. The Pompadour
Originally a lady’s style, this splendid look was introduced by its 1700s namesake, Madame du Pompadour, the favourite mistress of French King Louis XV, and hundreds of years later, saw its apex in the ’50s with Elvis-inspired slick backs and the messier James Dean approach. On trend for 2023, the pompadour flatters a wide range of faces depending on how it’s styled — a wider, softer pomp offsets a narrow face, while men with round faces can slick the sides right down to slim the silhouette or opt for a high fade. It works best with hair that has some thickness and, as it pulls hair away from the forehead, is not ideal for men with receding hairlines. To grow out the front, have your barber cut in a graduated top every time you have your hair trimmed until it’s two or three inches long. A higher-maintenance look, you’ll need a hairdryer and mousse to create height, lifting the roots by pulling the hair up as you dry it.
2. The Quiff
Looser and less polished, the quiff is the casual cousin of the pompadour but uses the same overall cut. Only here the hair is brushed forward to create volume at the front that’s less shellacked. Great for all ages and personal styles, a traditional quiff features softer back and sides, not severely short nor significantly longer on top. This will balance a narrow face. The modern update strikes a distinct contrast between longer hair on top and very tightly clipped back and sides. The look is more flattering to rounder faces and perfect for square ones. With the latter, you can go quite long on top, and it’s excellent for men with curls and waves. To style, comb a pomade through towel-dried hair, then blow dry using a vented brush to sweep the hair into shape.
3. The Slick Back
First appearing in the ’20s when men required a hairstyle that worked with their hats, this timeless cut — tapered back and sides with a slightly heavier top — is fairly low maintenance. It highlights facial hair but as an off the forehead cut, it’s not best for receding hairlines. It can be worn super slick or soft and wavy, products depend on texture. Comb yours through damp hair, followed by a quick blow dry while brushing it back with your fingers.
4. The Shoulder-Length Cut
More boho than banker, this isn’t for gents who have to look proper at the office, but the shaggy ’70s vibe reminiscent of Robert Redford at his peak foxiness is very cool and sexy. The rough part is growing out your hair through the awkward stage, and success with this look really depends on hair texture. Thicker hair with a subtle wave is the winner; straight hair, thin hair and very curly hair don’t work. A super natural look, styling and product is minimal outside of a judicious amount of sea salt spray for some surfy volume or texturiser to tame curlier locks.
5. The Textured Cut With Fringe
A great choice for men with double crowns, cowlicks and hair that grows forward, this textured cut lets hair lie whatever way it wants while hair across the forehead is ideal for men with long, narrow faces or receding hairlines. The bonus with this chop (if your hairline is not receding) is that it can easily be reversed into a short quiff for two completely different looks. Nice for fashion-y gents who like to switch up their look depending on what they’re wearing or doing.
6. The French Crop
Short back and sides, this cut takes the hair forward and is effective for men who are thinning on top. Leaving length in the front also helps mask a receding hairline. A low-maintenance style that falls naturally into place and can be worn without product, it’s very convenient for athletic men who enjoy daily sports or workouts. Best with lots of texture, ask your barber to point cut it, slicing graduations into the ends to add body and movement without removing length. A haircut that’s meant to be left natural, the upkeep here is getting regular trims.
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