Haircuts for Black men that will never go out of style

Haircuts for Black men that will never go out of style

A fro hair has a reputation for being unwilling to cooperate: more often than not it seems determined to do the exact opposite of what its owner wants. But, while obedience isn’t this hair type’s forte, there are plenty of excellent haircuts for black men to experiment with. That’s because, when treated right, afro hair can shape up sharp and has an unrivalled ability to hold shape well.

The key to keeping afro hair in check is being a good listener, because like with any other hair type it has its own unique quirks which you need to work with, not against. Once you’ve got a grasp of what mother nature gave you though, half the battle is won.

If you’re feeling follicularly challenged and haven’t got a clue how to manage your mane then that’s where we step in. With the help of some barbers who are experts when it comes to black men’s haircuts, we’ve compiled all of the tips and tricks you need to make your afro hair majestic.

The Flat Top

What Is It?

In the late eighties and early nineties, the flat top went viral, sending sales of spirit levels and hair clippers soaring (probably). “The flat top features hair on the sides of the head tapered to the skin, working up towards a flat top – think Will Smith as The Fresh Prince and you can’t miss it,” says celebrity hairstylist Jamie Stevens.

Though the flat top has waned in popularity since its heyday, the cut can easily be tweaked to make it relevant for the modern man. “This style really works well on afro hair and offers such a striking look that I can’t ever see it losing its coolness in one form or another.”

Flat Top

How To Get It

As timeless as the flat top is, unless you’ve got the right hair type you’ll be fighting a losing battle. Case in point? Simon Cowell. “The most important factor here is ensuring you have very curly afro hair, because it’s those tight curls, once combed out, that gives the style its shape and definition,” says Stevens.

“For a traditional take, have your barber skin fade the sides and back, working up towards the occipital bone [the saucer-shaped bone at the lower back of the skull]. From there, they should continue to freehand cut the shape into your hair. To give the squared flat top effect, barbers often use a flat top comb to comb the hair out to stand on end so that they can freehand cut the shape for the sleekest finish.”

How To Style It

Unsurprisingly (because hair doesn’t grow into neat lines) maintenance of this style is mostly a case of getting a cut on the regular, but you can take measures to keep this geometric style looking sharp in-between trips to the chop shop.

“Invest in an afro comb; this will allow you to comb your hair into shape easier and, as the teeth are long, allows more flexibility when working through the hair. You might also find a hairdryer useful to help mould the hair if necessary, and some hairspray will keep it in place, too,” says Stevens.

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The Buzz Cut

What Is It?

Even those with only a passing knowledge of men’s hair will be familiar with the buzz cut: this all-over shorn style is as low maintenance as it gets, hence its popularity among recruits. “The buzz cut is a short military style usually taken to a grade 0 or skin on the sides of the head with only a little bit of length on top,” says Nick Campbell, a barber at Ruffians Marylebone. If you’re looking for the most minimal-effort hair situation, this is the one.

Buzz Cut

How To Get It

The buzz cut is one of those styles that it’s theoretically possible to take a DIY approach to, but if you want to nail it properly, put yourself in the capable hands of a clipper connoisseur. “Ask your barber for a traditional crew cut, for afro hairspecifically this involves running the clipper with the grain on the top of the hair in order to remove weight and give a clean finish. A zero or balding clipper should be taken to the sides followed by a ‘shape up’ which involves outlining the contours of the hair with a cut throat razor for a super sharp finish,” says Campbell.

How To Style It

For the buzz cut, you don’t need to worry about styling per se, think of the task of keeping your sparsely decorated head looking its best as maintenance. “The buzz cut is pretty fuss-free, but it’s best styled with a matt finishing product wax or a low shine oil which should be brushed through your hair or applied with an afro sponge,” says Campbell. Keeping the buzz cut looking fresh AF is a cinch, basically.

Men's Afro Hair Styling Products

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The Natural Afro

What Is It?

This was, of course, the go-to hairstyle for black men in the seventies, (incidentally, it was a time when subtlety didn’t rank high on anyone’s list of priorities). Back then afros swerved the natural look in favour of circular styling, but today the style has gone much more organic. “A natural afro is all about working with your natural hair texture, using products to enhance your curl to create length all over without too much uniformity,” says Stevens. With plenty of length but a rugged finish, the natural afro feels a million miles away from Saturday Night Fever.

Natural Afro

How To Get It

As afro hair has a tendency to break more easily than other hair types it can be difficult to retain length. As such the natural afro is best suited to those who are able to grow 2-3 inches of hair without too much trouble. “Mid-length or longer hair is best as this will give the most scope for styling,” says Stevens. “The best example of this style is classic Lenny Kravitz; his is a great afro – the perfect shape and length to work with everything.”

How To Style It

As its names suggests, the natural afro should be the best version of what your mother gave you. “Apply a product designed to enhance curls to damp hair to define and boost its natural texture. You could also try mixing in some moisturising oil for a healthy shine,” says Stevens.

Thankfully, drying and styling your hair is a doddle here as the natural afro works best when things feel a little undone. “The best way to style an afro is to avoid heat, allowing your curl to take its natural shape. So, once you’ve applied product, allow your hair to dry naturally. And if you have a looser curl, try twisting small sections of your hair while damp to help define it.”

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