How to Choose the Perfect Haircut for Men

Face shape, profession, lifestyle all affect your choice

Barber Cutting Hair
 Photo © Eugenio Marongiu | Getty Images

Getting just the right cut can be a serious challenge. Many guys don't know where to start and how to choose the right haircut for their face shape or how to choose the style that fits their lifestyle. Sometimes barbers and stylists have not educated male clients on how to make the right choices regarding hairstyle, and you're left out in the wilderness on this important choice for your look.

Shape of the Haircut

In choosing the perfect haircut, there are several things to take into consideration: length, maintenance, and shape.

Too many guys get hung up on the length of the haircut. "I really want my hair long" or "I like to keep it short" are commonly heard phrases from clients. Here's the deal: The type of haircut makes a huge difference. Regardless of length, a great cut can enhance your facial features and detract from your less desirable features, so the shape of the cut should be considered before the length.

Lifestyle and Profession

Your lifestyle should be taken into consideration as well. Extremely active guys won't want to spend a lot of time styling their hair, and they'll be happiest with a low-maintenance haircut. A haircut that is cut to be styled won't look as good if you don't spend the time styling it appropriately. Conversely, someone with the time and patience to make a little effort grooming their hair every day may be better served with a more stylish cut.

Another thing to consider is your profession.

These days, traditional rules of style in the workplace often don't apply. It's not entirely uncommon to see bankers with shaved heads and lawyers with ponytails. But regardless, when choosing a haircut, you should consider the climate of the workplace you're in. A very traditional, conservative workplace is probably not the place to show up with an overly trendy haircut.

For those who serve clients, you may also wish to consider how the customer will perceive you. Is a client going to trust a financial analyst with a mohawk? Probably not, so you've got to consider your clients and co-workers because you don't want your choice of haircut to negatively impact your financial health. If you work in a conservative environment, work with your barber or stylist to choose a style that is versatile enough to allow you to style it conservatively when you're at work and still let you do something playful when you're on your own time if you'd prefer a little more edge when you're not at work.

If you work in a more creative or less conservative environment, you can probably choose just about any style you like. You might still think twice about that mohawk, though.

Facial Features and Shape

Finally, you've got to consider your face shape in determining an appropriate haircut. The right cut can really play off your best features and minimize the less desirable ones. For example, a big nose can be minimized by wearing a fuller style with an off-center part. For dark-haired guys with blue eyes, a very tight haircut can really make the eyes pop. Your choice of haircut can really change the way people look at your facial features.

Getting What You Want

Choosing the right haircut is much more difficult than sitting down and telling your haircutter, "take it short." There are lots of things to factor in when choosing the perfect haircut, and a good barber or hairstylist should take those things into consideration. That said, it's important to arm yourself with knowledge of how your face shape, lifestyle, facial features, and profession all play their part in picking the perfect haircut so you can discuss them with your stylist.

With male clients, barbers and stylists are often hesitant to offer up suggestions, so don't be afraid to ask if the person who cuts your hair has ideas. If he suggests something, give it a try—remember, the person who cuts your hair is trained to give you the most flattering haircut possible, and he should be ready with suggestions if it looks like your style could use some adjustments.

It is also helpful to have an idea of what you want. Take a look at men's hairstyle galleries online or check out the styles of celebrities and choose a style that you like. Be realistic and pick styles on models that have similar facial features and hair type. Print the photos you like and take them with you on your next visit. Your barber or stylist can then work with that knowledge to create a haircut that has a similar look but is shaped in a way that works well for your face, lifestyle, and profession.