Men’s hair has taken quite a turn over the past year, with lengthier lockdown tresses becoming almost universal as hairdressers and barber shops shut and we were all required to stay at home. But now that life has returned to some semblance of normal and the weather is warming up, it’s time to start thinking about tidying things up a bit and getting back to our sartorial best. While for many, rocking a longer and unkempt style was something of a novelty, the return to the office and the reinstatement of social events on our calendars calls for us to embrace the well-groomed look once again. First impressions count, so if you have a big business meeting or red carpet event coming up then there’s no time like the present to perfect a more polished exterior – and with a plethora of smart and short men’s styles to choose from, the possibilities abound.
From buzz cuts to quiffs, short hair has been popular amongst men throughout history, and can be just as fun to wear as longer locks – not to mention easier to maintain. A good haircut can change the appearance of your face and emphasise your best features with just a few snips – while an oval face usually suits hairstyles that are up off the forehead, a square face looks good with short, neat hair like a buzz cut – so pay attention to your face shape when choosing your preferred style. For most men, an easily replicated hairstyle can make morning prep so much quicker. Before you go dashing to the barber for a new do though, it’s important to consider how long you want to spend grooming in the bathroom. Some hairstyles require more gel or wax than others, whilst very short hair just needs a quick comb and you’re good to go – so consider how high maintenance you are before you commit.
From buzz cuts to quiffs, short hair has been popular amongst men throughout history, and can be just as fun to wear as longer locks – not to mention easier to maintain
So, what are the most popular men’s haircuts and styles you should be considering for 2021? We’ve conducted some Google keyword research to find out what the most searched for men’s looks are for 2021. There’s a mix of classics and contemporary styles for all hair types, and whether you’ve got straight, curly or wavy hair, there’s plenty of inspiration for your next trip to the barbers. So, read on to find out what the top 10 short haircuts are for men.
What are the most popular short haircuts for men?
The ultra-short buzz cut has long been associated with the military, and in many countries such as the UK, conscripts were historically given the cut to help prevent the spread of lice. Nowadays, the look is less about hygiene, but it’s still just as practical, and is cool in warm temperatures, making it perfect for the summer months. Not only that, but with a buzz cut, you’ll never have to worry about taming your bedhead in the mornings, as it requires very little upkeep and looks almost perpetually good to go.
This style is popular with men who want hair that is easy to manage and looks smart with minimal effort. Traditionally, the hair is ‘buzzed’ using razors until it is all one length. If you want an easy, modern cut, ask your barber to incorporate a fade or undercut into the buzz cut to add interest to an otherwise uniform look.
This short hairstyle has many similarities to the buzz cut, in that both are low maintenance and look tidy with minimal fuss. A crew cut features a slightly longer length on top and short, tapered sides. This style works well with a taper fade on shorter hair and an undercut on a slightly longer crew cut. The crew cut hairstyle is thought to originate from college students in the US during the 1920s and 1930s. It’s believed that athletes (including the crews of rowing teams) liked the haircut because it prevented the wind from blowing hair into their faces.
The ultra-short buzz cut has long been associated with the military, and in many countries such as the UK, conscripts were historically given the cut to help prevent the spread of lice
Many people think that it’s best to leave the dodgy bowl cuts of their youth consigned to the old family photo albums – however, the bowl cut has had a revamp in recent years and, surprisingly, is now one of the most stylish short haircuts around. The classic bowl cut is the same length all the way around, starting from the short fringe in the middle of your forehead. You can wear it textured with an undercut to give it a modern look, or opt for an undercut, which works well with the look and adds a contemporary twist to the traditional bowl cut.
As the name suggests, the bowl cut was originally a DIY haircut that involved placing a bowl on someone’s head and cutting around it – but thankfully, it has come a long way since then! An updated version of the hairstyle became mainstream in the 1960s when The Beatles sported the look, and today’s look is a more modern twist on both.
Often associated with the 1950s, this look has seen a revival in recent years. The style requires more careful styling than some of the other haircuts on this list. To achieve a short quiff haircut, the hair is kept longer on the top of the head and combed upwards and back for a voluminous texture. The quiff is similar to the pompadour in basic terms of the styling. Both include swept-back hair, but the quiff is generally messier and bigger. The quiff generally focuses on the hair just about the forehead, rather than big all over like a pompadour. It’s important to balance out the style of the quiff with your face shape. The height can be varied depending on the length or width of your face.
Often associated with the 1950s, the quiff look has seen a revival in recent years
If you’re after a regal hairstyle, you can’t go wrong with this emperor-inspired haircut. With its short fringe, it’s ideal for men who are wanting to disguise a receding hairline – and requires little styling in the mornings. The style is popular all over the world, and is a staple in most barbers’ repertoire that can be styled using a small amount of wax and cream. The short crop hairstyle also works well with thinning hair, so consider this if you’re worried about hair loss.
This contemporary style is a thoroughly modern look, and is perfect if you want to keep the length of your hair on top. The style is so named because there is no gradual change in length from the shaved sides to the top, with the longer hair on top usually brushed back to increase the volume and height. Due to the nature of its shaved sides and contrasting lengths, this look will need regular appointments at the barber’s – so it’s best to avoid this look if you’re not prepared to make that level of commitment.
The short haircut was mostly worn by working-class men during the earlier parts of the 20th Century, when gangs particularly favoured the look because long hair would have been a disadvantage in street fights. The style has become popular in the last few years due to the BBC historical drama Peaky Blinders, and has become one of the most iconic styles of the past few years.
The disconnected undercut is a contemporary style is a thoroughly modern look, and is perfect if you want to keep the length of your hair on top
Although often associated with men trying to cover their bald patches, comb-overs can, in fact, be worn by men with all hair types. For a smarter office look, pair your comb-over with a low skin fade to soften the changing hair length and draw attention to certain features of your face. A high skin fade, for example, brings focus to your brow line. The comb-over can be paired with a variety of different skin fades and lengths to get the look you want. Feeling rebellious? Ask your barber for a comb-over skin fade. Trying to find a cut for your curly hair? There’s no need to hide your curls when you could make them a statement. Be aware, however, that comb-overs do require styling and regular haircuts, but they’re sure to make you stand out from the crowd nonetheless.
Much like the Caesar cut, the French crop involves short, clipped hair at the back, sides and top. Unlike the Caesar cut, however, the French crop features a long fringe, which varies in length depending on personal preference. The low-maintenance look can also include a skin fade if you want to mix things up. For thick, wavy or curly hair you could opt for a messy French crop with tousled waves. This short hairstyle also works for men with thin or receding hairlines, and is an adjustable cut that can be adapted depending on the level of styling you want. For quicker styling, get a shorter French crop with an undercut and fade.
The pompadour was the product of rebellious teenagers during the 1950s, and was in stark contrast to the cropped haircuts of the 1940s war period
The Ivy League cut
An Ivy League cut is named after its popularity in American colleges. Very similar to the crew cut, the Ivy League cut has more length on top and the back and sides, which means that this short hairstyle can be combed into a side part for a smarter and more office-worthy look. If you have thick hair, you could ask your barber for a textured crop to create a messier look that’s easier to style. For thinning hair, textured layers can give added volume and lift, while for a trendier version, consider going for a fade.
The Ivy League cut is relatively easy to maintain – simply use some light product to style it to your preference, or comb it while wet. The length is up to you and your personal style, although longer hair will require more product and attention. It’s good to remember that hair is easiest to style when damp, so wash it beforehand. A quick run-through with your fingers will create an effortless, casual look.
This look is all about the styling. A basic haircut that is short on the back and sides and long on top, you can decide whether to comb upwards for height or backwards for a smaller look depending on the desired height of your hair. Pair this short style with a low fade for a modern twist. It can be easier to keep the shape if you have thicker hair, but with the right amount of wax or gel, you can easily achieve the same impact. It’s worth investing in a good quality hair dryer as it will help keep the hair in place, too – blow-drying it will add volume and height where you need it the most.
The pompadour was the product of rebellious teenagers during the 1950s, and was in stark contrast to the cropped haircuts of the 1940s war period. Then, teenagers were riding the wave of rock ‘n’ roll and wanted to copy the style of idols, like Elvis Presley. Since then, the trendy look has kept reappearing, proving just how adaptable the short haircut is.