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

Chris Hemsworth
GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2018/Chris Hemsworth/David M. Benett

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

haircut wit short sides and longer top

 Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

For this style, 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


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

Faux Hawk With Fade

Zayn Malik Short, Texturized Haircut

 Kevin Mazur | Getty Images

Arguably the most high-maintenance look on the list, the faux-hawk 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


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

men's haircut with spiked top

 Frazer Harrison/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 for a more formal effect.

american crew pomade
American Crew Pomade for Hold and Shine $12 $7
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

pompadour haircut

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images 

For this shot, the model'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

men's haircut with short sides and a long top

 Frazer Harrison/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

man's haircut with short sides and a long top

Frazer Harrison/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

man's haircut with short sides and a spiky top

 Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

This is a versatile style, which can be worn messy with a bit of styling paste (as shown) or combed neatly and parted, for a more formal look.

suave styling paste
Suave Medium Hold Styling Paste $3
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

man's haircut with short sides and a long top

 Frazer Harrison/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

man's emo haircut with short sides and long top

 Frazer Harrison/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


Claudio Lavenia / 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

man's emo haircut with short sides and long top

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images 

For this style, the model's hair is cut close on the sides and back and worn parted neatly to the side. Pomade adds shine and control.

17 of 22

Disconnected Bangs

man's shaggy haircut with short sides

Michale Buckner/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

caesar haircut

 Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

For this style, the model's natural wave is allowed to fall on its own, without the use of products. For a more formal look, the hair can also be parted and combed back.

19 of 22

Slicked-Back With Side Part

Hairstylist Frank Lezari styles the hair of a model

 Jemal Countess/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 visits at SiriusXM Studios on February 13, 2018

Rob Kim / 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

man's haircut with short sides and a long top

 Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

This model'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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