Refreshing your look doesn’t have to cost more than a round of drinks. Yes, you could spend the equivalent of a small car on a new wardrobe, but 45 minutes in the hairdresser’s chair can have the same effect if you are brave enough to say something other than “The usual”. Plus, if it’s the kind of barbershop we like – plush seats, hot towels and craft beer – it’ll be a lot more pleasant than a march up the high street.
So what are we doing for you today? If 2019 hair trends is something to go for, you can go one of two ways: messy or military. While some cuts favor texture and grunge style long hairothers are about a sharp short back and sides or no-roding buzz cuts.
From fashion weeks to your work week, here’s a heads up on the best men’s hairstyles spring.
The textured crop
Since the bad bowl cuts of the nineties and the acne-inducing emo side sweeps of the zeroes, sensible men have instinctively given bangs a wide berth. In most cases this has been wise risk aversion. But this year’s big hitter on the fringe front—the textured crop—is neither scarily precise nor antisocial, just flattering on most guys.
The style, in a nutshell, is a remix of the short back and sides, with the length on top working with gravity rather than against it. “The messy cropped cut works with your own natural growth patterns,” says Robbie Burt of London’s Sharps Barber and Shop. “It’s best on them too thick hair that has a natural texture. You should ask your hairdresser what can be done for a high and tight but ask for plenty of length on top to be cut for a bold square texture.”
The style comes from the woke-like-this school of hairdressing, so if you’ve had thousands of hairs out of place, that might be a good thing. “Maintaining this style involves minimal effort,” says Burt. “By working a matte paste through your hands and applying evenly through your hair, you can create a softer, undone look.” If you’re more Slick Rick than Bird’s Nest, though, you’re still eligible to apply. “To create something with a slick, smoother finish using a water-based pomade.”
The Undercut Quiff
The heist is the standard hairstyle for young people armed with too many hormones and too many cheap hair products. However, this year’s version is not so safe. It sees the quiff enter the serious grown-up hairstyle arena via a stark contrast undercut and a finish that rewards gentle matte texture over sky-scraping stiffness.
Before you think about which industrial-strength hair product can secure your hair in place, think about the cut; it will make maintaining this style much easier. “Ask your hairdresser to cut off the sides from the top at the grade zero of the clipper, which creates a blunt contrast in length,” says Bradley Smith, creative director at Bradley Smith Hair Heathrow. “Then you need a taper through the neck and sides while leaving length on top, and your fringe leaves room to create texture and volume in the front.”
Those familiar with keeping a quiff in place will know that technique (and a steady hand) is everything. “To start, towel dry your hair until it’s slightly damp, then apply a pre-styling product,” says Smith. “Work off a touch sea salt spray into your hair all the way to the roots, then blow dry your hair into shape using a round brush to create texture and volume. Follow this by working a coin-sized amount of clay into your hair and creating texture with your fingers. To complete the look, use a booster powder to help group your hair together.”
The Tapered High & Tight
Not really to long hairstyles? Can’t be bothered to style your hair? Don’t you want to look like an egg with human features? This year’s tapered bid on loud and tight sounds right up your street. This short, low-maintenance style borrows the buzz cut’s CBA attitude, but leaves you with something to play with on top.
The tall and tight is a time-poor, style-conscious classic, but on the wrong head it can be a little too Secret Service. “For a sleeker version of the basic short back and sides, ask for a tapered high and tight clipper protection one or two with a compact crop on top,” says Smith. “The finished cut should echo tradition, but a sharply cut and textured length on top will rule modern; think Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds.”
Most of the artistry of this style is down to your stylist, so once you survive the awkward chair chat, the hard part is over (although you’ll have to go back regularly). “Place a dab of fiber paste in towel-dried hair and work from the back to the front to distribute the product to create weight and texture for an overall natural but chic look,” says Smith.
Messy Man Bob
From time immemorial, long, messy hair has been reserved for rebels and grungers. It has been considered a hairstyle that just happens to a man when grooming goes out the window. However, with a bit of TLC and fancy scissor work, long locks don’t have to smear you like a soap dodger. Shoulder-length hair that’s a bit messy has plenty of potential to strike that holy grail between making an effort and not making an effort. See them as Timothée Chalamet and Kit Harington as your best guardians for messy man bob.
Although this year’s take has undoubtedly revamped its action, avoid anything too smooth; it will land you in ABBA tribute band territory. “This style can work on those of any thickness or texture—the key to getting it right is to make sure you ask your stylist for layers that complement your face shape and hair texture,” says Burt. “Strong shapes should be cut into the outer layers of the hair to create flow or drop in the hair, ensuring weight and balance is evenly distributed.”
Thankfully, this cut doesn’t require the patience of a saint to style; it can mostly be left to itself. “Let the style dry naturally,” says Burt. “However, you should use the product depending on the finish you’re looking for; use a little salt spray for a messy matte effect or soft wax to promote texture and curl.”
Traditionally, it is buzz cut has been shorthand for either rebellion against ‘the man’ or a way to make you just another number. Depending on your point of view, when the rocks come out, either your individuality or your adherence to society will end up on the floor. Not that it can’t show off your good looks, but that’s the thing – you have to have the features for it.
The sad fact of life is that not all of us are blessed with pleasantly proportioned heads. “Before you get a buzz, feel your head for any lumps or bumps, as these will be visible,” says Smith. “I suggest you look in the mirror and imagine how you would look with a buzz cut and ask yourself: is this right for me?“
Once you’ve got the all clear to go all the way up, it shouldn’t be a self-shaving job with the clippers. Buzz cuts can be uniform in length, but slight variations in your barber’s protection can be the difference between Channing Tatum and Gollum. You’ll also need a razor to clean up the edges. And as it grows back, don’t think you won’t need a little product. “You may want to add some product to change the texture, such as a matte paste. But for a shiny, polished look, a pomade-based product will do the trick,” says Smith.