Often confused with a classic side part, the comb-over is a slightly longer men’s hairstyle that can be recognised by its emphasis on volume.
In this guide, you will learn about the comb-over, how to style a comb over, and the best styles for your face shape:
- What Is A Comb Over?
- Types Of Comb Overs
- How To Style A Comb Over
- Will A Comb Over Suit Me & My Face Shape?
Simply use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to read it all.
Once upon a time, the Comb Over was reserved for older, balding men. They tried to fool the world into believing they had a full head of hair but it never worked. The struggling timeless classic has since been appropriated by chic celebrities and hipsters into something a little more fashionable.
In short, a comb-over is a classic hairstyle is simply brushed with the hair’s natural growth. Using the parting, the hair is swept back and to the side, which emphasises volume and healthy hair growth.
Side Part Vs Comb Over
So what’s the difference between a Comb Over and Side Part? Well, not all that much, actually. A Side Part has a heavy accent on how the hair separates down the perennial ridge.
However, the Comb Over is usually longer and therefore emphasises volume on top and how the hair sweeps to the side. You can argue that the Comb Over has been with us forever because styling it only emphasises the natural growth.
Unlike a Side Part, the Comb Over is best achieved through the use of a blow dryer. For the finish, you opt for a matte finish with a small amount of hair wax as opposed to a pomade that leaves a shine. This is commonly referred to as a Loose Comb Over.
Types Of Comb Over Hairstyles
A Comb Over doesn’t necessarily exist alone and can be paired with a number of different styles to create a variety of variations. Naturally, a Comb Over can be paired with a Side Part. Hard Side Parts, where the parting is defined by a barber with the use of a razor blade, combine well with aggressive Fades and Undercuts.
Similarly, the top and sides can be separated using low disconnected Fades to widen the forehead. However, these approaches tend to work best with thick volume on top to create a slicked-back Comb Over countered by neat and tamed sides.
Alternatively, a Comb Over can feature more natural windswept look. The back and sides retain their volume and following our guide below, the hair can be loosely parted. To finish, rather than be pulled back hair, the front can fall forward into a mysterious Fringe.
How To Style A Comb Over
Ever wondered how to get that perfect Comb Over? It’s easy when you know-how.
The Easy Way To Find Your Parting
You may be surprised but your scalp does have a natural parting, which is determined by hair growth. Feel for the swirl at the back of your head (the Cowlick) and take note in which direction the hair grows. For instance, clockwise growth means that your part is on the life. Alternatively, if it’s counter-clockwise, that’s right, your part is on the right.
Brushing a Loose Comb Over
- For a Loose Comb Over, blow-dry your towel-dried hair after a shower to create extra volume.
- Work only a pea-sized amount of wax into your hair.
- Comb the hair neatly forward in the area you’d like your side part.
- Aim for a slightly diagonal parting that starts just under the Cowlick at the back and ends near the temple towards the front to compliment hair growth.
- Separate the hair with your fingers to retain a defined yet messy parting.
- Brush or style the rest of the hair with your fingers to achieve your desired look.
Finally, you can choose between either a natural finish by just using a blow drier or improve the hold with a small amount of wax. For a perfectly natural finish, we recommend TIGI Bed Head wax. Alternatively, Baxter of California’s clay pomade is worth trying too.
Will A Comb Over Suit My Face Shape?
Firstly, the Comb Over is a versatile hairstyle that provides volume, which flows with the hair’s natural growth. It can complement a face shape’s features or even provide texture, which redistributes the face’s proportions if needed.
We outline 7 individual face shapes, which each have a key role in determining how well certain styles may work for different men. If aren’t yet sure about face shape, quickly head to our identifying guide before you continue reading this section.
The following face shapes will face few issues in wearing a comb-over. Yet, we recommend that they read our styling tips beforehand!
Diamond Face Shapes
Diamond face shapes will benefit most from longer Comb Over styles. Try to keep volume on the sides to blend the ears in as well as some bulk near the temples to offset the cheekbones.
Heart Face Shapes
Heart face shapes can use the volume in a Comb Over to restore balance to their cheekbones whilst narrowing their foreheads. You’ll need volume on top that falls slightly over the forehead for this. Avoid high fades as this will reduce the jawline and cheekbone width even further.
Oval Face Shapes
Oval face shapes have the greatest amount of liberty with Comb Overs. You can enjoy experimenting with a combination of Fades and Undercuts as well as different lengths on top. Just be careful that the finish isn’t too soft or rounded to avoid losing definition in your features.
Square Face Shapes
Square shaped faces can experiment with different Comb Overs. However, try to keep fades relatively high and avoid anything too long that falls beyond the ears. This risks softening the features and rounding off your face shape.
Triangle Face Shapes
Triangle faces can try out different Comb Over styles but just need to steer clear of high Fades, which will reveal their jawline.
The following face shape can indeed wear a comb over but should be mindful of a few pitfalls beforehand.
Oblong Face Shapes
Oblong shaped faces can try out Comb Overs. Nonetheless, be very careful to retain a similar volume on the top and sides otherwise it will severely elongate the face
Incompatible Face Shapes
Unfortunately, the following face shape may struggle to style a comb over.
Round Face Shape
Round face shapes, unfortunately, best steer clear of Comb Overs as the volume along the ridges lacks the angles to square off the face. However, opting for a hard Side Part with extra length on top and an angular Fade will usually obtain the best results.
Now that you have learned all about comb-overs, check out more of our resources:
For an oblong face shape, do you recommend the side part be a little further away from the side to create more width? Think like this: https://www.undercuthair.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/hairstyle-for-oblong-face-men-oblong-face-hairstyles-oblong-oblong-face-hairstyles-men.jpg
Or this: https://imgur.com/PeobDem
I think the closer the side part is to the side of the head, the more width it will impart. However, you really can only “adjust” a side part as it usually runs along the perennial ridge of your head. I recommend trying both closer to the side and closer to the center of the head, perhaps getting the opinion of a trusted friend or loved one, and ultimately deciding which one you prefer.
Hello! Will a comb over be a good style for a man at Norwood Scale stage 4? Like a side part is.
Hey there Nikos,
We’ve covered this topic pretty extensively over on this hairstyle guide.