Already letting those resolutions slip? If, like us, you’ve swapped early morning HIIT sessions for an extra hour’s kip, then read this. Or look to some of the easier means of becoming a new man – like finally getting your hair seen to. Not only can a smart cut instantly refresh your look, it’s a lot cheaper than a year’s gym subscription.
We caught up with some of the UK’s leading names in men’s hair to decipher the trends set to make it big this year. These are the new styles to know.
1. Short & Choppy
If there was one trend shed on the dawn of 2016, it was The Apprentice-level slicked and structured hair. And natural texture, unencumbered by enough product to cement a two-story house, is what’s taking its place.
“This is a low-maintenance style that suits a more classic gent who’s not interested in a style with sharp contrast,” says Adam Brady, Ruffians Barbers’ Trends Expert. It’s a progression from last year’s trend for long and loose textured styles, but measuring about an inch shorter on top, and point cut for texture: “The top is now slightly shorter, and there’s a soft disconnect between it and the scissor-cut back and sides.”
Which is good news if you’ve been growing your hair longer only to realise it jars with your face shape. “This style is a great choice for those with longer faces, as less height on your head will make your face seem better proportioned,” says Brady. And it’s a winner for those slightly thinner on top, too: “The choppiness gives the illusion of more texture and weight, so this could be a good option if you have fine or thinning hair.”
Arguably the best thing about this easy to maintain hairstyle is the number of ways you can wear it. “A water-based pomade – applied to damp hair using your fingers and tousled through – is a particularly on-trend look,” says Brady.
You can also use a paste – applied to the roots for optimal hold – for a slightly less wet look, or a root booster powder to optimise volume and give a matte finish.
2. Big Shape & Contrast
We’re not all born wallflowers. If the thought of a low-profile hairstyle is enough to send you to sleep, there are more eye-catching looks emerging in 2016, too.
“This is all about clear contrast between the top and back and sides sections of your hair, along with plenty of movement and shape,” says Brady. And, as you’ll have garnered from the images below, it’s probably going to get you noticed. It does, however, come with a couple of caveats:
- You’ll need the ability to grow a pretty dense and long head of hair. Otherwise, you won’t be working with the raw materials you need.
- Consider your lifestyle before committing: “If you’re exercising in the gym regularly or generally feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day to spend styling your hair, then it’s best to steer away from anything high maintenance,” says Tom Harrigan, Master Barber and Brand Manager at Neville.
Taking the plunge? Brady has some tips for laying the groundwork: “Grow your hair long on top, so that the fringe reaches at least as far as your nose when you pull it down over your face.” Without this, you won’t be able to create the necessary contrast.
Speaking of which, decide whether you want the hair at the sides and back of your head scissor cut (for a clear contrast with a softer finish) or clippered (for a starker, more impactful contrast) – though bear in mind that anything less than a 4 guard verges on undercut territory.
“Your barber or stylist should also should be aware to make the hair at the crown a bit shorter than the hair at the front, so that if you sweep the fringe back, it will rest nicely on the back of the head; and if you put your fringe forward, it won’t stick up at the back,” says Brady.
As with most things with lasting impact, this one takes some work when it comes to end styling:
“For a forward fringe, find your side parting and spray in some salt spray, keeping the sides separate. Then, blow-dry your fringe forwards across your forehead using a brush, and tousle the remaining spray-free parts of your hair,” explains Brady.
“For a sweep-back quiff, a style that requires a lot of height and volume, apply some paste into damp hair, and blow-dry from the roots up, using a vented brush to direct the flow of air. Once you’ve got a rough structure, spray in some salt spray to add texture.”
3. The Textured Quiff
A men’s hair mainstay, a quiff strikes the balance between exaggerated and easy to maintain. It’s also come in its fair share of guises over the years, ranging in size from molehill to mountain – but for 2016 the focus switches from scale to texture.
“This is a more textured, less polished version of the quiff,” says Stelios Nicolaou, Master Barber at Aveda. “It’s got depth, but doesn’t look too structured or stuffy, and it has height on top while being shorter and sharper on the back and sides.”
As with any more involved style, it’s worth considering the implications before you let your barber start lopping inches off: “The quiff can suit a variety of face shapes, but it’s always best to speak to your barber or stylist about what works best for you – those with a longer face shape may benefit from a slightly more angled quiff that doesn’t further elongate the face. And maintenance is another important factor to consider here.”
Thankfully, compared to heavily styled and structured quiffs, this textured take is a breeze to style. “Spritz a volumising spray into the roots of your hair to add depth and volume. Then, rub some clay between your fingers and twist the hair slightly at the sides of the crown, pushing it upwards, before passing your hands through the quiff until you’ve achieved your desired finish.”
4. The Wet Look
One of the key hairstyle trends to come out of the AW15 shows, the 1990s-inspired wet look is fast establishing itself as one of the most up to the minute ways to wear your hair.
“Rife on the catwalks at LCM AW16 were casual, rather than sleek, wet hair looks. We’re gradually moving on from severe takes to tousled wet finish looks,” says Brady. Think rain-slicked rather than soaked.
To style, Brady advises rubbing some water-based pomade into damp hair, and instead of a comb, use your fingers to shape the hair for a soft finish. Pay particular attention to the evenness of your approach; getting too heavy-handed with pomade in one section of your hair can lead to a look that’s off-kilter.
5. Medium- To Long-length
Given menswear’s current infatuation with two of history’s shaggiest-haired decades – that’s the 1970s and the 1990s, FYI – it’s little wonder longer hair’s fast becoming one of the key hair trends to watch.
“For 2016, hair is definitely getting longer,” says Harrigan. “You only have to look at a glossy men’s magazine and the recent LCM shows to see that the razor fade is done. Sure, we’re seeing the short back and sides, but the trend is moving to a longer choppy crop.” And plenty of men are tipping their cap to Thor-era Chris Hemsworth and growing it even longer.
Admittedly, it’s not a look for everyone. And we’re not just talking taste: you’ll need hair that skews slightly finer for a good crack at this look. Grow it out over time, braving those awkward in-between stages, and once you’ve got a good length, book some time in the barber’s chair to see if adding layers could optimise your style’s shape.
As for styling, less is more. Try a little texturising salt spray if you want to add some tousled structure but, generally, this longer length hair looks its best when you refrain from fussing too much.
Inspired to book in with your barber? Or are you sticking firmly to your guns when it comes to your 2016 hairstyle?
Let us know below.