Have you ever looked at a restaurant menu and been overwhelmed by the amount of options? Too many choices can actually make it harder to choose, whether you’re at a restaurant, the grocery store, or even a barbershop.
It’s generally recommended that you get a haircut every three to four months. Sure, an at-home DIY haircut is an option, but if you’re looking for something a little more styled, you’ll want to visit a Pro.
When sitting in the barber’s chair, not only are there many options to choose from, but there are also barbershop terms you might hear like taper vs. fade, faux hawk vs. mohawk — and wait, what’s a pompadour again?
Picking the right fresh haircut for you starts with knowing what is available and what will work with your hair. For those who like to keep their hair trimmed, we’ve created this guide to short haircuts for men that can help you get inspired leading up to your next appointment with a Pro in your neighborhood.
1. Classic Buzzcut
It’s classic for a reason. The buzzcut is a tried-and-true short hairstyle that people of all genders have enjoyed for its simplicity, easy care, and stylish look. You can shave your buzzcut down to be right against the skin, or leave some peach fuzz on top for a bit more length and uniqueness.
2. Caesar Cut
Who doesn’t want to look like a Roman emperor? This stylish haircut is named after Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar Augustus, who frequently sports this look in artistic renderings. The trademark of a Caesar cut is short, blunt bangs. It might be hard to pull off, but with the confidence of an emperor, you’ll be good to go.
3. Hard Part
If you trust your barber, a hard part may be a chic option for your next appointment. A hard part is a distinct line on the head that separates two sections of hair that are usually two different lengths. Though the style should only be tried by a qualified Pro, the result is something that is unique and cool.
4. Classic Taper
Photo source: Ryan Claudon, a men’s haircut Pro in Austin, TX
The word “taper” describes something that gradually changes thickness toward one end. The haircut follows suit. A taper cut becomes gradually thinner as it works its way down the head, and usually remains long and styled on top. The classic taper is a more retro, formal cut that is usually combed or gelled on the top for a dignified look.
5. Combed Back
If you’ve got a comb and some gel, you can achieve this classic combed-back look. A combed hairstyle is one way to style hair that is cut into a taper, using a comb and gel to slick back the longer portions of hair on top of the head to keep it looking sharp.
6. Low Fade
A low fade is a type of taper cut that adds a unique twist to a common style. Rather than tapering off at the top of the head, a low fade tapers lower to allow for a longer top. This look is both distinct and trendy, allowing you to put a bit more of your personal style into a classic tapered cut. Pair this cut with a line up for an even edgier look.
7. Side Part Fade
Photo source: Stacey Harris, a men’s haircut Pro in Los Angeles, CA
Part placement can add a fresh personality to your haircut. Do you part down the middle, to the left, or to the right? Each creates a whole new look. That’s the thinking behind the side part fade. This cut puts a spin on a classic fade look by having the longer top part reach a decided place on the side. This is also a great hairstyle to try if you have a receding hairline.
8. Classic Pompadour
For those who like to add a little elegance to their look, a classic pompadour calls back to the ‘50s and ‘60s, when James Dean and Elvis Presley were all the rage. A pompadour involves sweeping the hair upward so it sits high over the forehead. Though the pompadour is a retro look, it’s become a popular short hairstyle for men in the past few years.
9. Side Brush Up
A side brush up is the perfect hairstyle to show that you care without looking too put together. Though it requires some styling, the brush up is still a relaxed style, perfect for looking a little more bohemian. To achieve this look, style the hair upward like you’re putting it into a pompadour, but tousle it just a bit.
10. High and Tight
A classic military cut, the high and tight is a cut with tapered sides and back and longer, gelled hair on the top of the head. Usually featuring a hard part on the side, this look is a perfect way to communicate that you’ve got it together.
11. Mid-Fade with Long Top
There are many different types of fades, with the hair beginning to get shorter at various parts of the head. As a mid-fade may imply, the fade begins in the middle of the head. Keeping the sides short and everything above the fade longer gives you the opportunity to add some personality to your cut.
12. Skin Fade
Typically, a fade won’t leave any bare skin. But with the skin fade, the point is to go all the way down to the skin. The skin fade functions similarly to a normal fade, but the hair gets much shorter than normal. This adds a unique spin to a popular short hairstyle for men, making something that is more personal to you.
13. Pompadour with Taper
Photo source: Melissa Gonzalez, a men’s haircut Pro in Salt Lake City, UT
A classic pompadour is longer on the top than the sides and back, but is usually a consistent length throughout the shorter areas. Adding a taper to the pompadour is a way to make it a little more interesting — the shorter sides will fade down the head, getting gradually shorter as they go.
14. High Fade
Of the many fade variations, a high fade is perhaps the most bold. Starting high on the top of the head before gradually getting shorter, the high fade usually begins right beside the temples. You can customize this short hairstyle by changing up how long you leave the hair on top of the fade.
15. Short Curly Hair Taper
Men who have curly or thick hair can still sport the trendy look of a tapered haircut. In fact, the natural hair on top of the head will add dimension to the look. And since it’s so short, the style is still low-maintenance while being fashionable.
Photo source: Miguel Hernandez, a men’s haircut Pro in Atlanta, GA
No, a layered haircut isn’t only for women. Men can take advantage of this fashionable look by asking to have layers cut into the hair, adding a multidimensional look that is rugged and bohemian. A textured cut will be longer on the head, with different lengths adding intrigue and style.
17. Faux Hawk
More than just an edgy style for rockers or skateboarders, a faux hawk is actually a trendy short hairstyle for men. Still featuring the iconic “wave” going down the middle of the head, the faux hawk is just a slightly less extreme version of a mohawk. Typically a faux hawk is short, styled, and maintained while still showing your fun side.
18. Angular Fringe
The main aspect of an angular fringe is defined bangs that swoop to one side and frame the face. The angular fringe is a bit of a shaggy short hairstyle, but it is still fashionable in a rugged way. The sides of this cut can be left uniform length, or cut into a taper that goes down the side of the head.
19. Side Swept
Nothing says “cool and laid back” like a side-swept look. Side-swept hair is usually longer on the top than on the sides, and when styled it’s pushed up and away from the face to the side, creating a relaxed look. It isn’t hard to style but still looks manicured and fashionable.
20. Slicked-Back Undercut
The slicked-back undercut merges two popular styles: the undercut and slicked-back hair. This is another variation of style that is short on the sides and long up top, only the hair on top is long enough that the buzzed part below is an undercut. The top hair is then slicked back with a comb and gel.
21. French Crop
The French crop is a complimentary haircut for men that will look stylish on various face shapes. It’s similar to a Caesar cut, as the main focus is hair that sits on the forehead in a bang or fringe. The cut is both bold and flattering, making it a classic short hairstyle that many men opt for at the barber. Men with thinning hair will look especially great with this haircut.
22. Brush Up
Your hair can communicate a bit of personality, and a brush up look showcases plenty of it. In a brush up, the sides are kept short but the entire top of the head is brushed upward to create a tousled, rugged look. If you want a look that is stylish yet playful, a brush up is a great option.
23. Faux Hawk with Low Taper
Adding a low taper to your faux hawk can give you the classic look of a faux hawk without being so dramatic. A low taper will ease into the faux hawk so it still has that classic line without so much short hair on the sides. This style is great for anyone who wants something edgy yet playful.
24. Crew Cut with Fringe
A crew cut is similar to any other tapered short haircut, but the difference is in the length of the hair up top. The hair on the top of the head is short in this type of cut, getting even shorter as it fades down the sides of the head. Adding fringe to this cut means leaving a section long and tousled at the front, which can make the style look more interesting.
25. Short Mohawk Fade
Sporting a mohawk is always a bold move. But for those who don’t want to keep up with a mohawk that stretches high into the air, a short one is always an option that communicates that same unique personality and intrigue. To make the short mohawk look distinct, pair it with a fade so the hair on the side of the head is shorter.
26. Short Pompadour
While a classic pompadour may be more flashy than you’re interested in, a short version can give you the same retro look without so much flair. A short pompadour functions the same as its longer counterpart — the hair is brushed up from the forehead and sits up high.
27. Flat Top
A flat top is another classic look with a distinct twist. To create the flat top look, the hair is styled upward and cut so it creates a boxy shape on the top. The hair on the sides is then cut into a taper or fade, emphasizing the square on the top of the head.
28. Undercut with Hard Part
People who shave their hair into an undercut are going for a bold look. Adding a hard part is another way to achieve that uniqueness, as it creates another defining characteristic to accent the style. The hard part will run between the section of hair that makes up the undercut and the section left longer, creating extra definition.
29. Short Spiky with Fade
A short spiky gives what it promises: The style is defined by a short cut with several longer pieces spiked up to add an interesting element. Pairing this look with a fade results in a clean hairstyle that is professional and simple.
30. Short Quiff
A quiff is defined by an overall short haircut with a longer section at the front, and the hair in the middle of the head being combed upward. To make the look a little less dramatic, some opt for a shorter version of the traditional quiff, leaving less hair long up top so it becomes a simpler look when combed upward.
31. Shape Up with High Fade
A shape up is a short haircut that involves cutting along the natural hairline to make a straight line. The style has a long history, and is predominantly worn by men with Afro-textured hair. It has also become a favorite among celebrities, from actors to athletes and rappers. The iconic shape up hairline can be paired with a high fade to give it a clean and stylish look.
32. Induction Cut
So named because it’s commonly the first haircut given to armed forces recruits, the induction cut is a short haircut that is still a bit longer than a classic buzzcut. That’s because you can achieve this haircut with a pair of scissors, not a razor! This look is a good option for anyone who wants a short haircut without going for the buzz.
33. Curly Undercut
Curly hair can still look great with an undercut. In fact, curly hair is a much-lauded texture that many people are envious of, so cutting it would be a waste! Hair is left curly on top of the head and shaved underneath underneath — the undercut emphasizes the hair’s natural curls, making them pop even more.
34. Fade with Design
When shaving hair down into a fade, you can use the opportunity to showcase some personality by adding a design into the buzzed sections. Some options include adding a line that defines the hair’s part, shapes, and even letters! Just make sure to talk with a Pro beforehand to decide what is feasible.
35. Locs Undercut
A locs undercut is a great option for men with Afro-textured hair who want to style their hair with locs but not cover the entire head. Similar to other styles that are longer on top and shorter on the sides, the locs will only be styled onto the top of the head. The rest of the head will be buzzed and kept short on the side and back.
36. Top Knot Undercut
Though a top knot — similar to a “man bun” — is usually only seen on those with longer hair, it can still be a short hairstyle for men when you add an undercut. Similar to a pompadour, quiff, or any other style that is long on top and short on the sides, the top knot with undercut will have longer hair tied into a knot on top of the head while the sides are buzzed.
There are many different hairstyles to choose from — some styles are even variations on the same cut, in which only an added word or two can make a world of difference! At the end of the day, picking the right short hairstyle is all about having the confidence to pull it off. Talk to a Pro to help decide which cuts are best for your hair texture and style preferences.