Comb overs are perhaps the most classic of all men’s hairstyles. But if you’re not clued up on your grooming lingo, you might be wondering “what is a comb over?”. Well, you can leave any preconceptions about Donald Trump’s questionable style at the door, because contemporary comb overs are fresh, stylish and all the rage on the male grooming scene.
Having become increasingly popular for men both on and off the runway, comb overs have been causing quite a stir lately. And being the investigative types, we’ve decided to delve into the style and discover what all the fuss is about, plus how you should be rocking the classic ‘do this season.
What is a comb over? Everything you need to know
Essentially, a comb over is a term used to describe a men’s hairstyle where the hair is parted to the side and combed across the head. Short at the sides and longer on top, this style is traditionally associated with balding men as the sweeping hair is able to cleaverly conceal any areas of hair loss.
Yet while comb overs are popular with sufferers of male pattern baldness, thanks to a rise in high-fashion runway models sporting the style (alongside several stylish celeb gents, like Zac Efron and Justin Timberlake), it’s having somewhat of a resurgence — so better time to give it a go?
How to create a classic comb over in 5 steps
If you like the comb over effect but don’t know how to go about recreating it yourself, we’ve got your back. Follow our 5-step guide below and you’ll be rocking the retro style in no time.
1. Wash and towel dry your hair.
2. Use a comb to draw a line through your hair to create a side parting. For a natural finish you should keep this close to your natural part; or for a more authentic comb over effect, opt for a more dramatic deep side parting as seen on the model above.
3. Once you’ve defined your parting, blow dry your hair using your comb to smooth the hair down into place as you dry.
4. Work a small amount of hair pomade in the palms of your hands (the VO5 Groomed Extreme Style Grooming Pomade is great for creating vintage hairstyles like this). Work the product through your hair from root to tip.
5. Finally, take your comb again and use it to style your hair into your desired shape, focusing on creating a sweeping effect at the front.
And that’s all there is to it! A few practice runs in front of the bathroom mirror and you’ll be rocking this retro style like you own it.
Thought there was just one way to rock a comb over? Think again, because the modern day reincarnation of the classic comb over comes in a variety of different forms.
So, no matter your natural hair type and texture, or whatever vibe you’re hoping to create, there’s bound to be a comb over combo for you. Check out some of our favourite takes on the trend, below.
4 new ways to style your comb over
Curly comb over
Curly locks? Curls can add a contemporary twist to this strict style and give it a softer, off-duty feel.
Slick down your parting as you would a classic comb over, but allow your ends to remain relaxed and curly. The contrasting textures will make for a unique, trendy finish.
Comb over fade
After something a bit more alternative? If the classic comb over is too pristine for your liking, toughen things up with a shaved fade detail. This will accentuate the longer layers you have on top and give the look a more casual, urban vibe.
High-shine comb over
Run your comb though your strands after applying the gel to create the individual lines in your hair that’ll add a suave, James Bond-esque feel to the style.
Quiff comb over
If you don’t like the thought of having your hair slicked down onto your head, try elevating the style with a coiffed-up quiff.
Retaining the classic elements of this well-loved style (a deep side parting and side-swept bangs), this ‘do also gives off a fuller, more youthful aura, meaning it’s not so high-maintenance.