The Ultimate Guide to Men's Short Haircuts and Styles

Henry Golding with a classic short haircut and black blazer

Getty Images/Byrdie

A short haircut is a classic choice that can suit nearly all face shapes and personal styles. It can be great for those who want a lower-maintenance style (depending on the style you choose), and it has a range of options to suit your mood or a given environment. Short haircuts are still a mainstay in traditional office settings, but if you’re on the more creative and expressive side, fear not: You'll also find styles that can add just the right amount of flair to reflect your personality. You can pick your ideal hair length, fade, texture, layers, and color, to name a few ways to make your haircut fit your style. Whatever look you go for, a short haircut by the right stylist can take you far.

With so many versions of short haircuts to choose from, how do you pick the best one to meet your personal style, hair type, and face shape? Independent LA-based stylist Heesoo Kwon tells us that short haircuts can work for any texture. For most men, he recommends a “high and tight” look, which he says originated in the military. If you choose this haircut, “tell your barber to go very short on the sides with the clippers and all the way up to the point at which your head starts to curve.”

Kwon does caution that the "high and tight" look may not work for certain head shapes. “A good way to decide if you can pull off the haircut is fresh out the shower when your existing hair is wet,” he says. “Do you like the shape of your head? Because you are about to show it off.” At the barber shop, ask the barber to use shears on the top, rather than the buzzer. “Clippers cut your hair using your skull as the guide,” Kwon explains. “The closer you cut, the more head you are showing, so with shears you are allowing the barber to be more forgiving and artistic by creating a head shape instead of just following your skull shape.”

New York-based celebrity hairstylist Dana Boyer tells us that she favors the Caesar or Roman haircut for most men. The cut originates from ancient Rome, where reportedly, Caesar had his hair cut with shorter sides and straight bangs to mask his receding hairline. “I think it’s a great cut for all hair textures and offers a wide variety of opportunities for customization,” she says. “I’m loving the longer curlier textures on top, and it’s also great for finer textures. For men with finer hair, I prefer it a bit shorter with a messy texture.” But while the style works on most face shapes, Boyer notes one case that may warrant extra consideration: “I avoid it on a very square face, as it’s a bit too square across the top of the forehead.”

Read on to see some of the best men's short haircuts, complete with insights from our experts.

Meet the Expert

  • Dana Boyer is a celebrity hairdresser and groomer based in New York represented by the Wall Group. Her clients include Andrew Garfield, Aziz Ansari, Jordan Alexander, and Finn Wittrock. 
  • Heesoo Kwon is a celebrity makeup artist, groomer, and licensed barber living and working in Los Angeles. His clients include Jason Statham, Steven Yeun, Ronda Rousey, and Lee Daniels.
  • Adam Maclay is a New York City-based hairstylist and fashion and beauty advisor. He works with high-profile figures including Rob Gronkowski, Nick Lachey, Ashley Graham, and Christie Brinkley, in addition to brands like L'Oréal, Jack Black, and Pantene.
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Roman Haircut

Men's Short Haircuts Roman Caesar Justin Timberlake

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This classic haircut has roots in Roman history. To keep the style sharp, Boyer advises trimming it every one to three weeks, depending on the speed of your hair growth. “It’s popular because it’s quite easy to do it yourself,” she says. Boyer recommends Bumble and Bumble Styling Creme to hold and tame the front of your cut.

02 of 08

Classic Hollywood

Men's Short Haircuts Classic Hollywood Henry Golding

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According to Kwon, Henry Goulding sports a classic Hollywood haircut consisting of tapered sides with a thick swath of combed-back hair, which starts at the part on his left side. This look is dapper, always in style, and works for those who aren’t keen on showing scalp in a fade. Kwon recommends Malin+Goetz Sage Cream for a softer hold on longer hair.

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Butch Buzzcut

Men's Short Haircuts Butch Buzzcut Angus Cloud

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Kwon tells us that Angus Cloud's hairstyle is a traditional buzzcut with a #2 clipper guard used all around. A buzzcut has military origins and connotes a certain essence of classic masculinity, especially when paired with a beard or scruff.

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Bald Fade

Men's Short Haircuts Bald Fade Michael B. Jordan

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Michael B. Jordan’s haircut is a mid-length bald fade, according to Kwon. This means the cut on the side is down to the skin at the bottom and becomes more shadowy and denser as you work your way up to the top.

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Taper Cut

Men's Short Haircuts Taper Pete Davidson

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Pete Davidson has a taper cut with longer length on top. According to Kwon, the stylist used a #4 guard attachment on the sides and shears on the top.

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New Classic Crew

Men's Short Haircuts New Classic Crew Adam Levine

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Through the decades, as beauty ideals have shifted, this cut featuring shorter sides and a longer top has become the newest classic men's hairstyle. You can dress it up or dress it down with minimal effort, Maclay says.

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Modern Caesar

Men's Short Haircuts Modern Caesar Maluma

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Ideal for textured hair types, this tight fade on the sides with a textured top is a modern take on the Caesar cut. According to Maclay, this exaggerated silhouette is a way to make a statement “while keeping it chill.” He recommends using a pomade or lightweight gel to get the necessary hold while embracing your texture.

08 of 08

Texturized Fade

Men's Short Haircuts Fade Texturized Top David Alvarez

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Maclay tells us that this cut “is beyond versatile for shape and texture.” The length on the top and sides can be shorter or a bit longer for style variation. Maclay recommends using a matte wax or texture spray to enable you to “create all kinds of textures. It’s great for most hair types.”

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