Summer. It's the time of year when we're all more active and therefore in need of a low-maintenance hairstyle that will keep us cool and be easy to maintain. The easiest way to do both, of course, is to keep the hair cut fairly short.
"A good men's cut for the summer that's low maintenance would be keeping it rather short and just maintaining the cuts," says New York hairstylist Christopher Didier. But you can still have fun with styling, of course.
We spoke to Didier, Savannah St. Jean, beauty expert and owner of Savannah Rae Beauty, and Stephen Thomas, a hairstylist at Oscar Blandi Salon, for their takes on the most stylish—yet low-maintenance—looks for men and tips on how to make them look their best.
Below, we've rounded up 20 examples of short, low-maintenance haircuts for men that will keep you cool and looking great in the warmer months.
Short Curly Haircut
If you've got some wave in your hair, like Ryan Phillippe, this is a good, short option. The hair is clipper cut on the sides and back using a number 4 blade, while the top is left about two finger widths long and cut with scissors. A bit of styling paste adds separation and texture. "It needs a minimal amount of product to style because it’s not too short or too long on the top," says Thomas. "And a huge benefit is that as it grows out, it will still look stylish, even if it gets a bit shaggy around the ears."
For the brush style, the hair is cut clipper-short, high up the sides and back. The top is blow-dried up, and the top is cut as it is with a flat top, except the sides are a bit more rounded. This is a good option for the guy with straight hair and a slightly receding hairline.
If you have naturally curly hair, the best way to show it off is to allow it to grow. Keeping it long in the center and shorter on the sides (as a mohawk) allows you to inject a bit of personality into the style. Miguel's short dreadlocks are perfectly suited for this style.
Short Layer Cut
This is a versatile option for someone who wants a shorter cut but still needs options. In this style, the hair is cut scissor short (about two inches long) all over the head. The style can be worn with a bit of styling paste to add casual texture, á la Brad Pitt. The style can also be worn forward, as a longer Caesar, or brushed to the side with a bit of pomade for a more formal look. Overall, it's a very versatile style for any time of the year.
Long and Swept Up
"Very short men’s haircuts tend to need touching up every one to two weeks," notes Thomas. "For a style that’s less maintenance, I suggest something a tad longer, like this haircut on Ryan Reynolds." With this haircut, a number 4 blade can be used on the sides and back, with the hairline kept trimmed at the nape of the neck and minimal outlining around the ears to create a natural effect. The top is cut slightly shorter at the crown and gradually gets longer towards the front. Styling paste — and a hairbrush to brush the ends upward — adds separation and texture.
Braids or twists are not only protective—they can help combat breakage—but they're stylish and effective at keeping the hair out of the face. Rapper A$AP Rocky's braids frame his face well, due to the middle part.
One surefire way to a low-maintenance cut (similar to the one seen on Harry Styles)? Growing your hair out a bit and trimming it, as needed. "One option is to have longer hair and just put a nice air dry product in it and let it do its thing," says Didier. "My favorite air-dry product would have to be Bumble and Bumble's Don't Blow It (Fine) ($31) couldn't be easier."
Number 1 Buzz Cut
For the summer, you can't really go wrong with a tight buzz cut. If you've got the face shape (e.g., a face that isn't too round) and a good head shape, you can likely pull off this style. For this cut, actor James McAvoy's hair is buzzed all over with a number 1 blade, while the sides and back are faded to the skin.
Arguably one of the most stylish short styles, a flat top (seen here on Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert) is a retro look popularized in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today, it's still as cool as ever and requires hair on the top of the head to be standing upright and cut to form a flat "deck" (the deck can be higher or shorter, depending on preference).
Long Buzz Cut
The style seen here, on Channing Tatum, is cut with a number 3 blade on the sides and back and finger-length with scissors on top. A bit of gel or styling paste is added for texture. The style can also be worn forward as a short Caesar cut.
Buzz Cut With Texture
This is a unique take on the traditional buzz cut. For this style, the hair is cut aggressively short on the back and sides (a number 1 blade was used), while the top is left a bit longer in the center. The result is that when it is worn dry, as shown, the top has just a bit more texture. Gel or styling paste can be applied to add more texture or style with a faux-hawk effect.
Short Textured Haircut
For a man with thick hair, this style is a good option. The hair is cut short on the sides and back and left a little longer on top. A bit of styling gel is applied to add texture and create a casual, spiky effect.
Tight With Spikes
Actor Marlon Wayans' hairstyle is nearly as iconic as his comedy. The key here is to wear hair high and tight but inject personality via a few spikes on the top. The simple crop best highlights a more narrow face.
Ear- or Shoulder-Length
While admittedly not as short as many of the other styles on our list, ear-to-shoulder-length hair is incredibly low maintenance—plus, it looks great, as evidenced by actor Timothée Chalamet's look here. "I am finding many are coming in asking for a quick trim up because they are just going to continue growing their hair out," says St. Jean. "Longer hair can definitely be a very low-maintenance cut, as well. There’s no rush to get to the salon and get trimmed up constantly, and once you’ve gotten past the awkward stage of the grow out, you can leave it until you’ve reached your preferred length."
Ivy League Haircut
This Ivy League haircut is a great low-maintenance summer cut. For a style similar to actor Chris Pine's, the sides and back are clipped high up the head with a number 2 blade while the top is cut with a long clipper guard and gradually gets a bit longer from the crown to the front. The style can also be worn up and to the side with a bit of gel or pomade for a more formal look.
The easiest way to maintain a hairstyle? Don't have any hair at all. Of course, even a clean-shaven cut (like the rapper Common) requires maintenance. You'll want to get regular touchups and also invest in sunscreen to ensure your scalp stays protected.
Tyson Beckford's crew cut is stylish and sexy and happens to work on a range of face shapes. This style is slightly longer up top, so use styling paste if you need to smooth it out.
Twists With Length
Actor and musician Donald Glover's hairstyle is no-fuss, yet still manages to exude sophistication and confidence. The longer twists are a bit like freeform dreads, formed by randomly twisting hair sections (from the end up, rather than from the roots).
As British athlete Louis Smith's look demonstrates, a range of hair textures and lengths can pull off the man bun, worn with all the hair pulled up, or just a portion. Though the style makes it look long, Smith's hair is actually buzzed on the sides and only a few inches long up top.
And what could be easier in terms of styling? Just throw your hair in a messy bun, and go. "This is a cut where you can wake up and go and run your hands through your hair throughout the day," says St. Jean.
How do you a fix a men's haircut if it's too short?
If you feel your hair is too short, you'll likely need to grow it out (which requires time and patience). Otherwise, if the cut is simply an awkward length, you could go shorter with a buzz or a full shave.
What's the easiest way to style a men's short haircut?
The truly easiest way, of course, is to do nothing. This works well for those with buzzed or completely shaved heads. Otherwise, a quick spritz of dry shampoo and a comb will work wonders if your hair is just a few inches long.
How do you grow out a short haircut for men?
It might sound counterintuitive, but those eager to grow their short hair would be wise to keep up with regular trips to the barber. Trims will keep hair shaped. And be patient — it takes roughly one month for hair to grow half an inch.
Cleveland Clinic. Your guide to aging, thinning hair: 5 simple tips. Updated June 30, 2020.