Grooming

Baby, Baby, Baby, No: A Retrospective on Justin Bieber's Hair

From a swoop to a messy spike, the journey to an adult haircut is a complex one.
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T.S. Eliot has a four-word quote that sums up the world pretty perfectly: life is very long. While it may seem that time moves too damn quickly, I'd like to argue otherwise. Life drags on so monotonously that it's practically a rope begging us to hang ourselves. A long life is just an opportunity to make mistake after mistake. But if approached with caution, it can also be an opportunity to grow. The one example that highlights all of the above is the hair evolution of Justin Bieber.

Debuting online as a wee boy with more hair than bodyweight, Justin Bieber has had a wild career. He is practically a pioneer of the viral online pop song, a notoriously bad monkey owner, and a more recent Hillsong church convert. But most consistently, Bieber has been a hair icon, for better or worse. Let's revisit it all: the innocent, the bad, the good, and the um... bad again. Remember, life is long.

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Sweet Innocence

Photo by IAN WILLMS / GETTY IMAGES.

Ah, this kind boy. Look into his eyes. His purple-hoodie-shrouded eyes. The Sweet Innocence Phase is what kicked this whole journey off. In 2007, every boy between the ages of 12 and 18 had this haircut, which comes with the compulsory need to throw your head back and whip your hair out of your face. This was a simpler time, before Usher and the world changed our sweet summer child.

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High-End Sports Clips

Photo by DEBRA L ROTHENBERG / GETTY IMAGES.

If you were one of the boys who had the aforementioned haircut, but your mom eventually lost her marbles and made you get it cut at Sports Clips, then you likely had a variation of this haircut. Sold on the premise that you can put product in it, this high-and-tight variation is all about the spiky crown that you can form with the excess on top. Bonus: This haircut basically transformed into one of today's most popular haircut, where boys somehow keep their hair long, brush it outward, and yet keep it out of their face.

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Modern-Day Pompadour

Photo by CBS PHOTO ARCHIVE / GETTY IMAGES.

So proud! Like an Elvis album, but in the 21st century. As retro as it is voluminous, Bieber's modern-day pompadour era might have harkened back to a simpler time, but this was also the era where he went a bit bananas. These things happen.

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Casual Modern-Day Pompadour

Photo by MIKE WINDLE / GETTY IMAGES.

Before it caught on with soccer players and white nationalists, Bieber was an early adopter of the casual modern-day pompadour. Not much different from the original iteration, it falls gently to the side, like it needs to take a quick nap.

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"I Don't Wash, I Rinse"

Photo by KEVIN MAZUR / GETTY IMAGES.

This is the haircut that happens when a hair stylist tells a boy for the first time that it's "unhealthy to wash your hair every day," and he takes that as a license to never wash it again. For the record, there is a line between the amount of oil in your hair that works as a protective shield and the amount that makes you look like you're essentially coming down from a run. This is too far, but because he was literally getting roasted on this night, we will let is pass.

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Revenge of the Pompadour

Photo by KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES.

A brave return! Edgier than its past counterparts, the return of the pompadour here is a strong one. Funnily enough, when you consider the timeline, Bieber spent more time rocking a pompadour-style haircut than he did the swoop he's known for from younger years.

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Tilda Swinton

Photo by KEVIN MAZUR / GETTY IMAGES.

This is literally Tilda Swinton's haircut. I don't know what else to tell you.

The Buzz

Photo by HINDUSTAN TIMES / GETTY IMAGES.
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Once you revisit the above style, this makes sense. Like a Celine Dion song, a buzz cut signifies that a new day has come. On the precipice of a religious awakening, the Bieber buzz is a shedding of skin and a reintroduction into the world. This is, unlike most buzz cuts, a step in the right direction.

God First, Hair Later

Photo by ROBERT KAMAU / GETTY IMAGES.
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And then we slide in here, with... this. An homage to both working mothers and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber, this haircut is a choice. But at this point, Bieber has his eyes on the prize, and by prize, I mean God. The rest will sort itself out.

Married Man on the Move

Photo by PIERRE SUU / GETTY IMAGES.
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Busy and on the go, this is the clearest photo of his newly chopped look. As a newly married man, these are the times where he's sorting out life before getting things like a haircut squared away. There's still time. But make no mistake, this is an improvement. We're always rooting for Justin. The hair is simply a speed bump to better times.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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