#1 Guide To Men’s Haircuts & Speaking To Your Barber

#1 Guide To Men’s Haircuts & Speaking To Your Barber2018-06-13T00:18:18+00:00

Bespoke Unit's World Best Guide on Men's Hairstyles

A Man Getting Beard Trim At Barber Shop July 2017Gentleman, never underestimate the importance of a haircut. Your choice of hairstyle is absolutely pivotal in the way the world perceives you.

Shakespeare’s Polonius may have professed that the apparel oft proclaims the man (clothes make the man). Yet, he neglected to consider what his entourage saw of him during his self-absorbed monologue.

In the following guide, we will cover in detail the importance of a haircut, how to properly speak to your barber and present the hairstyles we cover in detail at Bespoke Unit.

5 Steps In Getting The Best Haircut For You

  1. The Importance of a Haircut
  2. The Harmony of a Haircut
  3. Hairstyle Personas
  4. Communicating To Your Barber In 5 Steps
  5. Closing Thoughts & Our Hairstyles

You can scroll down to keep reading or jump straight to one of the sections listed above if you’re in a hurry.

The Importance Of A Haircut

Contemplate on the following example: You’re preparing for an important client meeting or job interview. You’ve ticked all the boxes with a perfectly structured presentation, crisp white shirt and carefully selected tie. However, you haven’t invested the time for a trip to the barber’s in weeks.

When you reach across to shake your client or potential employer’s hand, he or she will look you in the eyes. As you talk, he or she will be scrutinising your facial expressions. It can’t be stressed enough that it isn’t just your body language or the way you dress that reflects the character you exude.

A Man In Suit With Bad Haircut July 2017Consider also that according to a 2009 Axe survey, nearly 74% of women agree that hair is the first things they notice about a man. If you think about it, a job interview is very much like a first date.

A man’s personality and character is exuded through his choice of haircut. Hair is the leading influence that defines first impressions.

Furthermore, the care he takes of his hair is an important factor. Granted, you can let your hair grow naturally. However, if you neglect it, it will show.

Nevertheless, we acknowledge and emphasise that your attire indeed plays a vital role in your appearance. However, all the components work together in unison to paint the complete portrait. Consider the ensemble and how it the hair functions. It can complement your attire or provide contrast.

The Harmony of the Haircut

Contrast is not a negative trait that should be avoided. Ask yourself what personality traits you wish to project and scrutinise its weaknesses. A hairstyle that contrasts with your clothing adds an element of complexity to your character. However, the overall ensemble should always be concluded with a harmonious finish.

A Bearded Man Haircut Barber Shop July 2017Keep in mind various factors such as the workplace, your activities and the frequency of attending formal events. Do you often find yourself at the centre of public attention and under scrutiny? Perhaps you avoid the limelight in favour of an office setting? Have you a penchant for sports or outdoor activities? Remember that your choice of hairstyle can either project or indeed downplay these traits.

Likewise, your hair’s length contributes to how people’s opinions are influenced by your appearance. A number of studies have indicated that men with short hair, which is longer at the front such as a Fringe, Pompadour or Faux Hawk, are seen as confident and handsome. However, they can appear to be more egotistical. However, men with medium length hair paired with a Side Part have been considered clever and well-qualified. Yet, they can seem intolerant. Finally, men with long hair can be viewed as amiable but less intelligent.

Assuredly, this prejudice is rife with stereotyping. Nonetheless, we cannot avoid human instinct based on social constructs. The above perceptions indicate the extent that a hairstyle will affect your influence on your entourage. It is therefore essential that all contributing factors are taken into account to create a coordinated projection of your true identity. This includes everything from the suit and its fit, your shirt / tie combination, watch and choice of shoes.

Consequently, adopt an architectural stance to a haircut rather than treating it as a mere gardening chore. Select and adapt a hairstyle that irons out negative traits that may be projected by your wardrobe and vice versa. Ask yourself what character you currently exude. Consider ways to adjust this and reinforce the personality traits that you want people to notice.

Men’s Hairstyle Personas

If this seems overwhelming, try dividing hair styling into our simple CARVE categories that summarise their mood.


A Fashionable Man In Suit & Straightening Tie July 2015
A subdued and minimalist approach. Classic looks seek to adopt well-balanced and recognised styles. These aren’t necessarily conservative but fit in well to most environments and most importantly the workplace. The key is bringing out elegance through simplicity.

Aggressive, angular haircuts are avoided in favour or softer finishes that resonate well with reserved tailoring. Appropriate styles include Side Parts or Comb Overs with moderate Fades.


A Football Soccer Player Striking Ball July 2017
You have a penchant for streetwear, which is comfortable as it is stylish. The objective is to highlight an appreciation of sports and outdoor activities. You feel at home in a suit as long as it’s assorted with a pair of Stan Smiths.

Haircuts are practical but reflect your energy and zeal. Buzz Cuts, Crew Cuts, energetic Faux Hawks or even Top Knots are your playground.


A Rugged Bearded Hipster With Axe July 2017
You’re a tough nut with a soft interior. You’ve probably grown out a beautiful beard, which has been assorted with upturned Levi’s and a lumberjack shirt. You enjoy the outdoors whether it’s for a hike or chopping wood.

You enjoy hairstyles that are well-kempt with a brawny touch. These may usually come with a Fade or Undercut and featuring  FringesSide Parts, Pompadours, or even a daring Man Bun.


A Romantic Man in Staircase July 2017
Whether thrifted or bespoke, you love wearing attire with a bit of history and accessorising accordingly. You’re a man out of time and look towards the past with an air of nostalgia.

You enjoy hairstyles that are appropriated from history but could carry a revised flair. These may include Side Parts, Fades, Pompadours, Undercuts, Loose Comb Overs and even Long Swept Back Hair.


A Tailored Jacket & Suit On Mannequin July 2017
You’re adventurous and love the limelight. Your wardrobe is bold, high fashion and your enjoy creating complex styles in your ensembles. You need something that displays your wild side but manages to rein you in.

Like your attire, you could consider combining a variety of styles. Using elements from the Undercut, Pompadour, Fringe, Man Bun, Faux Hawk may be to your palate.

How To Communicate With Your Barber In 5 Easy Steps

You may not have yet decided on your haircut but it’s essential to communicate well with your expert of choice. Prevent disappointment and get an idea of what you like by learning how to present a haircut to your barber.

If all else fails, download a few images on your phone beforehand. However, avoid vague statements such as “short back and sides”. Be precise as these statements are very subjective between barbers.

1. Ask Your Barber What They Can Do For You

Although this may make you feel like preparation and research is futile, but simply asking your barber for advice is vital. You may have spent hours reading through guides like ours to put together what may be your perfect haircut. However, ask your barber what they think is best and trust their expertise. They have the experience in cutting countless heads of hair to be able to make recommendations.

Don’t be crushed if it turns out that he or she believes that what you want may not work for you. It avoids dissatisfaction with a disappointing end result and a breach of trust with your barber. After all, you’ll be putting yourself into their hands so learn to value their expert opinion.

2. Establish The Style’s Mood With Keywords

Take a leaf out of the advertising industry’s book and associate the style you want with keywords that denote mood. Think of it like a Google search or setting a film scene to paint a picture for your barber. Either use the CARVE categories above or other buzz words such as: romantic, hipster, retro, fashionable, conservative. Don’t hesitate to use films or actors as examples. As you read on, you’ll notice that we do that a lot ourselves!

3. Indicate The Length

Not everyone can measure inches with their eyes and it’s unlikely you’ll be carrying a tape measure on you. Nevertheless, the definition of a “trim” is very subjective. Use clipper guard numbers as a guide if you are familiar with them. If you’re not sure, ask the barber to see the guards and compare. However, if you have longer hair, show the barber by holding a few strands in different areas between your fingers.

If you’re both still unsure, ask the barber if he or she is comfortable with reducing the length until you’re happy. Better to not cut enough rather than too much.

4. Top Finish

Be familiar with how the barber will finish the hair once it’s at the right length and choose the technique you prefer. These provide different resulting textures and layers so it’s best to have an idea beforehand.

  • Choppy: The barber cuts the hair at 45° angles at different lengths to provide a varied texture. This creates the illusion of volume and makes it easy to style messy looks.
  • Layered: This is cutting so that long hair rests on top of short hair. It’s an ideal technique for thinning hair as it creates the appearance of depth and volume.
  • Thinned: The barber uses thinning scissors to reduce volume. These resemble the love-child of between a pair of scissors and a comb. It selectively reduces length and thus thins the hair. It’s great for thick hair but be aware that the hair will grow out unnaturally over time with stray strands.
  • Razored: The barber reduces volume and sculpts the hair with a razor blade. It’s a technique that requires a professional touch. However, it’s the best way to thin out and flatten hair so it can grow back naturally.

5. Back & Sides Finish

Learn the basic techniques that the barber can use to finish the back and side’s length and hairlines. They may feel like an afterthought but bear in mind that although you won’t see the back, everyone else will.


This is the way that the hair length diminishes down the back and sides. It’s often referred to as a Fade and can come as High, Medium and low.

Bespoke Unit Graphic Guide To Men's High Low Fade Levels

Please refer to our dedicated page on Fades to understand how to make it work for your face shape.


This concerns the way the back of the neck is perfected. It can come in three forms; blocked, rounded and tapered.

  • Blocked: A blocked nape is good for thin necks but can quickly appear unruly as it grows out. It requires frequent visits to the barber’s for a touch-up.
  • Rounded: The Rounded nape is simply a blocked but without the edges. It’s less angular but still requires regularly revisions to keep it clean.
  • Tapered: The most common finish, which is often paired with a Fade on sides. As it follows the natural hairline, it’s less noticeable when it grows out. It’s also great for making thick necks appear narrower.

Bespoke Unit Graphic Guide To Men's Taper Blocked Rounded Nape


The arches dictate how the trim follows the hairline around the ears. You can trim them with a high arch, which is ideal for smaller ears and offers a very neat finish. However, like blocked napes, they grow out badly. A natural arch is where hair simply follows the hairline. This grows out well and can be forgiving during long periods between haircuts.

Bespoke Unit Graphic Guide To Men's Hair Arches

Side Burns:

Be sure to ask your barber how your want your side burns finished if you’re clean shaven. We cover this in much more detail on our dedicated Sideburns guide. However, if you are considering a beard instead, read all about them and discover how to adapt beards for your face shape.

Final Thoughts & Haircut Families

After familiarising yourself with the anatomy of a haircut as described above, it might be time to decide on the style your want! All hairstyles are broken down into families by length, which you can discover by clicking on the relevant titles below. Alternatively, you can jump straight to the hairstyle you want to learn about.

Short Length Hairstyles

What Is A Men's Shaved Head Style
What Is A Buzz Cut Hairstyle Graphic
What Is A Caesar Hairstyle Graphic

What Is A Fade Crew Cut Hairstyle Graphic
What Is A Side Part Hairstyle Graphic

Medium Length Hairstyles

What Is A Comb Over Hairstyle Graphic
What Is A Faux Hawk Hairstyle Graphic
What Is A Fringe Hairstyle Graphic

What Is A Pompadour Hairstyle Graphic
What Is An Undercut Hairstyle Graphic

Long Length Hairstyles

What Is A Man Bun Top Knot Hairstyle Graphic
What Is A Swept Back Long Hairstyle Graphic

Before you continue, it’s highly recommended that you are aware of your face shape as we’ve outlined 7 face shapes in detail. This plays an important role in assessing how well a hairstyle may suit your facial proportions, which we discuss in each guide. If you haven’t already, consider identifying your face shape.

Despite the rigid guidelines described above and with each style, feel free to follow them liberally and experiment. The greatest discoveries were made by accident and to quote the wise words of Sammy Davis Jr, “When you lose a lover it’s like getting a bad haircut. It grows back in time.”



  1. Emery Jean Chambers May 9, 2018 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    My brother is planning to get his haircut again and asked me what I think is the best style for him. I wanted to help out, so I decided to research since, to be honest, I do not know what will suit him. I’m not a professional. That is why I liked your suggestion of seeking the help of professional haircutters as they have experienced dealing with countless heads, and they can easily tell which will go best for who. Thanks! I’ll advise him.

    • Charles-Philippe May 11, 2018 at 4:20 am - Reply

      Hi Emery,

      Absolutely! When in doubt, ask the pros! And even if you do have a specific idea in mind, it’s worth listening if they have any objections because it may make or break your cut.



  2. Carlos Alvarez July 19, 2018 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Thanks for this excellent guide. I’ve really wanted an undercut for years but never found the right way to approach it with my barber. Now I have one and it looks great. I also showed my barber your site. He was really impressed!

    • Charles-Philippe July 19, 2018 at 9:58 am - Reply

      Hi Carlos,

      Our series of guides was written for people just like you! But getting a compliment from a barber is the highest form of praise that we could hope for!



  3. Ellen Hughes October 15, 2018 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    I do like that you pointed our barbers have the expertise that you can trust when it comes to finding the best haircut for you. This is something that I will make sure to share with my son because he’d like to have his hair trimmed and restyled. He said that he can’t decide which haircut will best work for him, so I’ll find a reliable barbershop for him.

    • Charles-Philippe October 16, 2018 at 2:26 am - Reply

      Hi Ellen,

      It does sound like stating the obvious but it’s easy to forget that barbers aren’t just trained in this but they do it everyday!



  4. Mark Dent October 22, 2018 at 1:48 am - Reply

    This is an ultimate post! Hence I like to grow beards, these tips are actually what I wanted to have, in consult of my beard grooming. I love using beardilizer products to grow my beard as it is in fashion trend right now.

    • Charles-Philippe October 22, 2018 at 3:37 am - Reply

      Hi Mark,

      Check out our actual beard guides for more information about this rather than a breakdown on haircuts. Never heard of Beardilizer but we’ll check it out and review it for its quality rather than whether it’s currently a trend.



  5. Sharon Wilson-Smith November 12, 2018 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    I like that you said that you can ask a barber if they can reduce the length of your hair until you’re satisfied. My husband is planning to have his hair trimmed soon. He doesn’t want to end up with a too short haircut, so he’d like to be extra careful in having his haircut. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Charles-Philippe November 13, 2018 at 6:00 am - Reply

      Hi Sharon,

      Happy to help. It’s usually a safe play to do it this way. Otherwise, if it’s too short, you’ll have to wait for another shot!



  6. Willie Coyle November 22, 2018 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    Hey …Thanks for sharing this informative post. I always wanted to change my hairstyle but I was never sure that which hairstyle will suit me. But, after reading this blog, lots of my confusions got resolved. Now, I will look for some professional barber for my hairstyle. Great post. Keep sharing more information about hairstyles and haircuts.

    • Charles-Philippe November 23, 2018 at 4:20 am - Reply

      Hi Willie,

      Glad to hear that this guide was helpful for you. Let us know if there’s anything else that you need.



  7. Fernando January 4, 2019 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Is there any place where I can go to talk with a hairstyle specialist? I feel pressured when I have to talk to the barber in the middle of the people wating for him to finish my haircut hahah

    • Paul Anthony January 5, 2019 at 6:49 am - Reply

      Dear Fernando,

      You can always ask your favorite barber out for a coffee on you before or after work, or even ask them when it’s slow so you can have a proper chat.

      If that’s awkward for you at your current location, maybe look into a different barber or even salon. They may be more pricey, but you should get more time.

      Aside from that there are some great forums online and in Facebook you can post images and questions, but be prepared for some people to be not so nice. But I say f**k ’em!

      Hope that helps, and all the best – Paul

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