Refreshing your look needn’t cost more than a round of drinks. Yes, you could spend the equivalent of a small car on a new wardrobe, but 45 minutes in the barber’s chair can have the same effect if you’re brave enough to say something other than “The usual”. Plus, if it’s the kind of barbershop we like – plush seats, hot towels and craft beer – it’ll be a lot more pleasant than a march up the high street.
So what are we doing for you, today? If 2018’s hair trends are anything to go by, expect the rise of longer, less conventional styles that overshadow the preppy, short back and sides styles that have dominated in recent years. Then, for shorter cuts, it’s about rejecting overly worked looks that require no hair out of place. Less labour, more cool. Finally, a new year resolution we can get behind.
Progressing from fashion weeks to your working week, here’s a heads up on the men’s hairstyles of the year.
The DIY Punk
We’re all for rebellion, but before you start putting knee slashes in your work suit, start slow with your hair. One of the key trends for the months ahead is an unconventional look in that it uses the same length all over, pushed up but left messy. This is the pompadour’s DGAF younger brother.
Ideally, you need at least three inches of growth so that you can get lots of texture and movement into it. A beaten up leather jacket one size too small wouldn’t go amiss, either. “Ask your barber to really chop into your hair – you need it to look a bit messed up,” says Joe Mills, owner of Soho barbers Joe & Co. “Ideally it needs to have that DIY feel with length around the ears and the nape of the neck, channelling Sid Vicious vibes.”
Punks can be practical, too. If you are growing your hair, this is the perfect cut to make it through the awkward middle stage. And if you’re not confident the Sex Pistols’ pomp will fly at work, wait until your hair is long enough not to stand up and then slick it back while on duty for a more refined look.
The Long Sweep
Long hair has been making a steady comeback in recent seasons, but that doesn’t have to mean the big, hairspray ‘dos of 1980s rockers (thank God). To maintain a masculine feel with shoulder-length hair, opt for something sleeker and more refined.
“A lot of men’s shows this year showed slicked-back looks that use a gloss styling gel,” says Anthony Mayes, a stylist from The Refinery spa and barbers in London’s Mayfair. “Ask your barber not to layer the long hair and instead maximise length and sleekness.”
To style, all you need to do is run some medium-shine cream or pomade through damp hair with your fingers and follow up with a comb to work the hair back from your hairline to its ends. Simple and undeniably chic.
The Speedy Soft Parting
If it’s good enough for Tom Hardy, it’s good enough for us, especially when he himself is taking cues from the likes of Ryan Gosling. The tough guy formerly known as Bane has recently been embracing his softer side with a delicate parting.
“This cut has shorter layers and texture throughout. The sides can be kept longer with scissors only, or a low fade would look good, too,” says Richard Tucker of Ruffians barbershop in London’s Shoreditch. There is no specific parting line, but more of a gentle sweep to the side for a more relaxed look.
This style is ideal if you’re after a quick and easy look without having to blow dry – 20 seconds with a towel will suffice. Then you can work in a shinier product, rather than the usual matte finish. It maximises the easy, straight-out-the-shower vibe that suggests you have more important things to do than dedicate an entire morning to the bathroom mirror. Which you definitely do, right?
The Bleached Crop
Our mops are far less mercurial than our clothes, meaning that some trends are more subtle switch-ups than radical chops. The sharp, blunt fringe – one of the very many hairstyles popularised by Zayn Malik last year – is one very stylish case in point.
“The latest manifestation of this style is a slightly looser, choppier version teamed with bleach blond hair,” says Tucker. “This gives it a more textured, lived-in look akin to the skateboard grunge era.” Though you should ask for a little more length to be left through the top, this doesn’t equate to longer styling time. If people still used the term ‘bed head’ (which they don’t), that’s what you’re after here.
This one’s worth forking out for, too. Home dye jobs are the grooming equivalent of playing with fire (and you’ll certainly feel the burn if you get it wrong). Remember to use a deep conditioner once a week and invest in some purple shampoo to stop that bright white mellowing to a yellow.
The GI Crew
For maximum impact with minimum fuss, make this the year you finally go bold with the hair clippers. If you’ve grown tired of the ubiquitous style for sweeping back wavy, mid-length hair, this is your simplest route to stealing a march on everyone else and creating an edgy new military style.
“This is another evolution of the short crops we saw last year,” says Mills – and a less extreme alternative to reaching for the bleach. “Think grade one back and sides, with a grade six on top, and ideally get your barber to scissor-cut the top to that length so you can get a little more texture into it, rather than leaving it too rounded.”
It’s a simple style for the 9-5, but remember to book back in with your barber every one to two weeks or risk losing those sharp lines of military precision.