There are a lot of reasons you might want a haircut that takes little-to-no maintenance. All these styles need is a quick run-through with the fingers or five minutes with a curl sponge if you have coily-textured hair. Cropped cuts can work for many different face shapes.
But the best route to easy, low-maintenance hair? A simple cut with soft edges. "Long or short, haircuts with softer edges and more basic shapes are going to last you longer and take less maintenance," says stylist Benjamin Mohapi, of Benjamin Salon.
Meet the Expert
Here are 24 examples of cropped cuts for any gender, along with tips for styling them, from Mohapi and fellow stylist Alisha Leela, of Bob + Paige Salon in Toronto.
Tapered Cut With a '90s Flair
Lupita Nyong'o can rock any style without hesitation. Her cropped look can work on a variety of hair textures and will require a bi-weekly shape-up to keep the look crisp. If you have natural hair, you're in luck. You may not be able to say goodbye to washday entirely, since keeping coily hair washed and conditioned to maintain moisture is a must. But, our guess is, you'll be able to cut your dedicated styling day in half.
Short Textured Style
This particular style is a great option for someone looking for style with almost no work. The hair is cropped short all over the head but a bit of extra length is left on top. Just apply a dab of pomade and simply run it side to side over the top of the head, to add texture and separation—15 seconds and you're done.
Casual Tousled Style
Cole Sprouse has leagues of adoring fans for a reason. He's always stylish, but in that effortless way we all strive to pull off. For a guy with hair like Cole's, a dab of finishing cream and a quick run of your hands through your hair is all you need. And if you want real volume without all the hassle of using product, tell your stylist to use a razor. "Softening the edges on your cut either by point-cutting or using a razor to break up the cut line can also promote volume and texture," says Mohapi.
"For short, low-maintenance hairstyles for women and men, buzz cuts are definitely in," says Leela. "The only thing that makes them higher maintenance is that the back hairline tends to grow out quickly." That means more time in the salon chair, with Leela recommending those with buzz cuts visit their salon "every four weeks to get a cleanup on the neck." To style a buzz like actor Michael B. Jordan, simply blow-dry hair and add some paste to tame any frizz.
Cut with a number three blade all over the head, this classic crewcut is super easy. A bit of pomade adds shine but isn't necessary for the look. This is a great style for people like Asia Kate Dillon who want almost no maintenance or for those who don't leave home without a hat in tow.
When you're looking for a low-maintenance style, short is almost always the best way to go. For this simple Caesar style, the hair is cut using a two-fingers length on top. Just a bit of pomade adds shine and separation. For those who need to wear a hat or knit cap, this style works well as the short sides minimize the "hat head" while the top stays flat.
Great Texture and a Little Wave
For someone with a little natural texture to their hair, this is a perfect style. "These cuts always look good a bit tousled, so there’s no need to make too much effort," says Mohapi. "A bit of texture spray and a smidge of moisturizing cream will always look sexy." Simply throw a little styling cream into damp hair and run your fingers through it until you achieve the desired effect. No comb required.
Justin Timberlake wears a classic tapered haircut well. The hair is clipped short on the sides and back and tapered to zero on the neckline. The hair is left about 2.5 inches long on top and can be worn casually swept back with the fingers (as he's wearing it in the photo above) or neatly parted and combed for a formal look.
Leela says the old-school undercut is the ultimate in low-maintenance hair because it grows out so well. "The reason the undercut is so great is that, by the time your hairline on the neck needs to be cut, the hair on the top of your head has already grown," she says. In other words, the short 'do seen here on Scarlett Johansson can grow into a trendy bob—no haircut required.
"This is great for men, too—the mushroom undercut (think Nick Carter in the 1990s with the middle part) has definitely come back and again, it’s so easy to maintain and looks great growing out," says Leela.
Crewcut With Fade
One way to add a little extra oomph to a classic crewcut? Ask your barber or hairstylist to fade the sides á la Idris Elba. Though the crewcut itself can likely go without product, a little pomade will work wonders to smooth the sides.
Short and Spiked
There's a reason this is a style so often spotted by active types—it's a low-maintenance way to keep hair out of your face during the day. Here, hair is cut relatively short all over the head, with a bit of hair near the front of the head kept long. Style the pomp with hair gel like Pete & Pedro Hair Putty ($19).
Actress Jodie Turner-Smith's short fro is stylish and simply to maintain. The trick here is to ensure hair remains moisturized at all times.
Alia Shawkat's natural curls take center stage in this longer variation on a pixie. Here, accessories (like a headband or barrettes) can make a big impact. Try a product like Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Leave-In Defining Cream ($20) to add further definition to curls.
Taye Diggs proves that a clean-shaven, bald head can still be sophisticated. The key here is to ensure hair stays as close to the head as possible and show your scalp some love via sunscreen applied every day.
If attempting an at-home shave, start slowly, using a one-inch guard on your razor and taking hair off a little at a time.
This classic cut—seen here on actor Jake Gyllenhaal—all comes down to product. Ask your stylist to use a number seven or number eight blade to allow for a bit more length on top than a standard buzz cut. To style, comb it back with product or just use a bit of paste and your fingers to roughen the hair up a bit.