Short Back and Sides Haircuts & Hairstyle Tips for Men

For those who like to keep things stylish and manageable in equal measure, the men’s short back and sides haircut is your friend. Indeed, short back and sides hairstyles remain an easy way to flaunt a signature aesthetic without spending hours in front of the mirror every morning. Whether you’re rocking a classic fade, undercut or taper, you’ll discover there are still plenty of ways to mix things up on top, thereby distinguishing yourself from all the other short-haired men. Today, we celebrate the short back and sides hairstyle in all its glory, first by listing out some general pointers, and then by reviewing a number of applicable cuts.

This article is part of our Trimmed & Terrific Series.


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chris hemsworth short hair with beard mouth

Men’s Short Back and Sides Hairstyle Tips

Just because “short hair” and “low maintenance” often go hand in hand, that doesn’t mean the two terms are interchangeable by any stretch of the imagination. To that end, it’s important to style short hair as you would hair of any length, utilising grooming products and aesthetic trends to your advantage. Here are some men’s short back and sides hairstyle tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to play with different textures, thereby creating a conscious sense of diversity. For example, pairing a classic fade with a hard part is one surefire way to pack serious style into a tight follicle package.
  2. Not all faces are created equal, nor are all face shapes. Be sure to figure out which men’s short back and sides haircuts work best with your particular facial structure. For reference, check out our trusty guide on face shapes.
  3. If your hair is thinning out, consider going super short–or even bald–on the top and sides. If you’d rather keep some hair on top, use grooming products like a dab or pomade to spike or mess it just a little, which can help conceal a receding hairline.
  4. Even with short hair, you should use a holding product like pomade to keep everything in place. Just a light touch will do.

channing tatum short back and sides haircuts hairstyle

Men’s Short Back and Sides Haircuts

Just a cursory glance at the nearest populated locale will tell you that your options are virtually endless when it comes to hairstyle. Naturally, men’s short back and sides haircuts are no exception. In other words, there is a seemingly unlimited supply of short haircuts from which to choose, to the point that we can’t possibly list them all. Instead, here are some general short back and sides haircuts, which you can use as a springboard when cultivating your individual style.

zac efron faux hawk hairstyle

The Faux Hawk

Popularised by the likes of David Beckham, the faux hawk infuses new school style with a touch of old school attitude. Think a far less pronounced version of the mohawk and you’re heading in the right direction, though the way most gents rock the faux hawk these days, it usually bears stronger resemblance to the quiff. Typically (but not always), a faux hawk goes short on the back and sides, and longer on top, with most of the top hair facing upward or back. In other words: a quiff.

french crop hair style

The French Crop

Delivering a tight, and somewhat hassle-free aesthetic, the french crop usually pairs a short back and sides with a short top and a textured finish. For the fringe, go with a tight, short cut, or retain some medium length with the bangs facing forward. This one works best for those with straight hair, though wavy or curly-haired gentlemen can still pull off a French crop with help from a great barber and some holding product. Meanwhile, men with longer faces should aim for a little more length on the sides, joined by a flatter top.

the pompadour

The Pompadour

Even after all this time, the pompadour remains synonymous with Elvis Presley, which doesn’t necessarily do the cut justice in terms of how far its come. Commonly distinguished by short hair on the back and sides, and full, voluminous hair on top, the popular hairstyle requires a fair amount of product and maintenance, but looks downright irresistible when executed properly. For a brilliant study in contrasts, go extra short on the back and sides by way of a fade or undercut.

ryan reynolds buzz cut

Buzz Cut

While shaving your entire head might sound like the lazy man’s way out, the truth is that a quality buzz cut can often do wonders for your overall appearance, especially when it plays off the contours of your face. Specifically, oval and square shaped faces usually go best with the buzz cut. Meanwhile, don’t think that the cut leaves no room for personal style, as there’s still some room to play with texture and length. While on the subject, should you take the length up a full notch, then you might find yourself in crew cut territory. Take it down a full notch and you’re now bald and proud.

zac efron side part

The Side Part

Get your Don Draper on by rocking a premium side part haircut, which combines timeless tradition with modern style to superb effect. As one might expect, you should be handy with the hair product and comb in order to pull off this hairstyle. Also, don’t be afraid to layer in some texture by fading out the back and sides, so that the hair gets shorter as it descends.

4 back and sides hair style

4 Back and Sides

Not every short back and sides haircut has to cling tightly to the crown. Instead of a buzz cut or undercut, ask your barber for a 4 back and sides cut, which keeps things uniformly short in length, but not too short. After all, there’s no harm in showing off those lustrous follicles, should you be lucky enough to possess them. This cut also leaves plenty of room to play with texture and style.

This article is part of our Trimmed & Terrific Series.


You’ll also like:
10 Short Hairstyles for Men
Long Haircuts and Hairstyle Tips for Men
Curly & Wavy Haircuts & Hairstyle Tips for Men


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