No matter how on-point your outfit is, even if it’s planned down to the pattern of your socks and the perfect fold of your pocket square, all can fall apart if your hairstyle is a mess. You don’t want to get it wrong on a photo-heavy day like your wedding.
Much like clothing, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to hairstyles. But some have stood the test of time—and with good reason. Here are the classic, foolproof, and damn handsome looks to consider for your next big appearance.
Like: Timothée Chalamant, Shawn Mendes, Dev Patel
The clean-cut look is on the wane and lately there’s been an embrace of something shaggier and freer on red carpets, catwalks and, yes, in real life too. Longer, undone hair is the new look thanks, in part, to actors like Timothée Chalamant who’ve championed styles that embrace natural texture and an unbound feeling. That these styles look natural doesn’t mean that they don’t require some styling, though. Use with a looser hold (like a cream or a salt spray) so you can avoid looking frizzy or like you stuck your finger in a light socket.
High and Tight
Like: David Beckham, Jake Gyllenhaal, Conor McGregor
The military has inspired menswear for millennia but its influence hardly ends there. See: the high and tight, a hairstyle borrowed from the barracks, where having as little hair as possible was beneficial on many levels—mainly that there was less care and maintenance required. So for guys who really don’t want to be bothered with doing their hair, this is an excellent option. Nearly every barber worth his salt can whip this out: a very trim, short, and controlled thatch on top which tapers down into a barely-there length on the sides. The style is a template that you can get creative with by adding texture and style depending on the length on top and the severity of the side-fade, Make sure to rub a little bit of product through, a cream or even a paste, to give it a little control. You can even use pomades or waxes for a more defined, sleek look.
Like: Zayn Malik, Kanye West, Justin Bieber
Let’s say you hate doing your hair. Like really hate it. As in even taking out a dime-sized dollop of any sort of hair product is… Just. Too. Taxing. For you. Fine, we get it. So then you should opt for the next simplest thing: shave it all off. When it comes to hairstyles, the buzzcut is undeniably the easiest out there, and another military-cribbed style that favors function of form. You could even just get a pair of clippers and have a friend do it, if you really wanted to (your results may seriously vary). While we still think you should put a little something in your hair, especially as it grows out, this is pretty much a dry-off-and-hit-the-road no-brainer. No one can complain about having one less thing to think about.
Like: Drake, Michael B Jordan, Justin Timberlake
Consider this a riff on the high-and-tight, but more like its buttoned-up, rigid, all-business cousin. This keeps it tight on top and then gives an easy, smooth fade down to skin at the sides. It’s perfect for men looking for a clean, sharp hairstyle, but the ease of a shaved head. Using a wax and a pomade is best here, to keep that sleek look.
Like: Ryan Reynolds, Chadwick Boseman, Ryan Gosling
Perhaps the most common haircut out there, the Everyman is trimmed sides and a medium length on top, leaving enough hair to mess around with. It can be side-parted, left messy, or riffed on in an assortment of other ways. If you like variety and want something easy, this is your best bet. And it works for a variety of different hair textures, from fine and straight hair to thicker, curlier hair. Depending on the length and your hair’s consistency, and the style you’re going for, a variety of products from light to strong will work.
Just Off the Beach
Like: Jason Momoa, Harry Styles, Troye Sivan
Since the great man-bun movement of the mid-aughts, longer hair has become more commonplace. But “long hair, don’t care” ain’t easy. Long hair with purpose is best—wear it like you mean it. It’s hard to ignore the fresh-from-the-ocean, lived-in locks being worn by major movie stars and musicians who’ve made unkempt bed-head a stylistic choice. Adding a healthy dose of salt water spray and scrunching it as it dries will give your hair serious island vibes even if you’re landlocked.
The Hollywood Side Part
Like: Henry Golding, Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper
The throwback, classic Hollywood side part is still an A-list go-to and with good reason: it looks debonair and masculine and it’s an easy look for any guy with medium-length hair. While the glossy, shellacked style was favored by the favorite movie stars of yore, today it’s a slightly looser look. It’s still combed with intention but not overly styled and not weighed down with product. Try a paste and a comb on this one instead of a heavy, wet product which gives that gelled Wall Street look. Finishing with a light hit of hairspray is optional, but encouraged.
Like: Shia LeBoef, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jake Gylenhal
There’s a new version of the shellacked, slicked look creeping back for guys with fine textured, medium-to-long hair—and it’s a great way to add volume and flair. It’s loose and has a slight youthful edge to it, and doesn’t take a lot of elbow grease to get it. Try it out with a cream or a low-hold pomade. Run it through your hair, starting from the roots and working towards the ends, and comb it back. If it comes slightly undone throughout the day, embrace that devil-may-care look. This style looks best when it’s a little disheveled.
Like: Brad Pitt, Josh Brolin, David Beckham
Most shorter haircuts gradually move from short to shorter (like a fade), but the undercut is all about extremes. This cut skips the transition and gives a blunt edge from long on the top to short on the sides. It’s for the type of guy who doesn’t mind putting some effort into his hairstyle and definitely doesn’t mind turning heads when he walks into a room. Use different products depending on your style (a cream to make it messy, a pomade to slick it back) and wear this ‘do with a serious attitude.
The Short ’n’ Messy Twist
Like: Donald Glover, John Boyega, Jay-Z
Life is about balances in extremes—everything in moderation, right?—and no hairstyle does that better than this one. With its mid-length twists, it’s loose and not too buttoned-up, but it’s modern and obviously styled. It’s the perfect in-between, something that sits right at the crossroads of laid-back and put-together. And as long as you give yourself a little time to grow your hair out, it’s an easily achievable look. Use a beeswax or oil balm to twist out the texture and keep it defined.