Short Back and Sides: 10 Ways to Wear the Barber’s Cut

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.

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

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!

1. Pompadour

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

The pompadour features a great volume of hair, known as the pomp, on its top, but is made up of the fundamental short back and sides. These two hairstyles are complementary, thanks to contrasting hair textures, hair lengths, and hair heights to create a balance of sleekness and funk. No wonder Elvis loved it!

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.

2. Side Part

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

Having short back and sides is the foundation of the side part hairstyle. This traditional men’s hairstyle can look edgy 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.

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.

3. Military Cut

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

The military cut is also sometimes called the buzz cut, which is a prime example of a short and back sides haircut. 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.

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 protective layer and keep it fresh all day.

4. Mohawk with Fade

Short back an sides: Side view of a man with Mohawk with fade hairstyle
Make barber’s cut trendy by going for a Mohawk with fade. Credit: Shutterstock

Update a regular barber’s cut and try the Mohawk with fade. This haircut features a thick top and short sides that are not fully shaved. You can go for a taper fade as well for a more dramatic look. Then, keep this haircut young and fresh by giving your Mohawk haircut a matte finish.

5. Square Cut

Short back and sides: Man with short dark hair wearing a white sleeveless top
If you want a sleek and clean look, the square cut is for you. Credit: Shutterstock

Also known as the flair or shape up hairstyle, the square cut involves a straight line on top as well as the sides and back. It’s a simple and clean haircut that you can wear every day no matter the occasion. If you want to spice it up, you can grow the top a bit longer and style your hair in different ways.

6. French Crop

Model is wearing a barber's haircut with small sunglasses.
The French Crop is not common but definitely groovy. Credit: Indigitalimages

Not everyone knows about the French Crop but barbers who keep themselves updated with styling know what you mean when you say this hairstyle. The French Crop is characterized by a short fringe that sits on the front part of your hair. To make this look modern, you can ask your barber to do the tapered haircut to the rest of your hair.

7. Crew Cut

Man is wearing a barber's cut with a coat and tie and is smiling at the camera.
Look clean and good with the crew cut. Credit: Shutterstock

You might say that the crew cut is a common barber’s haircut but it is also the one with the cleanest finish. With its tapered sides and longer hair at the top which is great for styling, this haircut looks absolutely amazing on almost anybody. So if you’re unsure of what haircut you want to get, try to go for the crew cut.

Editor’s tip: As the top of your hair is longer than the rest, you can definitely style it however you want. And to achieve the desired style and make it hold its shape longer, you can put a small amount of VO5 Rough It Up Putty. Not only will it leave your hair textured but it also doesn’t make it crunchy.

8. Curly Short Hair

Model is wearing a blue shirt, curly barber's haircut, and a beard and mustache
Who says curly hair isn’t beautiful on men? Credit: Shutterstock

You can most certainly wear a barber’s cut for curly hair! You can wear the top longer than the sides so you can still showcase your curls. Plus, you can also style it according to how you want it, but messy and defined curls are the best options.

Editor’s tip: A nice barber’s haircut is not the only way to achieve a great look. Equally important is having healthy, dandruff-free hair. That’s why it’s important to keep your mane healthy by using CLEAR Deep Cleanse Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Men to remove trapped dirt or grease from your scalp and protect your hair from dandruff.

9. Formal Fade

Asian guy is wearing a blue sweater over his shirt and is slightly holding his cuffs as he smiles at the camera
Look handsome with the fade haircut. Credit: Natasha Estelle

Achieve the boy-next-door vibe with this formal fade haircut. This is a great haircut that makes you look clean even if you don’t cut your hair short. Since the sides are shorter than the top (hence the fade), you can keep a clean finish without any loose hair strands hitting your face. It’s a good hairstyle for the office as it exudes power and formality without looking boring.

10. Spiky

Man's body is facing sideways but his face is looking at the camera while holding his jacket over his shoulders with two fingers
Spiky hair is a classic look that never gets old. Credit: Shutterstock

You must have already heard or seen the spiky haircut. It was definitely a trend in the ’90s but this classic barber’s haircut never gets old! In fact, you can wear one now and you’ll look fab! The great thing about the spiky hair is that it makes you look younger, especially if you style it messy!

Editor’s tip: Give your hair the style it needs with a little bit of VO5 Matt Clay. The matte finish makes your hair look great without the greasy after-feel. 

The barber’s cut is really nice and it is actually one of our fave men’s haircuts. But just like any the haircut, you also need to maintain it. Don’t worry, though, as there are easy ways on how you can keep your barber’s cut look great. Here they are.

1. Choose the right styling tools

short back and sides: Asian guy is brushing his hair while one hand is on the side of his head
Brushing your hair regularly has its benefits. Credit: Hariono Halim

Maintaining your haircut isn’t always easy. In fact, you might have to invest in a few tools that can help you style and take care of your hair. For instance, you need to use a flat hairbrush when brushing your hair to remove tangles and promote good blood circulation in your scalp. However, you should use a wide-toothed comb when your hair is wet so as not to cause hair breakage.

Editor’s tip: Dealing with hair fall? Switch to CLEAR Anti-Hairfall Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Men. Thanks to its Ginseng Strength Technology, your hair gets stronger while being protected from dandruff at the same time. 

2. Condition your hair

Asian guy is looking at the camera while his head is slightly tilted.
Hair conditioning is a must for men, too. Credit: Natasha Estelle

It’s not vanity when you use conditioner on your hair. It’s called taking care of it. Use a conditioner that is specifically designed for men’s hair because men and women’s hair have different needs. Conditioners nourish your hair and help keep it healthy and shiny.

3. Apply the right hair products

Asian man smiling and touching his hair
The right styling products can make or break your ‘do. Credit: Natasha Estelle

Familiarize yourself with the common styling products for men, like hair putty and gel. They help keep your hair in place or style them according to your preference. This way, you can experiment with different ways on how to style a barber’s cut.

Editor’s tip: We highly recommend using VO5 Gel Wax for styling your hair. It is not greasy nor does it feel heavy after styling. It also holds like a gel but also gives your hair flexibility like a wax.

4. Give your hair a day off

short back and sides: guy has one hand on his hair and he is smiling not directly at the camera
The barber’s cut is a clean cut. Credit: Hariono Halim

Even your hair deserves a break from styling and from various hair products. If you’re just staying home during the weekend, wear your hair au naturel so it doesn’t get stressed from all the styling that you usually do.

Now that you have these ideas on how to wear short back and sides, you can specify what you want when you ask for a barber’s cut. Bookmark this page so you can show it to your stylist on your next trip to the salon.

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