The men’s quiff haircut is clean, classic, savvy and versatile, and thereby a true way to flaunt what your follicles gave you. Because there are various types of quiffs—from the ducktail haircut to the textured quiff—a sense of endless possibility persists. It’s then no wonder that this distinctive hairstyle has been trending for the past few years, as more and more men take a concerted approach toward their personal aesthetic.
Meanwhile, the men’s quiff haircut has no shortage of history behind it. From James Dean to David Beckham, a number of famous faces have helped keep this classic hairstyle in fashion. As such, the men’s quiff never loses its sense of coolness, even as it experiences ebbs and flows in terms of widespread popularity. Throw in the fact that it requires less maintenance than your average pompadour and what’s there not to love?
Of course, this raises the eternal question: what’s the difference between a pompadour and quiff anyway? And while we’re at it: how does one style a men’s quiff haircut on his own? Glad you should ask and you’ve come to the right place for answers. We thus present our guide to the men’s quiff haircut, including types and style pointers.
This article is part of our Trimmed & Terrific Series.
What is a Men’s Quiff Haircut?
Put simply, a men’s quiff haircut is when the hair comes up at the front and curves toward the back, often forming a wall of hair directly above the forehead. And if you think this sounds like a faux hawk or pompadour, you aren’t necessarily wrong. Ultimately, all three men’s hairstyles overlap and there remains plenty of confusion as to which one is exactly which. To make things all the more muddled, a number of barbers might say that a pompadour is a type of quiff. There’s also something known as the men’s quiff hawk, making it all one big top-heavy family.
Nevertheless, one can still make distinctions should he so desire. For example, men’s pompadours generally involve more height and volume, making them a little more sensational. By comparison, the men’s quiff haircut is often viewed as a less showy and lower maintenance alternative. Typically, it goes a little flatter on the top and features a shorter back and sides.
But don’t take that to mean everyone is on the same page. As we said, there’s plenty of overlap and what defines a quiff to one person might not define it for another. Hence, if you ask the barber for a nice faux hawk with a shaved undercut around the sides, and he calls it a quiff, that does not mean your hair is about to get butchered by some novice.
Types of Men’s Quiff Haircuts
Needless to say (though we’ve said it multiple times already), the men’s quiff haircut remains a broad and dynamic concept. And that’s a good thing since it leaves plenty of room for personal interpretation and style. However, don’t take that to mean there aren’t specific quiff haircuts from which to choose because there are. A number of them go all the way back to the 1950s, if not earlier. Here are some men’s quiff hairstyles that continue to stay the course, decade after decade.
As bold now as it ever was, the rockabilly quiff delivers a slightly shorter take on the classic pompadour. Ripped straight out of 1950s Greaser subculture, it’s commonly associated with figures like Elvis and James Dean. Most versions incorporate a side part and also fade in from the sides to the top. However, parting down the middle and curling in the side sections—also known as a ducktail haircut—is also an option.
They don’t call this one “classic” for nothing. Preceded by decades of history, it goes shorter on the sides and longer on top without resorting to grand gestures like a disconnected undercut or heavy fade. The results is a more uniform and understated style, which works best on short to medium length hair. Everyone from Don Draper to David Beckham has rocked a classic quiff and who are we to argue with them?
Speaking of David Beckham, he’s also no stranger to the undercut quiff. True to its name, this men’s hairstyle pares down the sides and goes longer on top. In the same general ballpark is a quality fade, which grows in length as it ascends toward the top. Most modern quiff haircuts employ an undercut or fade and then taper around the sides. Not only does it create a tasteful sense of contrast, but it amplifies the texture and volume of the hair on top.
Don’t mistake the textured quiff for a messy hairdo, as this one requires a careful amount of patience and instinct. Prepare to get busy with the pomade or other hair product, as you shape your quiff hairstyle to unkempt perfection. Throw in a classic fade and you’ll be rocking a seriously modern aesthetic.
Short on the sides and pointy on top, the quiff hawk is guaranteed to grab eyeballs. This one goes big on personality so don’t take it on unless you’re ready to make an entrance every time you turn a new corner.
How to Style a Men’s Quiff Haircut
Since modern hair products can often reach super glue levels of strength, essentially any man with healthy hair can pull off a nice quiff or quiff hawk if he puts his mind to it. That said, it’s far easier for men with naturally straight or wavy hair than it is men with curly or frizzy hair. On the other hand, there are definitely some killer curly quiffs out there. Again, it’s really a matter of finding the right approach and using the right products. What is always required, however, is that you have some hair to play with in the first place.
For those just starting to explore the men’s quiff haircut, you’re probably best off visiting a barber–it’s just common sense. However, you’ll still need to maintain that look at home so here are some general quiff hairstyle pointers:
- Wash your hair using both shampoo and conditioner to eradicate excess oils.
- Towel dry your hair until it’s relatively, but not completely dry. Damp is the operative word here.
- Add some hair product and distribute it evenly using a comb or your fingers. For those who want a soft hold and voluminous appearance, use a hair product like sea salt spray or volumising spray. If you have somewhat insubordinate hair and want a strong, firm hold, use hair wax. For something in between, use a wet styling gel or lightweight pomade.
- Set your blow-dryer to maximum temperature and minimum speed. Use a vented brush and start at the middle of the top. Remain on one side of the scalp and brush the hair back toward that one side. Trail the brush movements with the hair-dryer so that the hot air is going through the vents in the brush. Keep the hairdryer at a distance of about 3cm to avoid overheating.
- With your hair still damp, repeat the process on the other side of your head, this time pushing the hair in the opposite direction.
- Lower the heat setting on the hair dryer. Using your fingers or a brush, push your hair up and back at the front so that it remains above the forehead. Keep shaping and blow-drying until your hair is completely dry.
- Apply a little more hair product to keep the look fixed in place. Try to keep the product and your fingers on the outside of the quiff to retain smooth outer structure and a nice overall shine.
- Voila! You’re rocking a solid men’s quiff haircut!
This article is part of our Trimmed & Terrific Series.