Short back and sides: defining the Barber’s Cut

Aussy | 30 January 2018

Short back and sides basically make up the description of the classic Filipino haircut, the Barber’s Cut. But do you know what kind you’re getting?

Short back and sides make up the quintessential men’s haircut. It’s a description that all barbers can create for their clients, so much so that, to Filipinos, it’s simply called the Barber’s Cut.

The Barber’s Cut is a cultural Filipino icon that is defined by the “2×3,” or the practice of taking off two fingers’ worth of hair on the sides and three fingers’ worth on the back. Sound familiar? It’s basically the short back and sides haircut.

Then again, so are these other popular men’s hairstyles. In an ideal world, we would leave it up to the barber to take care of our hair. Since we can’t all be so lucky, find out for yourself which short back and sides haircut you actually want to get when you ask for that Barber’s Cut!

Basic types of the short back and sides haircut and hairstyles

short back and sides barber's cut
The Barber’s Cut can take many shapes and forms. Credit: Shutterstock


The pompadour features a great volume of hair known as the pomp at its top, but is made up of the fundamental short back and sides. These two hair styles are complementary: contrasting hair textures, hair lengths, and hair heights so that there’s a balance of sleekness and funk. No wonder Elvis loved it!

pompadour fade professional hairstyles for men
The pompadour fade is a versatile look great for both work and casual days or nights out. Credit: iStock

Editor’s Tip: The pompadour will usually require a hair styling product. Find out which one is best for you to use here. When the day is through, though, get all that product out of your hair with Dove Men + Care Refreshing Clean Shampoo.

Dove Men + Care Refreshing Clean Shampoo

Side Part

The short back and sides is the foundation of the side part. This traditional men’s hairstyle can get a little edge if you can ask your barber to do a fade on the usual 2 by 3. The fade is another hairstyle that is determined by the back and sides of the head getting shorter and shorter hair, eventually “fading” into the skin. The side part looks good on any face type, too, so it’s safe to let your barber take the clippers on this one.

model man on the runway with slick hair
Slick side part. Credit:

Editor’s Tip: Style your hair into a side part with hair wax for men. Sometimes also called hair clay or hair putty, it’s an easy hair styling product you can use all day. Make sure to pat some TONI&GUY Mattifying Putty for Men on the top and the sides when you do this style.

Military Cut

The military cut is also sometimes called the buzz cut, which is a primary short back and sides example. For a modern take, keep the top just an inch — or even a finger — longer than the usual buzz cut. Depending on your face shape, the buzz cut can highlight your features or complement some aspects with its height — or lack thereof.

buzz cut hairstyle for men
Hairstyle for men: Buzz cut. Credit:

Editor’s Tip: While the military cut is maintenance-free, improper hair care can lead to dandruff that will show up as crusty white flakes on your scalp. With the hair on your head that short, it will definitely be a feature you don’t want to highlight. Use Clear Ice Cool Menthol Anti-Dandruff Shampoo to activate your scalp’s natural protection layer and keep it fresh all day.


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