Undoubtedly one of the most iconic haircuts of all time, the quiff has been big news since the 1950s. Splicing together elements of the pompadour, 1950s flat top and sometimes even the mohawk, this is a style that’s not afraid to make its (usually voluminous) presence felt.
The amped up alternative to the ever-popular pompadour, the quiff suits a wide range of ages, head shapes and personal styles – whether you’re a rockabilly aficionado or simply looking for a cut that’s smart but not stale.
The Classic Quiff
Unlike contemporary takes on the quiff, the classic iteration shows more balance so you’ll need to ask your stylist to keep some length around the back and sides while also maintaining a clean, sharp hairline.
The length at the back and sides can be varied, but it should always be kept shorter than the top to ensure there is a definitive contrast.
Bear in mind that – generally – the longer the hair is, the more time it will take to style. Your stylist needs to keep a lot of length through the top section, which should be perfectly balanced throughout the crown area to help connect the top and sides in a natural way.
Depending on the hair density and length, the style can be cut in a variety of different ways with scissors or clippers:
Longer Length Styles
For those with more hair to play with on top, a variety of different finishes and looks can be achieved by simply altering your styling product (see below).
Not only that, the increased length means you can also experiment more with volume and texture:
The Contemporary Quiff
A sharper, sleeker take on the old-school classic, the contemporary quiff requires a cut that has plenty of length through the top and an aggressively short back and sides. The best examples of this style feature maximum scalp exposure – the more dramatic the contrast, the sharper and more eye-catching your quiff will look.
Suitable for all hair types, whether your hair is poker straight or unruly, ask your stylist to keep the crown area very short to accentuate the length and volume of the quiff at the front. Alternatively, you can maintain length throughout for a less dramatic, more balanced look on top:
Famous for a swoon-inducing pelvis and his penchant for a particularly delicious sandwich, The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis, is also known for popularising the quiff. A sophisticated take on the style (despite being deemed radical at the time), Elvis’ high shine, smartly slicked quiff sparked a craze in the 1950s.
Fast-forward to the 1980s and Grease‘s Danny Zucco (John Travolta) demonstrates how the style evolved in the interim. The sides of Zucco’s quiff were longer, while the top was styled into a curly quiff – achieved using slick pomade and blasted with hairspray to keep it in place.
In recent years, David Beckham has sported several variations of the quiff – initially maintaining length through the back and sides but lately taking them shorter and styling the look softer for a quiff that’s contemporary but still appropriate for his age.
Other A-list proponents of this timeless style include everyone from George Clooney and Ryan Gosling to Justin Timberlake and David Gandy:
Styling The Quiff
There are several ways to style the quiff, depending on your hair type/texture and the finish you want to achieve.
Start by following the steps below:
- With your hair shampooed and towel dried, apply a wet styling product to the hair and comb through to evenly distribute.
- Next, blow-dry the hair using a hair dryer set to the highest temperature setting and the lowest speed. Use a vented brush to sweep the hair on the top part of your head (roughly 2cm above your temples) across to one side. At the same time, follow the brush with your hair dryer, directing the airflow through the vents in the brush and onto the hair, keeping it approximately 3cm from the brush to avoid overheating your hair.
- When your hair is 50 per cent dry, repeat the method on the other side, working in the opposite direction.
- Now use your hair dryer and brush to brush your hair upward and back, away from your forehead and temples, until it’s completely dry.
Finally, you’ll want to apply the right product depending on your desired finish:
To get maximum volume out of finer hair, I’d suggest using a sea salt or volumising spray before blow-drying.
Evo Root Canal or Salty Dog Beach Cocktail Spray, Kevin Murphy Anti Gravity Spray and O&M Surf Bomb Sea Salt Spray all work well:
For thicker or wavier hair, I’d recommend using a lotion or gel as these will help accentuate texture, volume and separation.
Try Fudge Big Hair Push It Up Blow Dry Spray, Evo Shape Vixen or Anti Gravity Lotion by Kevin Murphy:
If your hair needs that little bit extra support and has a tendency to flatten once styled, then work a hair dust through the roots and massage in.
L’Oreal Super Dust and Fudge Elevate Styling Powder give maximum hold, while L’Oreal Texture Dust and American Crew Boost Powder come recommended but aren’t quite as strong:
For naturally curly hair, try Kevin Murphy Easy Rider or Undressed – both of these products will help define and accentuate your natural curl without it leaving it greasy or crispy looking:
For an ultra-shiny finish, try Uppercut Deluxe Pomade or American Crew Grooming Cream. For a more natural finish, apply some American Crew Defining Paste or Fudge Matte Hed. And for a matte finish, I’d recommend Kevin Murphy Rough Rider or Uppercut Deluxe Matte Clay:
Finally, whatever your hair type, you’ll need to use a strong hold hairspray to keep your painstaking work in place. Try Fudge Matte Hed Gas, Evo Helmut or Tigi Hard Head to give your quiff optimal staying power: