22 Men's Haircuts With Short Sides and a Long Top

Chris Hemsworth

Steve Granitz / Contributor / Getty Images

The easiest hairstyle to maintain for most men? Cuts that are long on top and have a short back and sides. Not only are these styles versatile—working well for both formal occasions and casual outings—they are timeless and sophisticated. And while some of them are incredibly low-maintenance, others aren't necessarily for the faint of heart. "The shorter the haircut, the more maintenance it will require," notes Wayne Wildrick, regional barber manager at Fellow Barber in Los Angeles.

Meet the Expert

• Wayne Wildrick is a stylist and the regional barber manager at the Los Angeles location of Fellow Barber, a burgeoning chain of elevated barbershops.

• Giovanni Vaccaro is the artistic director for hair at Glamsquad, an in-home hair, makeup, nail service based in New York.

Below, we've rounded up 22 of our favorite men's haircuts with short sides and a long top, along with tips from stylists Wildrick and Giovanni Vaccaro—a stylist with on-demand hair and makeup service Glamsquad—on how best to maintain the looks.

01 of 22

Short, Lean Sides

Chris Hemsworth

Steve Granitz / Contributor / Getty Images

For this style, as seen on Chris Hemsworth, the hair is cut aggressively short on the sides and back and left long on top. The top and front are cut with a razor to create movement, texture, and separation.

02 of 22

Modern Flattop

Khalid

Steve Granitz / Contributor / Getty Images

Singer Khalid's modern take on an old-school flattop eschews a straight line across the top in favor of more texture. The result (balanced with a slightly grown-out beard) is a far cry from the look of the 1990s. Be sure to invest in a hydrating conditioner to ensure the hair on top stays moisturized.

03 of 22

Undercut With Fade

Zayn Malik with an undercut

 

Steve Granitz / Contributor / Getty Images

Arguably the most high-maintenance look on the list, the undercut requires much longer hair on top, with hair shorn down (in some cases, faded) on the sides. Just how short you go on the sides is best determined by natural bone structure. "Some clients may have bone protrusions on the sides and the back of the head," says Wildrick. "Generally, we don't expose them, so this is where your barber would decide where the fade placement should be to compensate for those irregularities that we all have as humans."

A mousse can be used to style hair even further up on top, but you'll want to visit the barber every two weeks for a trim.

04 of 22

Swept-Back

Bradley Cooper

Steven Ferdman / Stringer / Getty Images

Bradley Cooper's elegant, swept-back style is one of the most-requested among Vaccaro's clients. "This style is probably the most popular, and my clients always bring in a photo of Bradley Cooper for this one," he says. "It looks good on most men and most textures." To replicate the look, Vaccaro recommends "keeping the sides wispy but not super tight." In other words, "no barber fades here."

05 of 22

Spiked Top

Liam Hemsworth

Steve Granitz / Contributor / Getty Images

This is a good example of how the long on top/short on the sides type cut can be worn for versatility. In this shot, the model's hair is styled in a loose, spiky style on top. The hair can also be combed neatly with a bit of pomade — try American Crew Pomade ($12) — for a more formal effect.

06 of 22

High and Tight

Will Smith

Jamie McCarthy / Staff / Getty Images

 

Shaved sides with just a bit of length on top equates to a low-maintenance and still plenty of sophisticated style. Will Smith's version is accompanied by a well-groomed beard and mustache, to balance the look from the top of the head to the chin.

07 of 22

Wavy Pompadour

Radamel Falcao

 

Stephane Cardinale - Corbis / Contributor / Getty Images

For this shot, soccer star Radamel Falcao's hair is styled up and back to create a pompadour effect. The hair on top is worn a bit loose with separation for a more casual look.

08 of 22

Disconnected Sides

Justin Timberlake

Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

For this style, the hair is clipped aggressively short on the sides and back and left long and thick on top. There is minimal blending on the sides to create a bit of a disconnection. The hair may be styled back for a sleek, formal look. As with any style, keep in mind that some looks are better on specific face shapes (this one, for instance, looks best on a narrower face).

09 of 22

Short Sides With Twists

Gabriel Barbosa

Wagner Meier / Stringer / Getty Images

Soccer star Gabriel Barbosa's hair is kept short on the sides—but his long, blonde locs offer plenty of interest. The key here is to keep hair on the sides shaved down, so the look mimics a mohawk.

10 of 22

Touchable Style

Timothee Chalamet

Pascal Le Segretain / Staff / Getty Images

A very light application of products leads to a natural effect. Here, product (and, likely, a blow-dryer) is used to provide a bit of control and separation but still maintain a casual look. The end goal is for hair to look like you could run your hands through it, so stay away from a product that's overly drying. Try John Frieda Luxurious Volume Fine to Full Blow-Out Spray ($12) for a look similar to a salon-quality blowout.

11 of 22

Texturized Top

Jamie Dornan

Dave J Hogan / Contributor / Getty Images

This is a versatile style, which can be worn messy with a bit of styling paste — we like Suave Medium Hold Styling Paste ($3), or combed neatly and parted, for a more formal look.

12 of 22

Short and Rounded

Kevin Hart

Gregg DeGuire / Stringer / Getty Images

 

Comedian Kevin Hart's short cut is rounded, allowing it to show off his hairline. A slight fade on the sides lends trendiness and a longer goatee adds extra style.

13 of 22

Casual Separation

Zac Efron at the Australian Premiere of Baywatch

Brendon Thorne/Stringer/Getty Images

For this long on top style, the model's hair is razor-cut on top and in the front to add movement, texture, and separation. A bit of styling paste enhances the style.

14 of 22

Shattered Bangs

Ashton Kutcher

C Flanigan / Contributor / Getty Images

For this style, the hair is cut short on the sides and back while a razor is used in front to give the bangs a deconstructed look.

15 of 22

Afro Fade

Usher

Steve Granitz / Contributor / Getty Images

Usher's style combines an afro fade and a mohawk with hair kept extremely cropped on the sides, and higher through the middle. To replicate this look, you'll want to get a trim every four to six weeks, and invest in plenty of hydrating hair products, to keep the longer hairs moisturized. And if you're wondering if a look like this would work for you, do your research. "If you are considering a fade, look up inspiration photos of people who have hair similar to your type and color," says Wildrick. "In my experience, I have generally found that clients with dark and thicker hair can get away with low to high fades whereas clients with light and less dense hair look more suitable with a low fade."

A low fade allows for more gradience, which you can’t get with a mid or high fade. 

16 of 22

Sleek Bangs

Cilian Murphy

Mike Coppola / Staff / Getty Images

 

For this style, actor Cilian Murphy's hair is cut close on the sides and back and worn parted neatly in the center. Pomade adds shine and control.

17 of 22

Disconnected Bangs

Lucas Till

Stephane Cardinale - Corbis / Contributor / Getty Images

Actor and model Lucas Till is often seen wearing his hair short on the sides and back, with exaggerated length on top. For this style, the front is disconnected from the sides, and the hair is worn brushed forward and to the side.

18 of 22

Wavy Top

Kit Harington

Vera Anderson / Contributor / Getty Images

For this style, actor Kit Harington's natural wave is combed back but for a more natural look, the hair can be allowed to fall on its own, without the use of products.

19 of 22

Slicked-Back With Side Part

Joe Alwyn

Frazer Harrison / Staff / Getty Images

Here, hairstylist Frank Lezari styles a model for an Elie Tahari fashion show during New York Fashion Week. The style is short on the sides, longer up top, parted, and slicked back with a paste. Try Fatboy's Perfect Putty ($21) for a similar style.

20 of 22

Line Up

Michael B. Jordan

Steve Granitz / Contributor / Getty Images

Actor Michael B. Jordan combines a lineup—where the natural hairline is straightened in the shape of a line—with a mid-fade. This style of fade lands below the temples and just above the ear. As Wildrick explains, how short you go with a fade depends on how often you plan to maintain it. "Suitability is always the word," he says. "The best way to maintain a fade (or any look) is to find one conducive to your lifestyle. If you go in for a skin fade, it will show signs of growing out within a week. If you are trying to maintain that look, you will need to be back in the shop every one to two weeks."

21 of 22

High Fade With Buzzed Sides

Steph Curry

Steve Jennings / Contributor / Getty Images

As seen on professional basketball player Steph Curry, a buzz cut keeps hair tight up top, and a high fade raises the hairline. The resulting look is masculine with a bit of an edge.

22 of 22

Full Top

Henry Golding

Jeff Spicer / Contributor / Getty Images

 

Actor Henry Golding's thick hair is cut in long layers, which just touch the top of his ears. The style can be worn loose or styled neatly with products for a more formal look. For volume—without stiff hold—use a product like R+Co. Balloon Dry Volume Spray ($32).

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