What is a Comb Over? Everything You Need to Know About this Classic Hairstyle for Men

You asked, we answered. Find out what is a comb over and how you can rock this neat men's hairstyle, here.

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?” Contemporary comb overs are fresh, stylish and all the rage on the male grooming scene, and we’ll prove it to you.

Having become increasingly popular for men both on and off the runway, comb overs having a resurgence. And being the investigative types, we’ve decided to delve into the style and discover what the craze is all about, plus how you should be rocking the classic ‘do this season.

what is a comb over slick
The comb over is an enduring style. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

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 cleverly conceal any areas of hair loss.

While comb overs are popular with sufferers of male pattern baldness, thanks to a rise in high-fashion runway models sporting the style, it’s having somewhat of a revival,—so time to try it out!

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 to achieve the retro style.

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 (Bed Head for Men by TIGI Slick Trim Firm Hold 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.

What is a comb over orange sweater
You’ll be a comb over pro with our handy how-to guide. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

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 favorite takes on the trend, below.

What is a comb over curly hair
Curly hair? Don’t worry, you can get in on the comb over action too. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

1. 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.

What is a comb over edgy
Add edge to this traditional style with a shaved detail. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

2. 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.

what is a comb over use glossy gel
Smarten up with a slick and shiny style. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

3. High-shine Comb Over

Need a formal style for a work event or wedding? Use a high-shine gel, like the TRESemmé Tres Two UltraFirm Control Gel, to give your hair an immaculate, glossy finish.

Run your comb though your strands after applying the gel to create the individual lines in your hair to add a suave feel to the style.

what is a comb over model looking down
What is a comb over: Reach new heights with a gravity-defying quiff. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

4. 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.

So, now that you’re no longer wondering, “what is a comb over?”, will you be trying it out? If you do, remember to share your comb over creations with us on Twitter @AllThingsHairUS, we love seeing how you make these styles you own.