17 Tapered Haircuts and Short Hairstyles for Men As Seen on the Runway

Looking for a new style? Try your hand at these classic hairstyles for men.

Guys, if you feel that your haircut doesn’t give you any options when you are exploring short hairstyles, then you might want to consider checking out the tapered haircut. A tapered haircut is a cut where the hair is longer at the top, and then the hair around the perimeter is shorter. The difference between the long hair on the top of your head and the hair on the sides and back is done gradually. Think of it as long hair that slowly becomes shorter on your head without resulting in a full, shaven fade. The result is a clean-looking haircut that gives you lots of options.

The tapered haircut is sometimes known as a tapered fade haircut. Like the classic tapered haircut, the tapered fade haircut works with all hair types and face shapes. This cut is a bit longer on top, and the sides are left a bit longer too. Another iteration of the tapered haircut is the quiff. That’s when the hair on top is left long, so it can be styled high and back.

Short Hairstyles for Men: 17 Tapered Haircuts to Try

Tapered haircuts can be worn by any face shape and hair type. Best of all, they’re low-maintenance and are a classic look that works on a myriad of hair types. Here are some tapered haircuts for you to try if you want to get the look:

1. Classic Tapered Haircut Short Hairstyles

tapered haircut
The classic tapered haircut can go from work to play.

The classic tapered haircut is a clean-looking short hairstyle. Have your barber cut the hair on your head about one to two inches long and the sides and back shorter. The sides and back should be tapered (or layered), short, and clean. Having the length on top allows you to style it in different ways.

2. The Quiff

tapered haircut quiff
Classic tapered haircut turned into a quiff is a stylish look.

If you’re dealing with thinning hair, say hello to the quiff. It’s a cut that’s rockabilly and a bit retro-cool, but it can also be worn to work. The secret is the height of the hair in front: Tell your barber that you want a tapered haircut where the top is two to three inches long on top. That way, you can play with the front, making it high as you want or slicking it back for a different look altogether. To style, blow-dry hair until damp. Then take a small amount of Dove Men+Care Defining Pomade and rub it between your fingertips and the palms of your hands, and then gently finger-comb the product on your hair, styling it as you go.

3. Amped-Up Quiff

tapered haircut amped up quiff with curls tapered haircut
Amp up the quiff tapered haircut with volume up front. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

This tapered haircut is a Hollywood and runway favorite. You can style the front high, you can style it messy, or you can slick it back. If you have your barber make the top four to five inches long, you can even create a man bun and keep your tapered haircut neat on the sides and back. To create a messy-looking amped quiff that stays in place, use AXE Urban Messy Look: Flexible Paste. Finger-comb the paste into your hair and style it with your fingers.

4. Tapered Haircut with Fringe

Tapered haircut with messy fringe.
Tapered haircut with messy fringe. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

For guys who want to minimize a wide forehead or prefer an edgier look, try getting a tapered haircut with fringe. The fringe, or bangs, should not go straight across the forehead as it turns a tapered haircut into a bowl cut. Naturally, wavy hair would look great with fringe that shows off its waves. Try AXE Natural Look: Understated Cream on damp hair to create a natural-looking short hairstyle.

5. Curly Haircut

curly tapered haircut
Tapered haircuts are fun when you show off your curls.

Release the curls! Guys with curly hair opt for a classic taper that’s a bit long on top, so curls can be easily styled. Think neat on the back and sides and sexy bedhead on top for the ultimate of the classic looks when sporting short hairstyles for men.

6. Wet-Look Tapered Haircut

wet look tapered haircut
Give the tapered haircut the wet look for a night out. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Match a classic cut with classic products. The wet-look tapered haircut, sometimes called the slicked-back hairstyle, combines the ’90s and what’s hot now. It’s a look that says you’re in command of everything (yes, even your cowlicks). Using TRESemmé TRES Two Extra Firm Control Gel gives you a controlled hairstyle that shines.

7. Side-Combed Taper Short Hairstyles

tapered haircut side combed
Change it up! A classic tapered haircut with a side-combed part.

Not into a swoop, but like a good ol’ side part? Try the classic tapered haircut and wear the front combed to one side. Simply brush hair as you would in a comb-over (but not straight across, maybe more at a softer angle), and voilà: You’re done.

8. Short Dreads Short Hairstyles

tapered haircut with dreadlocks.
Short dreadlocks keep things fresh. Photo credit: Dvora

The classic style meets edgy hipster in this combo look. The sides and back follow the lines of the classic tapered haircut, and the top is done in small dreadlocks.

9. Long-in-Front Taper Short Haircut

long in front tapered haircut
Go edgy with a long front tapered haircut. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

It’s sporty, it’s edgy, and it’s fun. Guys who have pin-straight hair, this look is for you. Tell your barber that you want the classic taper on the sides and back. For the top (front), you want five to six inches in length. Part hair slightly off-center for a modern look.

10. Taper Haircut Spiked

tapered haircut spiked up
Add a spiky front to your haircut.

Feeling dangerous? Simply style the top of your hair into spikes. You can go mild or wild and create a fauxhawk. How much you spike it is up to you! Our weapon of choice is Bed Head for Men by TIGI Matte Separation Workable Wax. With this hair wax, you can create spikes and get hair to stay in place all day and night.

11. Tapered Afro

rounded black men haircuts
The more conservative version of a tapered afro. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

If you’re looking for short hairstyles for men with natural hair, the tapered afro is a great option to keep your locks tame and stylish.

12. Textured Pompadour

undercut modern pompadour
It’s a classic for a reason.

There’s something so captivating about this hairstyle with a voluminous top and shaved sides. The textured pompadour is a great short haircut for men who want to play with their hair volume.

14. Tapered Comb-over

taper combover sided taper
Keep one tapered side shorter to create an asymmetrical effect.

The tapered side comb-over is perfect to create the illusion of more volume in your hair and it will help you conceal a receding hairline in a stylish way.

15. Tapered Bowl Cut

bald fade bowl cut
Go against the grain this winter with this blast from the past hair cut.

The bowl cut is one of those short hairstyles for men that never goes out of fashion. Cut with the right angles (like a shorter crown comb-over and cleanly faded sides, as shown), it turns from cheesy to cool in no time.

16. Short and Tight

long high and tight bald taper fade
Polished and dapper, without looking stuffy. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Win the hairstyle game with this neat and tight tapered fade. Perfect for the office as well as the after-hours, it’s a simple haircut with a cool and edgy flair.

17. Tapered Fade With Beard

taper haircut
A well-blended taper makes your look more cohesive. Photo credit: Dvora

No list of short hairstyles for men would be complete without a short cut + beard combo. If you have fine hair or naturally prefer short hair, combine it with the length of your beard for a stylish contrast.



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