Barber Facts: What Are The Most Popular Styles In The Chair?
As barbers, one of the questions we often hear is “what haircut do people ask for most?” This may seem like a pretty simple one to answer, but in reality it constantly changes due to a number of factors.
Perhaps predictably, environment comes into play. For example, a freak Easter heatwave can result in a glut of buzzcut requests, as the winter grow-out suddenly seems like a plan so poor it could’ve been hatched by Liz Truss.
In a similar vein, as more people first embarked on a work life more home-based; and the need to look sharp for face-to-face meetings became less frequent; many opted for softer scissor cut styles. At the same time the desire for high maintenance, Craig David-esque pencil line beards and suchlike dropped like a social media platform’s value following an Elon Musk takeover.
Sometimes less predictable for us hair people are current trends. Even those with their finger on the fashion pulse would’ve struggled to foresee the recent surge in requests for mullets, after decades as the style choice predominantly for ranch owners and Rod Stewart impersonators only. And, remember the stampede for those severe Peeky Blinders cuts? Not looking quite so cool now, right?
However, there are some styles that seemingly never go out of fashion. These are usually the ones that suit the widest selection of people and look consistently good without standing out too much from the crowd. These have to go down as the most consistently popular styles in the chair over the years, for good reason, and they are as follows.
The Sweep Back
Like almost all haircuts, the sweep back has various iterations and the lines have been blurred over the years, however certain elements are essential to the style and have stayed consistent throughout.
For this cut the back and sides are cut shorter than the top and graduated from being tighter around the ears and neckline to having a bit more length where the sides meet the top (the “top sides”). This can be achieved either with clippers through the lower sides to create a sharper edge or with scissors to create a looser, more layered look.
On the top locks are snipped so that they get progressively longer towards the fringe, with the bangs left long enough to allow them to be swept back and stay in place. Often to best achieve this the fringe is disconnected whilst the back is connected.
It’s a great look which can be worn smart and neat with a product such as pomade or looser and more textured with something like a salt spray or styling paste. It also suits a wide variety of hair types.
The Textured Quiff
Unlike the previous haircut, this style is one which is never meant to be worn neatly. In essence it is a messy look which has an air of bed head about it, but a considered one.
The hair on the back and sides is cropped close to the head, commonly this is with clippers but could also be achieved with scissors. In more recent times this look has been teamed with a crisp fade or taper but this is purely optional.
The top is point cut, which means that the strands are cut at irregular lengths, to achieve a choppy and textured aesthetic. The fringe is often left longer than the crown, but without so much length that it drops down. This is then swept up and off the forehead.
It’s a good, low maintenance option as the look is a bit less-is-more where styling is concerned. A bit of matt product such as clay worked through the strands and twisted at points should do the trick. If your hair has a tendency to be fine or lifeless then add salt spray or hair powder for an extra boost of volume and texture.
Whilst fades have always had their place, from military circles to the hip-hop scence, their popularity has boomed in the past decade. It doesn’t look like this is going to wane anytime soon either.
For this style the hair is cut clinically short on the back and sides, often down to the skin, before being subtly graduated slightly in length from bottom to top. This effect causes a blurred effect when the hair tone becomes more apparent as the length increases, AKA the fade.
A fade can be teamed with a wide variety of styles on top, from the short and neat crop to longer swept styles when undercut. Be warned though, to keep a fade looking its best you’ll need to be in the barber’s chair on a very regular basis.
The Layered Mid-Length (“The Bradley Cooper”)
Often requested by those with longer locks - and just as often coveted by those who don’t - are the layered mid-length styles worn by Bradley Cooper amongst others.
For this look the hair is left longer on the back and sides and heavily layered to create flow and movement that is commonly directed loosely from front to back.
A lot of length is also retained on top so that the hair falls into shape naturally where it meets the sides and back. This can either be connected or left with a soft disconnection depending on the desired finish and hair type.
Products with a more natural finish generally work better for longer and looser styles such as these, so you’ll be swapping the clay for creams or balms. Styling here is predominantly about getting the right levels of hydration (neither too frizzy nor greasy) rather than sculpting.
It’s a style that works really well for those who have wavy hair, but can be adopted by those with other hair types too as long as there’s some natural volume or density.
So there you have it, these are a handful of styles that we are most often asked for. If you feel like any of these could be the one for you then we’d be delighted to see you in the chair of any of our expert barbers.