Comb over hairstyles are classic looks that have stood the test of time, due to equal parts versatility and swag. Oozing with a democratic appeal, it’s one of those rare cuts that look good on nearly everyone.
First off, some definitions—not to be Captain Obvious, but some guys don’t even know if they’re already sporting this cut, as it can come with various nuances. If you have a haircut with a hard part and have used a comb and product to style your hair, chances are you’ve got some version of comb over hairstyles.
To be even more specific, it’s a style where the hair is left long on the top or crown of the head and is then brushed over or slicked back to one side, usually following your natural part. Sidebar: The phrase “comb over” has also gained quite a colorful reputation, as it’s a technique usually employed by older men or those with thinning hair to hide their growing bald spots, sometimes with comical effects.
The younger set, however, has put a twist on this dapper—and albeit very practical—hairstyle, and have found sexier, more creative and more personalized ways of wearing it, while still managing to rein it in for buttoned-up settings like the office. Click on to see the best comb-over styles to rock at work, wherever that may be:
1. Comb Over Fade
Highlight the neat, clean-cut vibe of your taper or fade by keeping the longer top lengths brushed off to the side. Blow dry the crown and run through some pliable wax or pomade such as Axe Signature Clean Cut Look: Classic Pomade. Brush this combover hairstyle at a 45-degree angle using a brush for some polished yet touchable control. Brushes are better than combs in this case—they give that uniform sheen to your comb-over haircut.
Keep It Short and Sweet: Any pouf higher than 3 inches looks a tad too kooky for the office (or if you’re not a 1950s grease-head). If you have longer lengths that are non-negotiable, opt to slick them to an angle for a more polished look. That said, this style is also most suitable to guys with smaller foreheads. Apply some non-greasy pomade such as Bed Head for Men by TIGI Slick Trick onto the hair.
Evenly comb it through using a fine-toothed comb and create your part (grab your girl’s rat-tail comb for this—the “tail” comes in handy for creating really sharp hair parts). If you’re not working with a fade, proceed to slick down each side. Comb the top part straight back, being careful not to flatten it too much. Hold the rear of your pomp and simultaneously nudge it forward gently with your non-dominant hand to set the shape, and refine the front pieces by combing in an upward motion until all strands have some lift.
3. Modern Slick-Back
Not to be confused with the infamously sleazy look of Prohibition-era gangsters, the updated version of a slicked-back ’do can work with both an undercut and a fade. High-shine pomade such as Dove Men+Care Defining Pomade is the keystone to a slick-back: Work a dime-sized amount onto damp hair, and then refine it by combing hair straight back once the entire top area is saturated. The game-changer: A slight side parting upgrades the dated slick-back by providing some definition amidst all that product, so part hair at your natural line and proceed to comb each side back from there.
Messy comb over hairstyles? Not an oxymoron. A shorter comb-over haircut can really come to the fore with a piecey, tousled take. When done right, this style evokes a more relaxed look and is particularly flattering on men with thick, straight or slightly wavy hair. Use wax or clay such as Bed Head for Men by TIGI Pure Texture Molding Paste instead of pomade—it helps give better grip and dries matte.
Blow-dry hair until damp, and emulsify the product by rubbing it between palms till slightly warm for better distribution. Apply it first on the back of your head, carefully matting down the fluff, and then leaving the excess to muss up the crown and your hairline. Also called a “natural comb-over,” this style is an easy, everyday look for those pressed for time.
Combover Styles: Tips for Getting the Look to Last
1. Take advantage of blowdryers.
If you’re not using a blow dryer on your hair, you need to start. Blow-drying your hair can help create volume and help prevent you from tucking in stray hairs that fall out of position every hour or so. Use a blow dryer to help set the direction of your hairstyle before applying your styler. This will help your look to stay in place all day long.
2. Use the right pomade.
Are you applying a pomade that offers hold? When shopping for styling products for comb over hairstyles be sure to look for pomades that hold the hair in place. Axe Clean Cut Look: Classic Pomade gives your look a medium hold and allows you to create structured styles. If you feel your hair needs a formula that has a much stronger hold, opt for the Axe Spiked-Up Look Extreme Hold Gel.
3. Set your style.
We get it, you’re a guy-on-the-go! But setting your style only takes a few minutes. Before hitting the ground running give your hair a medium blast of warm air from your blowdryer to set your style and let it cool. Now, you’re ready to take on the day without having to worry about touching up your style!