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The good thing about short haircuts? Any man can pull off convincingly.
Short on the sides and back and a little bit longer on top is such a simple cut that almost every man out there has tried it at some point or the other. And it suits the majority, which is why so many blokes (including myself) stick with it forever.
But that’s not to say getting a short hairstyle is easy or that you can’t get it wrong.
The drawback to such simplicity is the fact that a wrongly done short hairstyle could come off as bland or boring.
To avoid this you need a stylish cut that complements your face, suits your hair texture and allows you to look good with low maintenance -unless you don’t mind spending time on hairstyling.
Which is why I put together this guide that will walk you through all the different short hairstyles for men, you can go for and the things you need to consider when making your decision.
Things to consider for a short hairstyle
Your head shape pretty much determines the sort of hairstyle you need to get. And this by the way happens to be the same case when selecting your facial hair style as well.
If you want to understand how important it is to get the right haircut compare Jason Statham’s bald head to Matt Damon’s.
Not everyone can pull off the bald head look and with short haircuts it’s no difference.
Ask you friends and family to help you figure out what shape your head is before you go ahead and pick a hairstyle for yourself.
As the name suggests, round faces lack angular features. It’s got almost equal width and height.
Rounds faces tend to have round jaws and flat cheekbones with no strong lines and with no dominant features.
Even though round face is genetic, overweight guys might also have similar characteristics.
The good thing is that there are quite a few short hairstyles for men with this type of head shape.
If you have a round face, you need to choose a hairstyle to offset the roundness of your head. That being said, you are looking for a haircut that will create some angles on your face.
Pompadour or faux hawk would work very well on such face and enhance the face features while you need to avoid haircuts like undercuts.
Keeping the sides shorter and the top a little longer with a bit of volume will help you get that square look. A good idea is to have a short hairstyle with the top hair styled upwards.
Also, parting hair off-center may help too.
If you’re looking to pair a square haircut with a well groomed beard, prefer a full square beard with less volume on cheeks.
This face shape is considered the most masculine, usually coming with angles on the cheeks and jaw.
Square faces look good with almost all short hairstyles. Fades and buzz cuts would look great and short styles generally with more volume towards the center top of the head.
Never part down the center if you have a square head. Add volume on the top and keep it all short to focus on your bone structure. With that in mind, avoid perfectly cut style to avoid looking like a box.
Light stubble or even a van dyke makes the jawline less strong and it also complements the short haircut.
Rectangular or oblong faces tend to have longer height than width. The goal is to balance the proportions an appropriate short hairstyle.
You’ll have to follow the exact opposite than what we discussed before on square and round faces.
More specifically, a longer head needs a haircut that is longer on all sides to offset the face length. Avoid any volume on top since it will make your face look even longer and even narrower.
As far as concerned styling, let the gravity due its work and don’t lift the hair high. Style them on the side or towards the forehead. You can also leave the hair fall on your forehead which can help in making your face look shorter.
You can also try medium length hair if your head is too long while keeping in mind the previously mentioned tips.
This kind of face shape features a wide forehead and it narrows down towards the chin. Heart face shapes aren’t as common as the previously mentioned.
Undercut, side parted long and long fringes would work very well with this face shape.
The idea is that you want to create some optical illusions and remove the balm from the forehead area.
Therefore, the best short hairstyle would be something that could soften the width of the forehead by avoiding tight cuts while adding more volume on the top hair. Remember that even the hair on the top needs to give you as thin look as possible.
Since the chin and jawline is expected to be fairly narrow, try to grow a full beard to add some bulk. This will somewhat balance the wide forehead.
Face shapes like this one have long and narrow forehead. As for the jaw, tends to be wide.
Triangular is a bit complicated because a short hairstyle needs to achieve two things. One is to open up the forehead while balancing out the wide jaw.
Almost the opposite of the heart face shape that we previously discussed.
Side fringes or side parted tend to work very well since they add more volume on the forehead and on the sides. If you really want to add volume on the top center, try to stick to a very short style so that the forehead doesn’t seem taller.
Mid-length hair with bangs could also work very well for this type of face.
Clean shaven look or a bit of stubble would look good. But remember that longer beards might not do the trick due to the wide jawline.
This is probably the most versatile head shape and suit almost any hairstyle except for bangs.
Even though it’s not as masculine as the square face shape, oval appears to have better symmetry that allows many hairstyles experimentation.
Either it’s a short side parted, undercut or fringe up, they all look good on an oval face.
There are some things to keep in mind though.
Prefer short hairstyles that add volume and angles on top while maintaining the sides short.
Generally speaking, haircuts that point out the oval shape such as forward fringe and every short hairstyle that cover the forehead are better to be avoided. This way, your face shape doesn’t appear round.
As for facial hair, both clean shaven and beard look great on this face shape.
As you probably understood, in other face shapes beard add balance to the face proportions which is not necessary for oval.
And lastly, the more unique face shape.
This type of face shape normally comes with wider cheekbones and narrow forehead and jaw.
This is pretty rare shape and you need to consider short haircuts that add volume and width to the forehead so that it balances the cheekbones.
Swept bangs and fringes are definitely well suited to this head shape. Avoid cutting the sides too short so that you don’t make the forehead appear too narrow.
As for beard styles, you can easily accompany this head shape with a square full beard, while avoiding leaving your facial hair grow on jaw.
Type of hair
Straight or curly hair
If you’ve spent some time figuring out your head shape, the next step is to see if you have the right sort of hair for short hairstyles.
If your hair is straight, you want to thin the hair down and style it properly if you want to avoid it looking spiky all over. Use a lot of conditioner to help you tame the strands and style them perfectly.
On the other hand, if your hair is curly, you may want to leave a little more volume on top so you can style it up later. Going too short will ruin the look and be very hard to style. Short on the sides and volume up top is surely the way forward.
Thinning hair and receding hairlines are hard to deal with, but a good haircut can help you delay balding by at least a few years.
Go for a longer on top and slightly messy look to help create the illusion of more hair.
If you can wear it slicked back like Jude Law, go for it. But if you’d rather just go for a buzzcut like Jason Statham, check to see if your head shape allows for it and take the plunge.
Required maintenance and frequency
Taking care of hair is difficult for most guys who’ve genuinely got better things to worry about.
If you find that you have the time and patience to really maintain your hair well, go for more complex styles that need more products and upkeep.
On the other hand, If you find getting haircuts annoying and think of maintenance as a chore, go for a simple style that needs little to no time to keep up.
The amount of time you are willing to commit to your hair should determine the sort of haircut you get.
Frequency is another issue.
If your hair grows too fast (like mine) you have no option but to visit the barber frequently. Most people get haircuts once every six weeks or so. However, in order to maintain a proper haircut that looks well groomed, a visit to the barber every two weeks is advised.
While you may be comfortable with a medium length hairstyle for a while, some styles look great only for the first few weeks before they start going off balance.
Check to see if you have the time to get frequent haircuts and if you do, perhaps you can experiment with more complex styles.
Products that you need/can use to maintain the style
The number of hair products you use is proportionate to the amount of time you are willing to invest in your looks.
Regardless of how many different products you think are necessary, always go for the best quality you can find.
Styling short hair isn’t as intense as maintaining longer hair styles, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need the obligatory fragrant gooey stuff in your bathroom.
Try to get some great pomade or hair wax to style your hair well for a night out, a deep nourishing conditioner and some hair oil to keep your hair clean and healthy.
You may have to shampoo more frequently if you have shorter hair, since the natural hair oil our pores leave on the hair strand can make your hair look dirty and messy.
Picking the best short hairstyle and styling it.
As you’ve understood from the previous sections, selecting a hairstyle can be tricky and you need to consider several parameters before you decide on the best one.
There are way too many different hairstyles for men and this is why I decided to keep it short(-ish) and narrow it down to 22 of the most popular ones.
Now, besides the hairstyle, you need to consider the time and effort it takes to style it as well as the type of hair styling product you need to nail it. You may also need to consider how to style your beard according to the haircut you decide to have.
In brackets, I include the face shape that is more suitable for each haircut and the level of difficulty to style it.
OK, so let’s see what’s the best hairstyle for men based on face shape.
Tapered sides and a long top cut at an angle.
Enduring fashion trend since the early half of this decade.
(Round Head / Medium difficulty)
Buzz cut with a little bit of a crown on top.
Really, this is very easy to maintain since you don’t even have to touch it once you get it.
(Round, square, oval / Easy)
Shorter on sides and longer on top, the most classic short hairstyle for men you could possibly find.
You may need a little bit of cream and product to keep it together but the maintenance is easier than it looks.
(Every head shape / Easy)
Shorter on the sides but a lot longer on top.
This hairstyle needs a lot more maintenance since you’ll have to brush the hair up and keep it there.
(Round, oval / Medium difficulty)
Side part pompadour:
Needs pomade to keep together, the side part is classic but needs a really good head of hair and a well trained hairstylist to pull off.
This is one of the best short hairstyle for men with round faces since it adds volume on the top, complementing the face characteristics.
(Round, Oblong, Diamond / Medium Difficulty)
Short back and sides:
Sides are usually short for men, but if you cut the back short as well, you’ll need to maintain some volume on top to offset it.
The hairstylist needs to taper the hair towards the front and seamlessly integrate it with the length on the back.
(Round, Oblong / Medium)
Easy to get, but not for all hair types.
Parting to the side requires that your hair be a little longer than usual and have great wavy texture.
(Square / Medium)
Cut it short and leave it messy if you hair is thick and especially if it is curly.
No fuss hairstyle that is best for the casual, low-maintenance look.
(Curly hair / easy)
Short on the sides, but not clean cut.
The length of hair is faded asymmetrically and won’t really suit every head.
You need to make sure you completely trust your hairstylist if you are willing to experiment this way.
(Round / Difficult).
The barber needs to get both the scissors and blade to get this one right. You can leave the hair long on top and slowly fade into the sides.
This sort of cut is excellent for long faces but not for small and square ones.
(Oval, round / Easy)
Lots of product for this one to get it right so you need to have the time and patience for it.
Pulling hair back and keeping it there is a struggle with long, thick hair and you may need to thin it down.
If you have thin hair and a receding hairline, this is perfect for you.
(thin hair / difficult)
This one looks like an induction plate on your head, which means the hair is cut super thin on top and almost entirely shaved off from all sides.
You won’t be able to pull this off if your barber is inexperienced or if you have an odd head shape.
(Round and well-shaped / Difficult).
This is a variation to the induction cut that suits African American or Latino men more than anyone else.
Your barber needs a no.1 size blade to cut into the hair at right angles to really make this work.
(Any head shape / Difficult)
A little more stylish than the two induction and Burr cuts mentioned above, this one is for the young and trendy.
Go looking for a hairstylist with a sense of style who can trim the hair close to the scalp and texture it well.
(Round, oval / Difficult)
You don’t need to be part of an ivy-league school to be able to pull this short haircut.
It’s slicked back on top and parted to the side for that extra clean and elegant look.
(Oval, Square, Long/ Medium)
Getting the tapered haircut is easy and your hairstylist needs to do little more than fade the hair properly. But to truly maintain the look requires a lot of product.
Don’t go for this if your hair grows too fast.
(Oval, round/ Easy)
High and tight:
This is a variation of the induction or mohawk that looks extra military and offbeat.
Top is short but not too short and the sides are shaved off completely
(Square, diamond, triangle/ Medium)
The mohawk seems like a household word now and its roots lie in the 1980’s.
Since then it’s become a lot more versatile and men can either go for a longer on top or short on top look.
Almost every hairstylist knows how to do this one.
Needless to say, that it’s not the best short hairstyle for men working in an office environment since you might have some serious discussions with your boss. Again, your hair, your rules.
(Oval, round / Medium)
This one is well-suited for African American men who want to try out a shorter version of the afro.
You need a naturally curly head of hair and a round face with some facial hair. Normally, it’s a low maintenance haircut which makes it perfect for men who don’t want to invest a lot of time in hairstyling.
(Round, oval / Difficult)
Not really super short as this cut needs the clippers to be set somewhere between 3 and 5.
But the cut is easy to maintain over the long term and you can touch it up every once in awhile with a few clips here and there.
The cowlick is super popular short hairstyle right now and with a few styling products you should be able to carry it off.
It needs a deep undercut and a much longer on top look that can be molded with some cream and wax.
(Round and Oval / Medium)
If you have the sort of curly hair needed for cornrows you might as well give it a go at least once in your life.
Ask your barber for the endless variety of letters, rows and angles you can braid your hair in for this look to really define you. As you may appreciate, this type of hairstyle requires a bit longer hair but it can be also done with fairly short.
(Round / difficult)
I hope the above gave you an idea on the best short haircut any man can get based on his face shape.
Not all haircuts are made for all men and you need to pick one according to your personal style, the type of hair that you have and the amount of effort and time you intend to invest in order to keep it well maintained.
Experiment and before everything, ask your barber for a second opinion what might suit you best. Normally, you’ll get a good advice that will determine your next short hairstyle.
So what’s your favorite short hairstyle?