Men’s Haircuts Style Names & Descriptions
Below, are a few common short men’s haircut style names and pictures. Keep in mind that barbers and stylists in different parts of the country or world (or even across town) may interpret these styles differently, or might have popular indigenous names for them. Some style names are fairly general, and can vary quite a bit in length and style understanding (for example, there are many ways to cut an “ivy league,” and a “crew cut” can vary a bit in overall length), so until you and your barber or stylist get to know each other, be unambiguous about your length predilections, how you prefer your hair to be tapered, and so on.
This is nowhere near a complete listing of possible men’s haircuts; it just includes some of the more well-known short styles. You and your barber or stylist may come up with deviations on the basic themes of these haircuts that suit your face and particular style.
For the brush cut, the flanks and posterior are cut short and tapered, but the hair on the top of the head is usually cut to the same length (i.e., no tapering in length on the top of the head), succeeding the curve of the head. The top is worn straight up to take after the bristles of a brush.
The burr (also known as an induction cut) is fashioned by taking a clipper with a very small blade and cutting all the hair on the head to equal length (generally 1/8 inch or shorter). It is shorter than a “butch,” which is customarily about 1/4 inch or so. You can see much more scalp with a burr than you can with a butch. A burr is short enough that it feels a bit rough, like sandpaper, when you burnish the head against the grain of hair growth.
Business Man’s Cut
A business man’s cut is a common term for an old-fashioned, short (but not too short) haircut that is suitable for an office location. It frequently refers to a tapered cut on the back and sides, with enough length on the top of the head to be able to part the hair or wear it brushed back from the forehead. There are numerous possible variations on the business man’s cut.
The butch is generated by taking a clipper and cutting all the hair to the identical length on the top of the head (usually about 1/4 inch or so). It is longer than a “burr,” which is often considered to be 1/8 inch or less. A butch may or may not be tapered around the ears and near the neckline, depending on the inclination of the wearer.
In the Caesar, the hair on the top of the head is layered to around a length of 1 to 2 inches, with the front combed forward into short bangs. The back and sides are tapered. The style is named after Julius Caesar, who wore short bangs forward in an analogous way.
“Convertible” is a universal term referring to a style that can be worn in more than one way. Taper cuts or layered cuts can be styled with enough hair left on the top so they can be worn parted, without a part, forward in bangs, combed up and back, to the side, etc., depending on the length and the hair type.
A crew cut is a fairly broad term for a very short cut that is tapered on the back and sides as well as tapered on the top of the head to have a little more length toward the front hairline. The contour of the head is typically followed on the top, giving a somewhat rounded look. A crew cut can be considered a very short version of a standard taper cut, or even a very short pompadour if the hair is brushed upward in the front.
A fade is an extreme type of taper cut, where the hair on the sides and back is cut very, very close to the head and then tapered upward– frequently starting above the ears or at the temple– to a longer length on the top of the head. There are many indigenous and popular names for different kinds of fades, such as temple fade, low fade, Philly fade, Brooklyn fade, and more; be sure to discuss what you’d like with your barber.
In the flat top, the hair on the sides and back are typically cut in a short taper, and the hair on the top is cut to stand up and give a very flat look to the top of the head. There are a number of possible length variants with the flat top, although the longer the hair on the top, the more likely you will need some sort of styling product (hair wax) to keep it standing up straight. There are also styling differences as to how the sides can be cut to encounter the top: the sides can go straight up and give a square form to the top of the head (often referred to as a “boxy” flat top), or the sides can be slightly contoured toward the top, giving a more curved look (often referred to as “rounded” or “beveled”).
A very short flat top typically leaves the hair in the mid of the head cut tight to the scalp. When viewed from above, that part of bare scalp is referred to as a “landing strip.” The “U” shape of hair that surrounds a distinct landing strip (again, when viewed from above) gives a very short flat top the name “horseshoe flat top.” A flat top with longer hair on the sides of the head is called a “flat top with fenders.”
High & Tight
The “high and tight” is often worn in the military, particularly in the Marine Corps. The sides and back are extremely short, either clipped almost to the skin or shaved with a razor all the way up to the crown of the head. The top is regularly worn very short (usually 1/4 inch or shorter, though some guys wear the very front part a little longer) and on the forward part of the head. There is minimal blending between the sides and the top; the amount of blending differs by preference. A more extreme version is the “high and tight recon,” described below.
The sides and back are cut short and tapered across the crown, and the hair progressively becomes longer and fuller toward the front. In a typical ivy league, enough hair is left in the front so that it can be neatly parted and styled, usually with pomade or gel. More modern ivy league cuts may style the hair upward or forward in the front, but are still normally neat cuts that follow the shape of the head.
Layering refers to cutting hair at different lengths all through the hairstyle. Layers can be blended so that you cannot see where one length leaves off and another begins, or they can be left unblended, giving a lumpy appearance. Layering can help eliminate bulk and weight from zones where hair is generally left longer, like the top of the head in some men’s cuts. Some kinds of layered cuts can give a more contemporary, “messy” look when hair gel or pomade is applied. In short, layering is a means to an end, and it doesn’t refer to a single particular style.
Layers can be even throughout, such as trimming every hair on different parts of the head to roughly the same length (instead of being cut longer in the center and shorter around the edges). If you are leaving your short hairstyle a little on the long side overall, you can ask your barber for a layered cut. If you choose to wear a layered style that is very long (several inches or more on top), you may want to go to a men’s hair stylist where they specialize in longer men’s cuts.
A pompadour is a general term for a style that wears the hair brushed up and back from the forehead. Pompadours can be very short or very long on the top. Elvis Presley wore a few different pompadour styles in his time, some short and some long. Regularly, styling products such as pomade are used to keep a pompadour in place.
“Regulation” is a broad term that refers to short, military style haircuts. The military isn’t entirely precise about how hair should be styled, so there are many dissimilar cuts that can precisely qualify as adhering to regulations. For example, Marine Corps regulations state that the hair on the top of the head should not be longer than 3 inches, and that the hair from the neck hairline should begin at zero length and be graduated toward the upper portion of the head. As for sideburns, they must not extend below the top of the orifice of the ear, must not be styled to taper or flare, and should not have extended hair length of more than 1/8 inch. Those regulations leave room for interpretation, and include many standard short cuts, including burr, butch, crew cut, etc. Yet, those styles are not what is classically referred to when someone uses the term “regulation cut.” The styles more commonly known as “regulation,” are short cuts on the top (can be worn parted, brushed upward, crew-cut-style-taper, etc.), with the back and sides clipped very close (or shaved) and tapered so that scalp is plainly visible. This area of scalp is referred to as “whitewalls,” and the height of the whitewalls determines whether a cut may be called “low regulation” (short whitewalls), “high regulation” (tall whitewalls), or “medium regulation” (somewhere in the middle).
A classic taper cut is simply a short haircut where the sides and back are cut gradually shorter down toward the neck, with even blending throughout. The hair on the top of the head is also tapered, but can be cut quite short, or left long enough to part or otherwise style with gel or pomade. A good taper cut should show no demarcation lines; the transitions between hair lengths should be smooth. Most short cuts employ at least some tapering.