Each historical period features at least some form of mane. Men have oscillated between long and short hair for various reasons such as status, hygiene, religion or simply practicality.
In this guide, you will learn a bit about the history of men’s long hair, easy hair care for men and discover the relevant hairstyles we cover in detail.
Just scroll down to keep reading. Otherwise, jump straight to a section if you’re in a hurry:
Men’s Long Hair Through The Ages
The Ancient Egyptians were one of the first notable civilisations to crop or even shave their heads. Yet they’d wear wigs that would vary in length according to status. The symbolic duality of long hair set against short hair is prevalent throughout our short history.
Needless to say, men’s long hairstyle have come and gone throughout history. The Romans were fervent advocates of short hair. It was their belief that long hair was a hallmark of uncultured barbarians. Roman men considered personal grooming to be a hallmark of a sophisticated civilisation.
Slave hairdressers called Ornatrices would usually style their wealthy master’s hair. However, the common man would prefer the social environment of the Tonstrina or barbershop. Conversely, the Gauls believed that long, braided hair indicated status and good health.
Throughout the Middle Ages, hair length would fluctuate according to the fashions of the time. Frank kings such as Charlemagne would famously grow impressive and wavy manes, which were typically associated with power.
Merovingian kings would prefer death before a humiliating haircut, which indicated the loss of their claim to the throne. However in the 11th Century, Pageboy hairstyles featuring cropped hair and fringes crept into fashion. This can be seen worn by the Normans in the Bayeux Tapestry.
From The Renaissance To The French Revolution
With the Renaissance came a period of Greco-Roman revival. Hair would start to be cropped shorter again for its association with a cultured civilisation. Henry VII, for example, would have hair cut to just below the ear. However, Henry VIII’s hair would only get shorter as he aged (probably due to Syphilis).
Across the channel, however, Louis XIII of France sought to conceal his premature baldness and the wig began to appear. Men’s long hairstyles at least worn as wigs surged in popularity across Europe especially through his son and successor, Louis XIV.
Perukes or periwigs would endure the 17th Century among the privileged. However, the common man could only grow his hair long with a small ponytail at the back. He’d make create the illusion that this was a wig with the use of white powder. However, in late 18th Century UK, white hair powder started being taxed. Aristocrats such as the Duke of Bedford retaliated by cropping their hair short in protest.
Nevertheless, the styles have since given birth to iconic revisionist looks, which can be seen in film and TV. From Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon to Pirates of the Caribbean, modernised long hairstyles are everywhere.
Its sinister death rattle peaked during the French Revolution’s aftermath under Robespierre known as the Terror. Before execution, aristocrats would have the hair shorn off at the back so the guillotine would work its magic unimpeded.
Shortly after Robespierre’s own execution, surviving aristocrats organised grandiose gatherings known as the Bals des Victimes. Both male and female guests would arrive with hairstyles inspired by this, which were coined as the “coiffure à la victime”. They became enormously popular and prompted a long return to short hairstyles in men’s fashion.
Modern Long Hairstyles For Men
The second half of the 20th Century witnessed the return of long hair. However, it became a countercultural symbol of masculinity. Young men became anti-establishment and sought emancipation from imposing social constraints of the Second World War’s aftermath. From Hippies to Heavy Metal and Grunge, long hair became the rebel’s mane.
However, long hair also garnered an association with these musical subcultures. Up until the early 2010s, long-haired men have been negatively associated with social outcast stereotypes from an outdated era. In 2003, only a meagre 0.18% of men wore their hair shoulder-length or longer. However, that number has surely increased in more recent years.
Nevertheless, with the rise of the Man Bun and Top Knot, long hair has experienced its overdue renaissance. With ambassadors such as Kit Harrington, Harry Styles and Jared Leto, it’s easy to see why a man might want to be something of a rarity and show off his healthy mane.
Long hairstyles for men can come in many forms. Most barbers recognise that long hair is no less than 6 inches in length. It can be neat, clean and properly groomed. Alternatively, it can be left to follow its natural course for a dishevelled look. More fashionable styles today edge towards emphasising the hair’s natural aspect. We often see flowing layers and movement, which is simply swept back.
Long Hair Care For Men
Growing your hair long requires only one thing and that is considerable patience. You may hear of various old wive’s tales on how to grow it faster such. These can consist of magic potions and regular brushing, but there is little evidence that these work at all. The only advice we can offer here is to be patient, grasshopper.
When you’ve reached your desired length, don’t hesitate to head to a barber’s just to have those dead ends taken away. It neatens the finish and keeps the hair clean. Be very clear that you don’t want any length actually removing. Otherwise all that hard work might end up being for nothing!
We men may be reluctant to reach for hair-care products because we’re anxious that this will somehow undermine our masculinity. Sure, you could go for the very manly-named alternatives but behind the packaging, they’re often the exact same thing.
Although it won’t make your hair grow any faster, brushing is a primordial requirement for long hair. If you don’t brush, you’ll find yourself very quickly in a matted, tangled hair. Tangles are also particularly prominent if you don’t clean your hair properly. Creams and oils in small amounts can be used for extra shine and volume. Furthermore, they can be applied for styling and to give the wearer some extra control when he wants to brush it in a particular way. Just be mindful not to use too much to avoid appearing like a seagull caught in an oil spill.
Shampooing Long Hair
Making sure that your hair is as healthy as it is clean requires the appropriate amount of washing. And contrary to popular belief, shampooing is probably a lot less frequent than you think. In fact, only a very small portion of people actually need to shampoo on a daily basis. For example, people with fine hair, an oily scalp, living in humid areas or exercise a lot may need to shampoo daily.
The scalp produces a natural oil called sebum that nourishes and protects the hair. It’s a by-product that makes the hair shine and creates volume so needs to be preserved when possible. Shampoo works by trapping oils. Therefore, if you use it too frequently, the result leaves you with very dry hair, which breaks and tangles.
Men with short hair can get away with daily shampooing because the scalp needs less time to replenish it with oils. However, men with long hair need to find that balance, which is often no more than three or four times a week.
Whilst shampoo cleans the hair by essentially stripping it of oils, conditioner replenishes it. Again, this is something that may cause men to turn their nose up but conditioner is absolutely vital if you want to keep your long hair looking healthy. Remember that long hair is supposed to look dignified on a man and not wilting like a dying indoor plant!
What Are The Different Long Hairstyles For Men?
You can read all about specific long hairstyles by clicking on one of the appropriate icons below. However, please take note that we’ve categorised 7 face shapes, which play a deciding factor in determining how each style may suit men differently.
If you don’t yet know your face shape, we strongly recommend you identify it before you continue reading.