How to Get a 'Mad Men' Don Draper-Inspired Haircut

A Slick, Versatile Style That Means Business

Don Draper Haircut
Photo © Cindy Ord | Getty Images

The "Mad Men" Don Draper-inspired haircut is all the rage as a result of the popular show that revolves around Madison Avenue in the 1960s, but it has always been a stylish option. The haircut is basically a classic taper with a very clean, slick side part. This haircut is very versatile. You can wear the style, as actor Jon Hamm wears it on "Mad Men," in a formal fashion, slicked back with a neat side part, or you can wear it with a matte finish product for a less formal yet impeccably well-groomed look.

The style can also be worn with the top combed forward or tousled around loosely for a more casual look. There are lots of options in this classic style, which is one of the reasons it's so well-loved. Most guys get stuck wearing the same look every day, but this style allows you to get multiple looks out of the same haircut. Getting the look is easy once you know the tricks. After you get the classic Don Draper haircut, pair it with a sharp suit and you’re ready for business.

Get the Right Haircut 

It all starts with the haircut. For this one, you’ll need to find a barber (an old-school barber at that), one who knows how to do a properly tapered haircut. Finding the oldest barber around is a good strategy since he probably got a lot of practice doing tapered haircuts many years ago.

Have your barber cut the hair short on the back and sides (leaving enough length to comb back). The neckline should be left in a natural taper, and the top should be left longer.

Go with about one inch on the sides and back and at least three inches on top. You might ask your barber if your hair needs to be cut in a way that will allow it to part more easily since the part is key to the Don Draper haircut. Take a photo of Hamm as Draper to the barber to make sure he knows what you're after.

Learn How to Style It

For this style, you’ll need to go with a high-shine pomade. A good one to try is Suavecito Firme Hold Pomade. After shampooing, while your hair is still damp, apply a fairly liberal dose of pomade (a nickel-sized amount) and comb your hair straight back. Then create a side part on the left side of your head (or right if your hair parts better that way) by using a fine-toothed comb. To really pull off this style, the side part must be perfect; it needs to be straight and clean. 

Comb the hair from the part to the side while pushing the bangs up and back. If you notice you’re not getting enough height in the front, a blow dryer can be used to give you some lift. Using a brush, apply a little heat while directing the front up and to the side. If you’re concerned that the pomade won’t hold your hair in place, use a bit of strong-hold hairspray to set the style. If you have thick hair, choose a stronger product; if your hair is fine, go for a lighter product. 

Shampoo Often

Because you’re all pomaded up for this style, it's a good idea to wash your hair before bed every night because you don’t want your pillow to get all greasy and you don’t want styling product building up on your hair or scalp.

Shampooing your hair in the morning will also help eliminate any “bed head” and make styling easier. Because you'll be shampooing more frequently, it’s essential to use proper shampooing technique and products.