Grooming

Should I Shave My Head? An Expert Guide

Read this before you reach for the clippers.
ILLUSTRATOR Helen Green
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It’s time to come clean on top. Bushy beards and thick sweep-backs are well and truly over. "Guys got bored of looking the same," says Joe Mills, founder of Joe & Co barbers. "And the crop is a natural backlash." 

Thing is: buzz cuts are a terrifying business. What if your crown's shaped like a battered fez? What if you accidentally shave your head to shreds? And how far dare you go? Don't worry: we've got all the answers you need... 

Can you buzzcut at home? 
Yes, but why risk getting it wrong when you could get an expert to do it? If you must go it alone, use Super Taper clippers by Wahl. And ensure you have several mirrors surrounding you to get a good view of all the angles. 

Will it work for fine hair? 
Closely cropped hair is definitely better with thicker locks, but it’s not impossible. “If you have fine or thinning hair, maybe start a little longer on top at grade four or five,” says Joe Mills, “and see how it looks. You do not want it to look patchy.” 

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What facial hair works with a buzz cut? 
We’re over the pseudo-macho, moustache-waxing, comb-wielding look, so we won’t be recommending a big beard, unless you’re especially attached. A bit of stubble would be much better, and if you’ve got the cheekbones, then go clean-shaven. 

Which clothes will suit it? 
Avoid bomber jackets, drain pipe jeans and bovver boots, unless you want to be (justifiably) egged. Otherwise, you’re free to don whatever, but keep a hat handy. 

So what style should you opt for? Well there's the...

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1| Cue tip 


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On paper, it’s a horror show, but then Frank Ocean stepped out with a bright green buzz cut, and it looked ace. Can you do it? Maybe, after some serious thought… and you’ll need a barber because pharmacy products are too weak. Get them to patch-test any dye to be sure you’re not allergic.

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2| Classic


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What you might think is just a simple grade one all over, probably isn’t, or at least it shouldn’t be. “Ideally it shouldn’t be the same length,” Mills says. “It suits your head shape to have the back and sides shorter; like a grade three on top with a grade one around the edges.” 

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3| Suedehead


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A longer style that suits thicker hair, the suedehead cut—named after the early Seventies subculture—has flitted in and out of style for decades. It’s characterized by an even length all over, but you’ll need wax to keep the fluff down. (Black & White is a good go-to.)

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4| High and tight


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A slightly more extreme version of the crew cut, the high and tight is very short on the sides, but runs to slightly longer on top. Very low maintenance, and good for those with a receding hairline (as Ryan Reynolds has demonstrated). Not too long on top, though, or you’ll be in the realms of a (quite naff) French crop.

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

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