How to Choose the Perfect Haircut for Men

Barber Cutting Hair
Photo © Eugenio Marongiu | Getty Images.

Getting just the right cut can be a 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. Admittedly, as barbers and stylists, we haven't often done a great job of educating our male clients on how to make the right choices regarding hairstyle. To that end, I offer these tips on how to choose the perfect haircut for men.

Choosing the Perfect Haircut

In choosing the perfect haircut, there are several things to take into consideration including 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 phrases I hear all the time from clients. In my two decades of cutting men's hair, I've never once had a guy say, "what is the best style for my face shape?" 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.

Your lifestyle should be taken into consideration as well. Extremely active guys won't want to spend a lot of time styling their hair, they'll want 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 — and that's something I see a lot.

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. Fortunately, these days traditional rules of style in the workplace don't often apply. You see bankers with shaved heads and lawyers with ponytails are not entirely uncommon.

When choosing a haircut, one should consider the climate of the workplace they're in. A very traditional, conservative workplace probably won't appreciate a guy showing 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, but you've got to consider your clients and co-workers as 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.

Consider the Face

Finally, you've got to consider your face shape in determining an appropriate haircut. I have a client who insists on wearing a military-style high and tight and the cut looks horrible on him. With just a few adjustments (keeping a bald fade on the sides and a little length with a square shape on top), the style could still be very short and look great — shape is everything when it comes to a great cut. The right cut can really play off your best features and minimize the less desirable features as well.

Did you know, for example, a big nose can be minimized by wearing a fuller style with an off-center part? For guys, 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.

As you can see, 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.

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 they suggest something, give it a try — remember, the person who cuts your hair is trained to give you the most flattering haircut possible and they should be ready with suggestions if they feel your style could use some adjustments.

It is also helpful to have an idea of what you want. Take a look at our men's hairstyle galleries 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 shaped in a way that works well for your face, lifestyle, and profession.

When in doubt, I always recommend booking an appointment with a great barber or hairstylist who can help you choose the perfect haircut.