So when you dress your best, make eye contact, and post up in a “confident and comfortable” stance, as author Dorie Clark of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future puts it, you’ll do major wonders for your game.
Until you have a bad hair day.
Your hair can either make your look and boost your confidence or completely destroy both of them simultaneously.
Having a bad hair day (or a bad hair life) is like walking around with a piece of broccoli stuck in your teeth all the time; it’s the only thing everyone will notice and remember about you.
But when your hair has as much swagger as your outfit, the world is your proverbial oyster.
You feel unstoppable.
Your confidence radiates like a giant supernova.
And you attract whatever and whoever you want.
Not to be a buzzkill, but if you’re still rocking that same ol’ I just rolled out of bed look you perfected in high school, you probably never feel this awesome.
Give off the I don’t care what I look like vibe and people won’t give you a second glance. Harsh truth, but straight reality.
Your fancy watch, shiny shoes, and sweet tie won’t matter if everyone’s too busy staring at your boring or unruly hair situation.
So how do you fix this?
Like most guys, you’ve probably been sweating the details instead of taking the time to learn how to work with your hair.
And that’s when the crippling uncertainty sets in:
I want to try a new haircut, but it may not look as good as what I always get.
I don’t know which products work well with my hair.
Should I even use product?
There are too many hairstyles and hair care products to choose from and I don’t have time to figure this all out on my own.
Relax, amigo — we’ve got you covered.
Today’s guide will answer all of your hair-related questions and put you on the path to becoming a Jedi hair master.
So let’s begin with the basics: Do you even know what type of hair you have? (hint: it’s not all the same, dude).
STEP 1: FIGURE OUT YOUR HAIR TYPE
You may be buying shampoo or hair care products for “normal” hair, but you should know that “normal” is not the same for everyone.
It can be especially tricky (and majorly frustrating) hunting for the right products for your hair type. You wind up spending a ton of money on products that never work like they promise.
For example, hair on the fine or thin side does not stand up well to heavy products; these will only exacerbate an already unwanted situation and make your hair look greasy.
On the flip side, when you have thick hair, extra conditioning is not an option — it’s a must-have.
Thicker hair also requires products that deliver a stronger hold whereas fine hair needs just the opposite.
See why it’s so crucial to understand the complexities of your hair?
So stop wasting your time and hard-earned cash (and torturing your tresses).
We can figure out your hair type RN.
FIRST, DO YOU HAVE FINE OR THICK HAIR?
Just answer these three easy questions to find out:
1. How long does it take your hair to dry? (The longer it takes, the thicker your hair is.)
2. Can you see your scalp when your hair is dry? (If your scalp is visible between your hair strands, your hair is on the thinner side.)
3. How is your hair the day after you wash it? (Fine hair tends to get more oily and sticks together the next day; thick hair tends to be more on the dry side.)
Once you have a better idea of the thickness of your hair, you’re ready to classify it one step further.
For most guys, your hair will fall under one of these four categories:
Keep in mind that you can have thin or thick hair within each of these categories. For instance, you may have thin, straight hair or thick, curly hair.
The idea throughout this guide is to work with your hair, not against it.
By identifying your specific hair type and thickness — and matching you with the right product type for your hair — you’ll never have to combat a bad hair day ever again.
So let’s discover more about your specific hair type.
Straight hair is by far the easiest to spot.
It’s as straight as an arrow and never has a curve or kink to it.
Since this one is as straightforward as it gets, we’ll move right on to the next type.
Don’t confuse wavy hair with curly hair; though wavy hair isn’t straight, it’s definitely not coiled.
The key difference with wavy hair is that, as it grows, it tends to produce little wave shapes as opposed to spiraling down into a full blown curl.
Think of wavy hair as loose ocean ripples rather than the tightly-wound shapes found in kinky or curly hair and you won’t ever mix them up.
You’ll also find more inconsistencies in wavy hair whereas coiled/curly strands are more defined as we’ll discuss next.
The terms coiled and curly are pretty interchangeable in the hair world; coiled hair is basically made up of tightly wound curls.
Unlike wavy or kinky hair, curls form a continuous spiral down your head.
You’ll notice more definition and consistency in the shape of your curls when you have coiled hair.
Kinky hair takes coils to the next level by making their shape even more tightly wound.
The biggest difference between kinky and curly hair is that curls grow down as soon as they have enough length to take shape, but kinky hair grows in a “z” pattern and tends to grow out before growing down.
Because of this, you’ll notice that kinky curls start to take shape at much shorter lengths than their coiled or wavy brothers.
After you figure out which type of hair you were born with, you’re ready for our next step: finding the look that’s right for your style.
STEP 2: DECIDE ON THE LOOK YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE WITH YOUR HAIR
When you’re living in the era of #goodhairday selfies and Instagram celebrities, you may feel the pressure to totally transform your look to rack up likes and comments.
But you don’t need to go to the extreme to make a huge difference in your appearance.
Guys have way more fresh hairstyles to choose from these days so you can combine your desire to get creative with your need to play by your corporate dress code.
To help you choose the perfect look and find a bit of style inspiration, here are 13 men’s hairstyles we can’t get enough of:
1. HIGH FADE WITH LOOSE POMPADOUR
The high fade with loose pompadour takes the modern gentleman’s haircutup a notch — it’s bold yet still keeps your look classy.
Your barber will cut the sides short and fade upwards. The hair on top of your head should be long enough to slick back or style into a pompadour (think about 4” long).
It’s perfect for guys rocking medium length straight hair and for those who aren’t afraid of adding a bit of height.
2. LONG MESSY HAIR WITH LOW FADE
Guys with wavy hair may find styling a high fade loose pompadour too difficult. If your hairstyle isn’t easy enough to tackle every day, you’ll be back at (lazy) square one.
So if you’re craving a similar look, opt for long messy hair with a low fade.
The added length gives your waves room to breathe while the low fade makes everything look neat and put together.
While these first two looks may push the dress code envelope at your job, these next five are sure to keep your HR lady at bay.
3. SHORT HAIR WITH CROPPED FRINGE
Is a buzz cut your standard go-to request at the barbershop?
Stick a toe out of your comfort zone with this look, which leaves just a bit of length on top and stays super short on the sides, to add that layer of swag you’ve been missing.
Bonus: your routine will be just as easy to manage as before, only you’ll look infinitely better.
Straight hair in a short to medium length works optimally with this one.
4. SHORT SIDES WITH MEDIUM LENGTH HAIR ON TOP
This hairstyle is perfect for guys who aren’t in love with fades, but still want shorter sides and longer hair on top to style and mess around with.
Dudes with straight strands will have a bit more height with this look while those with wavy locks will have added dimension and movement.
This style is corporate-approved and adds personality to your look without being too distracting.
5. SLICKED BACK HAIR
Dying to grow your hair out, but still need to keep your 9–5?
The slicked back look is calling your name.
The short length on the sides complies with your corporate hair guidelines while the length on top gives you extra wiggle room to get wild.
Slick it back during the day and you’ll have a professional look with just the right touch of I got this. Let it out at night and bring out your party side.
This hairstyle works well for most guys with straight or wavy hair.
6. TALL THICK HAIR ON TOP
For guys with thicker hair, low to mid fades mean one thing: constant upkeep.
If you don’t have time to schedule multiple cuts every month, you can’t go wrong with this style. The extra length on the sides and top means you’ll skate by longer between trims.
Plus, this look is classic yet modern and gives off a professional and playful vibe at the same time. It may be magic.
Both straight and wavy hair types make this style look good.
7. SIDE QUIFF
If you don’t mind a little maintenance, the side quiff is the ultimate hairstyle to roll with if you’re on that corporate grind.
With a low taper on the side and a neat, combed back and top, this hairstyle rounds out any style and gives you a subtle confidence boost without looking like you’re trying too hard.
You’ll have a fresh, clean look that only takes a few minutes to get right. Straight hair types and those with just a hint of wavy hair will shine with this cut.
Now if you’re ready to ditch the corporate norms or try something completely different, the next four styles should be on your radar.
8. MODERN FAUX HAWK
Unlike your outdated punk rock mohawk from that time you were in a band, the faux hawk is a modern version that says you’re cool enough to date and adult enough to hold down a steady job in the real world. This bold hairstyle was designed to be a head-turner so buyer beware: you don one of these and you will get noticed.
After all, it’s hard to ignore that sophisticated clean taper on the sides and that subtle nod to defiance on top sure to intrigue everyone you meet.
Wavy and straight haired dudes will find this style a walk in the park, but it may be too much of a challenge for curly haired fellows to get right.
9. MID FADE WITH SIDE PART AND LONG FRINGE
If the modern faux hawk is too much look for you even though you like the idea of having some length on top, try this mid fade with side part and have the best of both worlds.
Instead of your longer hair growing back in a straight line like it would with a faux hawk, this cut will make it fall to just one side.
You’ll have the tactile fun of long hair without the annoyances that come with having to deal with too much of it.
In our books, more movement and length to play around with is an added bonus for both you and your partner.
The mid fade works best on straight hair, but can totally work with wavy hair types too.
10. CLASSIC MESSY LONG HAIR
As long as you don’t associate messy hair with bed head, you’ll be in good shape.
When styled properly, this classic look gives off a polished everyday look with an added touch of casual coolness.
It’s ideal for guys with wavy hair since the longer length lends itself nicely to creating the perfect wave.
11. LAYERED LONG HAIR
What do you do if you like having long hair, but you can’t stand having hair on the back of your neck?
You try a layered long hair look.
By layering the top half of your hair, you’ll enjoy the extra length of a longer cut without all the added heat and weight.
Plus, keeping the sides on the slightly longer side ensures fewer trips to your barber so you save time and money.
This haircut works best with wavy hair, but straight hair types could easily make this their own as well.
No, we didn’t forget about guys with curly hair. These next two haircuts are just for you.
12. BALD FADE WITH LONG NATURAL CURLS ON TOP
If you’ve been dealing with curly hair your whole life, you know it can quickly become an unmanageable nightmare at certain lengths.
Save your sanity and choose a haircut that makes sense with your hair type (like this one) and you’ll never want to rip your hair out in frustration again.
This cut keeps the heaviest part of the curl resting nicely on the top of your head while the faded taper removes the bulk of your curls and adds a bit of character to the sides.
Plus, because the taper is so sharp, you’ll exude a put-together yet still edgy vibe that also shortens your haircare routine. Curly hair types rejoice!
13. CURLY HAIR UNDERCUT
So you have curly hair and you’re looking for more of a statement haircut than our #12 look?
Check out the sharp contrast between the clean fade and the well-defined curls in the curly hair undercut to make your curls pop.
If you’re bold enough to rock your curls like this, you’ll be handsomely rewarded with extra attention.
Your mother will be so proud. And your partner will thank you for not chopping off those luscious locks of yours.
So now that we have an idea of which styles work well with your hair, you’re one step closer to reaching your sexy hair goals.
But before we move on, we have to ask one question…
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GOT A HAIRCUT?
If the answer is I can’t remember, get on the horn with your barber or stylist before proceeding any further.
As Amy Komorowski, a top-rated celebrity hairstylist for men mentions, guys need a trim at least once a month.
By doing this, you’ll keep your hair:
- Looking fresh
- Damage and frizz-free
- Healthy and shiny
Plus, keeping your hair clean and routinely trimmed helps it absorb products better. Instead of caking up, you’ll have hair that you and your partner can’t help but run their fingers through.
And for guys with hair that’s buzzed or tapered low, you’ll need to re-shape every few weeks to keep everything looking tight and tidy.
Once you identify your hair type and thickness, choose a style that speaks to your personality, and cop a fresh trim, you’re ready to find the right products to keep your hair looking soigné at all times.
STEP 3: FIND THE PRODUCTS THAT MAKE SENSE FOR YOUR HAIR
Deciding between hair products may have once seemed like a daunting task, but that was before you knew anything about your hair type.
Now that you understand your hair and you have a clear hairstyle picked out, all you need to do is read our tips for how to achieve and maintain your look.
We’ve matched every hair type and hairstyle need with the right products to guarantee success. It’s ok, you can copy the notes from our cheatsheet; we won’t tell anyone.
For Smoothness, Definition, and Head Turning Hair
Corresponding hairstyles: #3–7; #9
Corporate looks and smooth styles look best with the help of a medium-hold pomade.
Look for a lightweight formula that keeps your hair soft while also maintaining that classic definition you’re looking for.
As an added bonus, if you can find one that gives you a high gloss (read: not greasy) shine, you’ll have a sharp, elevated look that naturally catches people’s attention.
For the Ultimate Control in Creating Texture, Bed Head, or Polished Messy Looks
Corresponding hairstyles: #4–8; #11; #13
If a slightly messier, more casual look is what you’re going for, opt for a hair wax with a medium hold.
By choosing wax with this kind of grip, you’ll be able to sculpt and separate your strands with absolute control.
That means you’ll create the perfect textured look in the five seconds you have to get ready and run out the door.
Hair wax is a super versatile product that even works on polished looks like the Side Quiff and Side Part. It also tames the layers in your Layered Long Hair so your hair looks clean and purposeful instead of out-of-control or unruly.
Find a wax that gives you the staying power of a gel without the gross, sticky heaviness and you’ll make your hair (and your date) happy.
For Classic Combed-Through Looks
Corresponding hairstyles: #4–5; #10–13
When you want to give your hair movement, definition, and a touch of slickness, you can’t beat cream-based products with medium-hold.
Creams give you the option to apply on dry hair for a casual yet classic finger-combed look or you can use them on damp hair for just-out-of-the-shower style.
Additionally, using a high-quality cream such as this one helps:
- Condition your hair
- Protect it from harmful environmental toxins
- Control and prevent dandruff
- Give you the right amount of shine without looking too greasy
For Daring Works of Art and Pompadours
Corresponding hairstyles: #1, 2, 7, and 8
For the bold and confident who are busy creating works of art and pompadours, you need a styling product that’s going to keep your hard styling work in place.
After all, no one thinks a floppy faux hawk is sexy. Your product better have a super high hold to stand up to your look so find haircare with a wax — not cream — consistency.
You’ll also want a product that’s pliable so you can shape your ‘hawk without clumping or yanking on your hair. Pliable wax should give your strands an edgy, textured appeal while keeping it all in place. S
kip the high-gloss products for these hairstyles and go with those offering a matte finish instead.
You don’t want people to look at your shiny faux hawk and wonder if you used glue to keep it together. Choosing a matte wax will direct attention to all the right places.
For Giving Dry Hair Texture and Shine
Corresponding hairstyles: #5, 6, 8; #11–13
When you want your dull, boring hair to light up a room, create dimension and shine with a high-hold paste.
These work best on dry, straight hair to create texture and hold any hairstyle you shape.
Since you’re dealing with dry hair, you have to find a paste that won’t cake up and clump on your locks. Going with an alternative will give you crusty hair and flakey shoulders. #NoThankYou
Dry hair sometimes lacks the shine and luster of moisturized strands so it appears washed out and dull.
Pastes offering medium shine will give you just the right balance of healthy-looking hair and polished style — without making your hair look greasy.
For Breathing Life Into Next-day and Slept-on Hair
Corresponding hairstyles: #3, 5, and oily hair types
How do you make unwashed hair look as if you didn’t just wake up on the subway?
Dry shampoo will cleanse your hair when you need to skip the shower. It will also soak up some of the extra oil your hair already has from sleeping on it.
Don’t choose anything with a high-gloss finish as your hair will undoubtedly shine from being a bit greasy. Opt for an ultra matte finish and you’ll counteract nature’s unfairness.
Not only does this method add texture and volume to limp locks, it gives you a fresh style to rock next day. Round these bases and you may be able to wash your hair every other day so you can sleep in longer without sacrificing your style.
Even though all these products will make your life easier, they won’t work the way they should unless you apply them correctly.
STEP 4: HOW TO APPLY THOSE PRODUCTS RIGHT
Our natural tendency is to grab big ol’ globs of product and slather them into our hair. Please don’t do this!
This is how you get cakey hair that’s sure to flake by the time you meet your lunch date.
So read the directions on every hair care product you purchase and plan to use.
Certain products need to be activated by rubbing a small amount between your palms before touching your locks. Others work best with direct contact.
Skipping these crucial 2–3 instructional sentences may mean the difference in ruining or rocking your new haircut.
The good news is the directions are never long or complicated.
What you’re really looking for is the proper amount to use depending on your hair’s length and thickness.
If you’re using a high-quality product (why would you use anything else on your precious locks?), it’s usually more concentrated and requires less of the actual product to achieve your desired look.
Though if you have thin hair, you should use even less.
That’s why it’s so important to understand your hair type, take the 30 seconds to read the instructions, and follow them exactly. Make adjustments to suit your hair’s length and thickness level so you never waste half your product unnecessarily.
STEP 5: RINSE AND REPEAT
Once you find the right hairstyle and product to use, there’s no stopping you.
You’ll walk around with your head held high and you’ll attract all the right vibes.
And, let’s not forget, you’ll always make an unforgettable first impression.
Before you get ahead of yourself, you need to actually keep up with your monthly haircuts and apply the right high-quality hair products correctly.
When all of those pieces come together, you’ll seal the deal on your overall look.
To keep your look fresh, change up your hairstyle every few months and don’t be afraid to sport something new.
The tips in this guide will always be here to give you the know-how and confidence to tackle any — and every — hairstyle you want to experiment with.