Neat, easy and decidedly dapper, a short back and sides has long been the bread and butter of many classic men’s haircuts. Consider it every gent’s fast track ticket to looking clean and tidy, a short back and sides is often seen as the ideal base for any hairstyle that requires flexibility in styling – be it for the office or off-duty. But make no mistake, a cut that features a short back and sides doesn’t have to be boring. Because while it will always exude a certain timelessness, there’s plenty of room to play around and inject more timely updates, too. In fact, a short back and sides hairstyle can be designed to look as understated or as dramatic as you like. Plus, get the cut and balance right, and styling it should be a breeze. See below for 5 short back and sides haircuts you should try this year.
5 Short back and sides haircuts to try in 2016
Contemporary faux hawk
For those who’d like a more striking, stylised cut, but are wary of statement-making hairstyles like the pompadour, the faux hawk (i.e. the Mohawk’s quieter, more grown-up cousin) strikes the perfect balance between a classic Caesar and a very distinguished high quiff. Totally customisable to suit your taste and personal style requirements, there’s always the option to further emphasise your faux hawk by taking the back and sides much tighter. For a more subtle outcome, just ask your barber to retain a little length to balance it out.
In terms of styling, the contemporary faux hawk is very flexible. You may want to maintain an element of neatness for the office – in which case the top and front can be kept tidier – but try adding some texture -with TIGI Bed Head for Men Pure Texture Molding Paste (£11.50*) – to achieve a casual messiness for the weekend as well.
Classic French crop
Similar to the Caesar cut, the French crop is a masculine classic that requires very little styling and maintenance. Essentially, the French crop is cut short through the back and sides, while the top is kept slightly longer and can be combed forward to make a sort of micro fringe, or swept to the side if the length allows. While it’s essential for your barber to clipper the back and sides enough to give the cut a little sharpness, there shouldn’t be too heavy a contrast to the top section. If you’re after a sharper overall look, request a blunt cut at the front to produce a more solid, even shape.
It might also be worth noting that while this haircut can work for all face shapes, it must be altered and tailored to suit each individual for the most flattering outcome. Taking the sides shorter and sharper, and building in texture on top (to create height) will work wonders for round faces, whereas a flatter top section and longer sides will help add width to elongated features.
For the gents who want to add a little va-va-voom to their short back and sides, a quiff is the perfect solution to do so. And don’t worry, it’s actually more versatile than you think. For more subtle results that are perfectly adequate for the office, leave a little bit of length on the sides so as not to make your quiff too prominent, and for more statement-making looks, make them tighter to create a more extreme contrast. And don’t forget that this season, the quiff comes in all shapes and sizes, so feel free to experiment and play around with texture, as well as height. Tip: try the VO5 SurfStyle Paste (£3.99*) to help create that natural-looking, messy texture that was all the rage on this season’s menswear runways.
Think of it as a sort of variation on the classic crew cut, the seemingly low-key, military short back and sides was thrust back into the spotlight on spring/summer 2016 catwalks. All about taking the lower half of the cut super tight, paired with a slightly (and we really mean tiny here) longer crop on top, the military cut is super easy to maintain. With minimum styling efforts required, this is a great choice for the gents who favour that very masculine look and are often short on time in the morning. Although it may be worth noting that this cut is better suited to those with a more structured face and head shape.
Bangs with short back and sides
If the spring/summer 2016 runways were anything to go by, fringes are back with a bang this year (no pun intended). The good news is, they’re more versatile than ever, and no, you don’t have to be a teenager or even in your twenties to sport a fringe, although it does lend a certain youthful stance to a classic short back and sides base.
There’s a common misconception that fringes are hard to style, but the secret to fuss-free styling is in getting the cut right first and foremost. It’s also worth noting that while a fringe brilliantly works on guys with longer faces or higher foreheads, as it helps to balance out facial proportions, it may be less flattering on rounder or squarer face shapes. And remember, for a more natural-looking, casually dishevelled outcome, texture is key, so when it comes to styling, opt for pliable, matte-finish clay or putty (like the VO5 Extreme Style MattClay, £3.99*) for best results.