Swept-back hair is a romantic long hairstyle for men that has experienced renewed interest following the success of the British BBC series, Poldark. Indeed, Ross Poldark is a good-looking fellow and some of us have been inspired by the style.
In this guide, you will learn about long swept-back hair, whether it will suit you, and how to properly look after it:
- What Is Swept-Back Hair?
- How To Care For Long Swept-Back Hair
- How To Keep Long Hair Out Of Your Face
- Will A Swept-Back Hair Suit My Face Shape?
Simply use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to read it all.
Swept-back long hair on men is one of the most effective and minimalist styles available. Nevertheless, with what appears a simple gesture, you can reveal the richness and complex layers of your mane. It’s a simple yet elegant look, which denotes tradition and Renaissance vibes.
Arguably, it’s one of the oldest styles around given that unstyled long hair has been with us throughout history. Furthermore, the wearer can manipulate the hair throughout the day to slightly adjust its appearance according to their needs.
Long swept-back hair is rather romantic and has a particular allure when worn well with a carefully-curated wardrobe. It can be presented as a laid back, laissez-faire look or something much more refined.
Look After Long Swept-Back Hair
However, swept-back hair doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to skip on haircuts and save money! On the contrary, this hairstyle requires a lot of maintenance if you want to look good.
Firstly, you’ll want to invest in quality shampoo and conditioner as well as find the right balance in washing it. Men are often used to washing their hair every day but if you ask women how often they wash their hair, you’ll find that it’s a lot less!
This reduced amount of washing is important. Your scalp produces sebum, which is a natural oil that nourishes the hair. No matter its length, it produces the same amount, which is why short hair needs to be washed frequently to avoid looking greasy. Longer hair needs time between each wash so that the oils can naturally replenish the follicles.
Therefore, if you wash too often, you’ll risk developing dry and brittle hair.
Secondly, don’t skip on going to a stylist. Swept-back hair still needs to sculpted so that it’s not too long on the sides or too messy. Similarly, dead ends can make a beautiful mane look untidy so it’s worth getting them removed every now and then.
Finally, a long mane requires a lot of patience to grow out it would be a shame for it not to be worth the effort. After all, a man with long hair is a noble and distinguished gentleman.
How To Keep Long Hair Out Of Your Face
Although some may argue that swept-back hair is a lazy option, maintaining a long mane is far from easy. To stay in place, the weight of the hair will do much of the work with gravity.
However, hair product is recommended to keep it from getting unruly. Celebrities such as Shia LaBeouf Jared Leto often favour a dollop of gel. However, others like Kit Harrington will be more rationed in the use of product to emphasise its natural qualities. We recommend something like TIGI Bed Head wax, which produces a light hold and a natural, healthy shine.
Nevertheless, we suggest that you refrain from using too much hair product as it can quickly make the hair appear greasy rather than healthy.
Alternatively, cream and oils in small amounts offer the best balance between hold and free-flowing hair. Furthermore, these options provide a natural shine that improves volume and nourishes the hair. These are best massaged into your hair, which you brush to evenly distribute it.
Remember, as we highlight on our long hair page, it is absolutely vital to keep long hair not only clean but healthy. The use of conditioner is a must to retain volume and shine. Otherwise, the hair risks drying out, becoming brittle. Moreover, unhealthy hair is much more difficult to manage as the dryness causes unruly hair to become loose.
Finally, consider also blow-drying your hair after a shower while you brush it. This process will certainly help in directing the hair to sit in the desired direction.
Will Swept-Back Hair Suit My Face Shape?
Long swept-back hair can be styled differently according to the needs and limitations of different face shapes. 7 unique face shapes have been listed on Bespoke Unit to help you discover the best hairstyles for your own. If you don’t yet know your face shape, we suggest that you follow our identifying guide before you continue.
The following face shapes should have no issues in wearing long hair that’s swept back.
Heart Face Shapes
Heart shape faces can certainly benefit from long hair. For instance, long swept back hair will conceal their larger foreheads and provide volume down the sides.
Oval Face Shapes
There are few pitfalls for Oval face shapes when wearing this style. Just be sure that the texture isn’t too soft to avoid rounding off your features.
Triangle Face Shapes
Triangle face shapes can also use the volume of long hair to provide bulk on top and balance the proportions with their jawline.
The following face shapes may certainly be able to wear long, swept-back hair. However, we have a few styling tips that are worth reading beforehand.
Diamond Face Shapes
Swept-back long hair could certainly compliment a Diamond face shape’s proportions. Nonetheless, even in providing a soft contrast to their angular features, their structure may be too angular for such a stark difference.
Oblong Face Shapes
whilst an Oblong face shape can benefit from volume and length on the sides, it needs to be very careful to avoid any height. This can be sidestepped by brushing the hair back and styling naturally. However, care should be taken to avoid a flat finish.
Square Face Shapes
Square face shapes do all right with long hair. However, you may suffer when the hair is still growing. At jawline-level, the hair may widen your features. Nevertheless, if you keep it swept back, you can overcome this illusion.
Incompatible Face Shapes
The following face shape may struggle to wear long, swept-back hair. See our comments below to learn why.
Round Face Shape
However, despite the options available, dealing with the sheer volume and length of swept-back long hair can prove to be problematic. For instance, Round shape faces best steer clear of long hair styled this way. Its light textures and volume risk softening the faces features and rendering it even rounder.
I have a long head means my back side of my head is broad could you suggest me which hair style suits me
Most haircuts should be fine from behind no matter than shape of your skull.
How many inches do I need for my hair to be able to start styling like seen in the pictures?
I’d say from about four or five inches. How does that sound?
Hi, thanks for the posts. when you say the hair needs to be 4-5 inches is that all over? how long should the hair at the sides be?
No problem! Normally, swept back hair tends to be more-or-less the same length all over. You can shorten on the sides if your hair is particularly thick to avoid it sticking out like a mushroom, though. Mine used to be like that before it started thinning slightly on top so I would keep it very slightly shorter on the sides when I had longer hair to make it more manageable.
Hi I have a long face also quite thin face will long hair like a bob hairstyle suite me?
I don’t know if am saying it correct in English but I also got a very rigid hair texture also thick and little bit wavy hair.Long face/thin face shape like a quite sharp face and a thin sharp nose sharp jawline.Any thoughts that long hair like a bob hairstyle will suite me?
It might be difficult for a man with very thick hair to have a long hairstyle. I can speak from experience as I have also have thick hair and it was quite challenging.
Firstly, it requires a lot of patience to let it grow out. There will likely be a period where is grows outwards rather than downwards because thick hair tends to stand up rather than fall. Eventually, if you’re happy living through this phase, it can look great.
If you have a long oblong face shape, be careful that there is too much volume on the top as it can elongate your face. However, it can look pretty good as it provides volume to the sides.
The swept-back hairstyle as described here is a good option. You could always opt for a man-bun too but make sure that the “bun” is at the top of your head but at the back instead.
Hi, I have high cheekbones which makes my face appear wider at the top but very slim at the chin. The back of my head is also kind of flat. I want to grow out my hair, do you have any suggestions?
I would refer you to our face shapes guide here: https://bespokeunit.com/face-shapes/
My face is heart shaped and I’m looking to procure this style. How should I manage and position the side hair? Do I tuck all of them behind my ears, and also how long should my side hair be in particular, considering the fact that my face is heart shaped?
For heart-shaped faces, please check out our dedicated guide: https://bespokeunit.com/face-shapes/heart
Hello anyone, I have wide ears, with diamond face shape and broad forehead with small jawline. Should I do this hairstyle or do you recommend anything else?
Yeah, this should work. Don’t pull back too tight on the sides and you’ll be alright.
This site is very informative. I’m digging it. Are you guys able to tell me what shape my face is, and if continuing to try and grow my hair is worth it? I’ve always kept a fade, and just decided to try and grow it after cutting it off bald. But I’m getting frustrated with it and feel like cutting it.
You are the last line of defense for whether or not my hair makes it to my zumba class tonight, or if we part ways! You can see a few pics on twitter or IG and I’d love your feedback! I reached out to Jonathan Van Ness, but he ducked me. LOL.
Absolutely, we always respond to our comments!
After perusing your IG (I removed the handle in your comment for your privacy by the way), it strikes me that you have a textbook oblong face shape. Overall, it looks like you’re making the right steps by keep some volume on the sides and avoiding to much height on top. This should help offset and harmonise things nicely.
Feel free to head to the dedicated oblong face shape guide for more styling tips!
All the best,
Hi there, I am confused with my face shape sometimes it seems to be diamond sometimes seems to be square. I am confused. I hope you may help. Thank you.
It’s possible that you have a hybrid of the two. I recommend referring to both guides and using their advice for your own particular features.
All the best,
I just wanted to ask if you have any tips on how to avoid the ‘mullet’ look on the road to growing out this haircut.
Normally the top and sides are just as long as the back so it wouldn’t be a mullet in the strictest sense. That said, there is a “shit” stage as Stephen K. Amos would call it when growing out your hair. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done but you can use gel or wax to keep it neat.
I currently have a buzzcut as it’s quarantine due to the coronavirus . It’s currently 1/4 inch long. I have an oval shaped face and I have quite curly hair In order to go for the kit Harrington swept back hair style , is it fine to just grow out my hair from buzzcut straight to long hair? Or should I get my sides shortened along the way?
The sides are usually a bit shorter than the top. You can let it grow out until it starts looking untidy and just get subtle scissor cuts to neaten it along the way.
All the best,
I have long hair that’s reaches just below the nape of my neck and is quite thick and wavy (similar to timothee chalamet). This is my first time growing out my hair this long and since it’s thick it tends to fall in my face a lot. I was wondering how I can achieve the “effortless” look of swept back hair without constantly moving it out of my face. Thank you.
You can use a light gel, wax, or moose to help keep it in place. Make sure that you use very little to avoid it appearing greasy, though!
Hi may I ask what do I tell my barber to obtain the swept back hairstyle? I have been growing my hair for 1 year plus and I feel that I have outgrown this particular style. So may I ask what exactly should I tell my barber for a maintainance cut.
Just tell him that this is the style that you’re looking to obtain and that you’d like him to just trim the dead ends and help shape it towards this goal.
All the best,
Hi , I have kind of slim oblong face shape but it is narrow around the eyes and not straight line. I have fine hair what hairstyle would you recommend me.
Oblong face shapes don’t always have completely straight features. There’s often some differences in certain measurements.
All the best,
I have an oval face shape and would really love long hair, it’s receding a little at the top of my forehead but nothing too major, I also have quite thick hair and slightly wavey, especially as it gets longer. Would this style suit me or could you recommend anything else please?
Go for it!
I have a round face and I’d really like to try long hair but as I see, you do not recommend it. I am also a teenager who, naturally, has a thin, patchy beard (My cheek beards do not connect with my moustache and chin, which are also thin) and therefore I cannot grow a proper beard. (I always shave it off and many people say that I am better clean shaven) What are your suggestions for this round faced baby face teenager who wants to grow long hair?
Note: I also would not want a Undercut & Top Knot because I don’t think it would suit me *personally*. My current hairstyle is Side Part with quiff and short back & sides.
Thanks for your comment.
Bear in mind that this is just a guide. You don’t necessarily have to follow its advice and it won’t systematically be right.
You can try growing your hair out in phases with different styles along the way and see if they work for you. It might well look great!
Give it a shot and see what happens!
We have spoken before under this guide (https://bespokeunit.com/grooming/hair/long-styles/) and I had mentioned that I have a thick hair. Should I have my hair thinned with thinning scissors? Some people are against thinning scissors because they say that thinning scissors make hair look untidy and feeble. But I don’t think that I will succeed without thinning my hair. What is your opinion?
Yes, I remember our discussion.
I’m not fond of thinning scissors because it’s fine just after a haircut. However, it gets untidy a few weeks later when the short hairs start to grow back and poke out. They’re best avoided if possible because sometimes it can get so bad after a few trips that you’ll need to cut your hair short and start again.
All the best,
Also I’ve been growing it for 3 months and it’s currently impossible to sweep it back. No matter what I do, (wet, brush etc.) it insists on standing upright which results in a pompadourish appearance.
I don’t know what hair type you have so it’s hard to comment. You could wear it as a pompadour until it starts falling naturally with gravity, which may take some time. If you like, you can send a photo link (imgur, Flickr, Instagram, Google Drive) in your next comment and I’ll delete it when I reply so nobody else will see it.
All the best,
I have somehow managed to sweep it back. After growing a little bit longer, I spent minutes in the shower and finally swept it and it doesn’t stand upright anymore. The hard part is done, now the easy part. When the hair completely grows out, should I still sweep it back or part it on the side?
Great to hear that you’re getting there! How you brush it is completely up to you. You can brush it differently every day if you prefer! Try both and see which one you like the most.
All the best,