The comb-over style is one of the most popular men’s haircuts in the world. Timeless, elegant, edgy, and stylish, the right comb-over haircut has the power to transform your looks. Ironically, comb-over hairdos were once considered an aged and old-school style. However, in recent times, comb-over hairstyles are being re-invented into many modern and cooler variations. It’s a classic haircut that has kept up with the trends and has evolved over the decades. It’s so popular that many celebrities like Brad Pitt, Justin Timberlake, and Jon Hamm have sported this stylish hairstyle.
Comb over hairstyles are quite versatile – there is one for every face shape and hair type. One of the main reasons that contribute to its popularity is its adaptability and ease of styling. Whether you want a short comb-over or a longer one, it’s very easy to create and maintain this hairstyle. All you need is some good product, a blow dryer, and a comb to perfect even the most complicated comb-over.
But before we get into the different types of comb-overs, let’s talk about the length of your comb-over. As with any hairstyle, you should choose the length of your comb-over before deciding on the style you want. The main deciding factors should be your face shape, maintenance level, and your personality. Your place of work should also be considered as many companies don’t encourage their employees sporting long hair.
What Should You Choose: A Short Comb Over or A Long Comb Over?
A short comb-over is for men who want a stylish hairstyle that doesn’t require too much maintenance. Short comb over hairstyles are quite versatile – it can be styled in a number of ways. So, depending on the occasion, you can flaunt an edgy cut or a conventional look. Since it looks cool and clean-cut, short comb-overs work well for business professionals.
Long comb-overs involve shorter hair at the sides and longer hair at the top that sweeps to one side. Depending on your preference, you can keep the hair at the back cropped or long. While it requires higher levels of maintenance, a longer comb-over will shape and define your facial structure very well. Of course, this style works best for men who don’t work in offices with strict HR policies.
However, with so many variations, it’s important to understand the distinctions between one style to another. Since comb over haircuts are quite versatile, you can style them in different ways for different occasions. They’re also very adaptable – you can flaunt a beard or go clean-shaven to ace this look. So, let’s check out some of the hottest comb over hairstyles for men.
The Classic Comb Over
All Mad Men fans can rejoice! Despite being in style for decades, the classic comb-over will probably never become outdated. The biggest reason is that it’s both traditional and universal, making it appropriate for any workplace. This quintessential hairstyle usually has a slightly tapered back and sides. The length of the hair at the top is relatively long, making it easier to neatly comb over with a hair gel that offers a stronger hold.
The Modern Comb Over
If you love the classic comb-over, give it a fresh twist by wearing your typical comb over with a modern update. The difference between the classic comb-over and its modern version is the hard part. Your barber will create a hard part by shaving off a few inches along the part line. While it may seem insignificant, a hard part will make your comb-over look extremely dapper and sharp.
Although it requires more maintenance, a hard part accentuates your jawline and provides some much-needed contrast to the traditional haircut. Choosing a hard part in the comb-over will automatically draw attention to your well-defined hairline. It’ll also complement your facial features and make the haircut look more interesting.
The Comb Over Fade
The comb-over fade is a hairstyle that features side-swept hair along with shorter strands on the side. However, in this style, the hair gets progressively shorter towards the neck and sides, hence the “fade”. Faded comb overs look refined, slick, and offer a good contrast to this relatively simple hairstyle. It also attracts more attention to the top portion of your hair. You can ask your barber to customize the fade to your liking. Broadly, there are two kinds of fades: high and low.
The High Fade Comb Over
A high fade consists of thicker hair at the top that quickly moves towards shorter hair. The fades end fast, making the hairstyle look edgy and extreme. You can also use high fades to express yourself by creating interesting hair designs or making space for your tattoos. Depending on your hairstyle, the fade can appear at the back or the sides of your head. You can ask for a specific type of high fade according to your preference.
The Razor Fade Comb Over
The razor fade is for those who want to flaunt a sexier version of the classic high fade comb-over. In this style, the hair gradually tapers down to the scalp at the sides and the back. Razor fades look very similar to an undercut. However, these fades taper down and are created using a straight razor. Razor fades work very well with different styles of comb-overs.
The Bald Fade or Skin Fade Comb Over
Also known as the skin fade, the bald fade comb-over is the ultimate bad boy hairstyle. If you want to convey a rebellious attitude, the bald fade comb-over is for you. This is a type of high fade where the hair tapers quickly and blends into the bare skin.
It’s heavily inspired by military haircuts so you can expect clean cuts and streamlined silhouettes. However, you can play with the style, length, and texture of the comb-over. Since it ends higher than your ears or neck, there is a lot more prominence to your comb-over.
The Low Fade Comb Over
The low fade is a conservative style as your hair starts to tapers near your ears and neck. Since these fades are much less noticeable, they look subtle and seasoned. However, if you want your comb-over fade to look both prominent and professional, opt for a medium fade. Offering a good balance between the two, a masculine medium fade lets you express yourself without seeming too drastic.
The Drop Fade Comb Over
A trendy iteration of the low fade, the drop fade is a popular choice that makes the classic low fade look cooler. In this style, the fade follows the hairline and “drops” as it crosses the ear. So, the result is that it forms an even and symmetrical arc across the sides. At the back, the fade starts below the occipital bone to ensure a neat silhouette. The clean aesthetics of the drop fade makes it a favorite among men who are looking for something fresh and understated.
The Burst Fade Comb Over
Also known as the South of France fade, the burst fade became extremely popular after R&B singer Usher Raymond adopted it. Like the drop fade, the burst fade follows the hairline and narrows it behind the ear. However, the shape created at the sides is more rounded, like a sun rising behind the ear. The burst fade adds a unique dimension to your low fade cut without being too bold. It’s best suited for men who want something experimental and office-friendly.
The Undercut Comb Over
This is another popular hairstyle that looks very modern and trendy. The contrast of a very short undercut and the comparatively longer side-swept hair makes this style attractive, exciting, and powerful. The undercut works well for men who want to look fashionable and bold.
Combining an undercut with a comb-over pulls attention to your facial features. Based on your hairstyle, you can have an undercut at the sides or at the back. Your barber can also create a hard part comb-over by shaving a few inches along the part for a pronounced side sweep.
The Slick Back Comb Over
Like the traditional comb-over, the slick back style was once popular in the ‘50s. Making its comeback along with the comb-over, this hairstyle has been trending for the past few years. It offers stunning visual contrast by combining a conservative comb-over style with an exciting slick back look.
The slick back style works well for men with medium or long hair. If you’re looking for a sophisticated look, maintain the length of both the sides and the top. If you want your style to lean towards a hipster cool look, choose cropped sides and a lengthier top. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this hairstyle.
The Pompadour Comb Over
At its core, the pompadour hairstyle is characterized by sweeping hair upwards and towards the sides. When you combine the pompadour with the comb-over, you get a dramatic hairstyle that suits most face types. The sides are usually short, clean, and tight while the top portion remains long and stylish.
A pompadour that is properly styled can define your face and enhance your appearance. You can easily style a messier and voluminous pompadour by using a loose-hold pomade. If you prefer a slicker and tighter pompadour, use a blow dryer and a strong-hold hair gel.
The Spiky Comb Over
Another creative and popular twist to a short haircut is the spiky comb-over. This look is all about the rebellious youthful energy that comes with an edgy and spunky attitude. Since the spikes are eye-catching, keep the sides and the back clipped and neat. For lighter and looser spikes, you should start by blow drying wet hair and applying some wax or wet hair gel. You can use your fingers to tousle your hair and shape it into spikes. If you want tighter spikes, apply more wet gel and use a fine-tooth comb to sweep your hair upwards.
The Ivy League Comb Over
Also called the Harvard clip or the Princeton cut, the Ivy League comb-over is a cross between the classic crew cut and the side part. This variation of the comb-over accentuates your facial features. In this haircut, the top is left with more length while the sides and the back are cut short.
Although, this is a general rule of thumb as this Ivy League hairstyle can be customized to your liking. It’s important to note that the hair tapers at the back, sides, and the top. The clean-cut and streamlined look of this style makes it perfect for any occasion. This versatile hairstyle is for men who want to look classy and refined.
The Comb Over Cowlick
A cowlick is basically a lock of hair that stands upright or goes against the direction of the rest of the hair. A person can have a couple of cowlicks and it can be situated at any part of the head. While it’s usually seen as a negative aspect, the modern way to manage cowlicks are to incorporate them in your hairstyle.
Thanks to the unruly nature of these tufts, cowlicks offer depth and texture to your comb-over hairstyle. If you wear tousled hair, your cowlicks aren’t going to stand out. However, if you must stiffen your mane, use a strong-hold gel and comb them down.
The Long and Loose Comb Over
This comb-over style is for men who don’t like to color within the lines. Just like your personality, this haircut is bold, fierce, and charming at the same time. It’s less about taming your hair and more about letting it loose. You can add some volume to your hair by using a blow dryer and a light pomade. Ask your barber to add some texture to your locks for an extra dimension to your look. You can choose an undercut, fade or a buzz cut for the sides and the back. The best part about the long and loose comb-over is that you can change your hairstyle whenever you want.
The Comb Over for Colored Hair
It’s become increasingly common for men to bleach and color their hair as a form of expression. Colored hair ranging from platinum blond to bright purple offers a canvas for a stunning comb-over. Opting for a comb-over will shine a spotlight on your hair color, making it more striking, distinct, and pronounced. If you choose a voluminous comb-over, you can have a contrasting hair color to attract more attention to your hairdo. On the other hand, you can use highlights to make a simple comb over look more fascinating.
The Comb Over For Curly Hair
Comb over haircuts can also be enjoyed by men with curly hair. In fact, your curly mane would look wonderful when they’re combed over. That’s because curly hair contains a lot of natural volume and bounce. Of course, you want the focus to be on your comb-over. So, let your curls shine by choosing an undercut or cropped sides. Add extra depth to your look by asking your barber to create some texture in your hair. It doesn’t matter if you choose a short comb-over or a longer one. Always remember to embrace your curls instead of fighting against them. However, use more product and a blow dryer to tame your hair into the desired style.
The Comb Over with Beards
The combination of the comb-over with a beard works well as it looks stylish, sexy, and sophisticated. That’s because the comb-over looks refined and elegant while the beard looks rugged and masculine. The best part is that this style will suit almost every face shape.
A beard looks good with any type of comb-over, so feel free to experiment with your comb-over haircuts. You can also turn it into an edgy look by throwing in a fade or an undercut. Make it work for an official environment by sporting a short and well-groomed beard.
How To Properly Style A Comb Over?
The comb-over hairstyle is one of the easiest to master. Nevertheless, you need to practice it a couple of times before you can design it as well as a professional. One of the best aspects of a comb-over haircut is that you can style it quickly and effortlessly. It just takes a few steps to get a perfectly styled comb-over haircut.
Depending on the type of comb-over you want, you will need to use a comb, blow dryer, and the right hair product. If you want a neat and tight comb-over, you should use a fine-tooth comb. If you prefer a loose or wavy comb-over, choose a wide-tooth comb instead. However, if you have thick hair, it’s better to use a brush or a wide-tooth comb at all times. As for the product, it depends on your hair type and the hold you’re after. Depending on the style you want, you can use a good-quality pomade, wax, clay, paste or putty.
If you have washed your hair, the first step is to dry your hair with a towel. If you want to have some volume in your hair, you should also use the blow dryer on your hair. Notice that your hair will start looking fluffier and naturally voluminous. However, you don’t want your hair to be completely dry or dripping wet. Your hair just needs to be mildly damp to achieve the best result.
Once your hair is mostly dry, take a small amount of your hair product and apply it on your hair. If you’re using a solid product, like the pomade, paste, clay or wax, warm it between your hands before running it through your hair. Evenly spread the product throughout your hair with your fingers. If you want a tighter comb-over, you should avoid lifting up the strands too much. If you want to infuse more volume, tousle your hair with your fingers before using the comb to enhance the height.
The next step is to determine your part line. Once you have a rough idea, use the comb to separate the hair into two parts. Many men are often unsure about the right place to part their hair. If you feel the same, experiment with different part lines to find out the one that suits you best. While it depends on your hairstyle, you can also divide the hair at the natural part line for an amazing result. Gently push the hair strands to the side without disturbing the overall appearance.
It’s now time to style your hair. When you style a comb-over, you can do it in two ways: stiff and compact or loose and relaxed. Before you start shaping your hair, decide the right type of comb-over based on the occasion. You should start by combing the back and the shorter side while defining the part. For a tight comb-over, use a fine-tooth comb to push your side-swept hair straight across the side.
For a lighter and cleaner comb-over, use a wide-tooth comb to brush your hair diagonally backward and comb the front portion upwards. This will help create volume at the front while keeping the back and the other side intact. If you are after a messier comb-over, use your fingers to work the side-swept hair and shape it accordingly.
What Is The Right Comb Over Haircut For You?
Every man is unique, so the haircut that looks good on your friend won’t necessarily suit you. However, when it comes to your hairdo, there is never a right or wrong approach. It’s really up to you: you can play it safe or you can go all out. No matter what your perspective, an iteration of the comb-over haircut is the right choice for you. Since it’s very adaptable, comb-over hairdos can be styled to suit any personality, face shape, and occasion.
You’re bound to find the right one from the above list of trending comb over styles for men. After all, there are so many exciting variations and combinations to check out. So, keep experimenting and keep falling in love with your comb-over haircuts.