Whether it's with their shoes, clothing, or hair, people love looking to the past for style cues for the future. One of the latest styles to regain popularity is the flow haircut, a cousin of the mullet that used to grace the heads of hockey players in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
If your hair is on the shorter side, it may take some time to get the desired look. That's because the flow traditionally works best with medium- to longer-length hair, whether it be straight, wavy, or curly texture. It's decidedly carefree, both visually and literally. And according to experts Kim Kimble and Kristan Serafino, with the right styling tips and products, you can pull off this low-maintenance look without a hitch.
Meet the Expert
Keep scrolling for 18 celebrity flow haircuts to inspire your next trip to the salon.
Reeves has been rocking the flow cut longer than most, and the style always looks great with his hair's length. "Longer hair is typically flattering on all hair types, facial types, and hair textures," notes Serafino. And if you're interested in replicating Reeves' style, long layers paired with a beard will frame your face to a T.
Dev Patel has shed his boyish image over the years by growing out an impressive mustache as well as a full head of flowing hair. We're loving how his curls add natural texture and volume to his 'do, plus the tousled finish is effortlessly cool. To keep tendrils defined, work in a small amount of Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream ($38).
Sleek and Volumized
Milo Ventimiglia of This Is Us has been growing his hair out into a flow for the past few years, and it keeps looking better and better. "For a more stylized hairstyle, use a dab of The Best Paste.™ Matte - Firm Hold ($28) to create a matte textured finish that will keep your hair in place without feeling sticky," advises Serafino.
Javier Bardem's wavy texture lends natural movement to this overgrown 'do. He pairs the carefree attitude of the style with a few days of stubble for a maximum laid-back effect.
It takes confidence—and the right amount of dry shampoo—to keep second-, or even third-day hair, looking this good. Tousled texture also helps, adding a certain appeal to Avan Jogia's visually effortless style. "In order to achieve a successful longer hairstyle—and a more natural look—apply Color Wow One Minute Transformation ($24) to create a frizz-free look with a soft natural texture," recommends Serafino.
Steven Yuen's mane, although relatively short compared to some others on this list, is still a solid flow. And let's not overlook his perfectly-trimmed facial hair, either. It provides a nice contrast to his overgrown 'do—sideburns included.
Harington has worn his curly hair long for years while filming Game of Thrones and opts to keep the curls swept back behind his face rather than letting them roam untamed. "This curly flow cut is great because they found a way to polish the hair without making it look unruly and it's very stylish. People with curly hair texture can opt for this cut," says Kimble.
Can you imagine any other hairstyle on a character named “The Dude”? Bridges has kept up these signature long locks for years now, and the style always looks dignified while maintaining that free-spirited essence.
Hemsworth had the hair of a literal god for his role as Thor in various Marvel movies, but this slightly shorter variation will suit us mere mortals. "When wearing longer hair, what men need to consider is the density on the top of the head," Serafino tells us. "If a man is experiencing recession, contrary to what you may think, keeping your hair longer on the sides and back can be counterproductive. It will actually create an illusion of less hair on top. This is because the weight from the sides and back will make the top look thinner and less dense," she explains.
Charles Menton's wavy bro flow gets a touch of refinement à la wet-look style. Try a cream-gel product combo—we suggest American Crew Forming Cream ($10) and R+Co Motorcycle Flexible Gel ($28)—to get something similar. Flowy texture will add movement and dimension while also complementing a square-shaped face.
Pitt has famously sported longer hair early in his career, but his recent co-signing of the flow haircut will have younger men wishing they could look as good at half his age. "It's a long, layered look. This look is great because it can be dressed up or down. It gives him a polished look where he could wear this to any red-carpet event. It looks classic, yet there is an edginess to it," says Kimble.
Thick and Wavy
Timothée Chalamet’s thick, wavy hair admirably never looks too short or too long. He also has the youthful panache to pull off the “just rolled out of bed” look that makes this style so unfussy.
Benicio del Toro keeps the back and sides of his flow a bit shorter. This allows his lifted layers to really stand out. A bit of volumizing powder, such as Mister Pompadour Texture Powder ($23), and a slight comb-over are all you need to style this 'do.
Bloom helped bring the flow back among young men with his luscious locks and carefree attitude. Everything about this look—from the shoulder-grazing length to the curly texture—works to frame and complement his face.
Straight and Choppy
A flow haircut can look great on stick-straight strands. Just look at Jimmy O. Yang as proof. To bring out the best of this cut, ask your stylist to incorporate long, face-framing layers to add movement and create lift. Then spritz a little V76 by Vaughn Tonic Hair & Scalp ($18) and you're good to go.
Even setting out on his own solo career, Styles went for the long-haired rocker look, and despite having to cut it all off for a film role or two, he’s still going strong with it. "His is a really flattering cut. It's great for his hair texture because it doesn't look like a lot of maintenance to create this look since it fits his texture. He can have a lot of versatility with it," comments Kimble.
While Driver’s acting roles have gotten more and more dramatic, his hair keeps getting more and more laid-back. The actor famously likes to focus solely on the acting portion of the Hollywood lifestyle and doesn’t worry himself about physical appearance too much; this makes the flow a perfect low-maintenance cut.
If you've got natural waves or curls, a longer cut will allow you to show them off. Kunal Nayyar shows us how it's done with this tousled texture. Remember: It's not meant to be perfect. The more undone, the better.
How long does it take to grow hair out to a flow?
It depends on how long your hair is to begin with. If you're starting out with short hair, it might take up to six months to grow out to a full-on flow. Still, that doesn't mean you can't rock a shorter flow style as it grows out.
What hair types and textures can pull off a flow haircut?
A flow haircut is extremely versatile, meaning, it works on all hair types and most textures. However, those with thin or thinning hair may want to opt for a shorter style since the flow's longer length can exacerbate thinner hair density.
How should I style a flow haircut?
Traditionally, a flow cut is loosely combed back with some product, like a pomade or wax, worked in. It can look great if you have natural texture but you can also feign waves by applying a bit of sea-salt spray. Also, throwing on a hat is a foolproof, albeit stylish way to wear this 'do.