Grooming & Style

Convertibles: 3 Haircuts, 6 Looks

When it comes to your hair, your workplace forces you to be Don Draper, circa Mad Men: clean-cut, slicked back, right-wingy. Off the clock, though, your real self -- say, Animal from The Muppet Show -- yearns to bust a move (though, really, you’d be psyched just to cut loose with the flouncy locks of Zac Efron).

How do you have it both ways?

Turns out there are certain haircuts that are convertible -- wear them one way to look more formal; comb them a different way for a casual effect. You just need to know what to tell the barber.

“This is a great time for guys when it comes to fashion and hair,” says Ruth Roche, an editorial hairstylist (whose work has appeared in magazines like Vanity Fair, Interview and In Style) and owner of the RARE salon in New York City. “Men now have permission to look hip both at work and at play.”

Here are Roche’s three recommendations for the ideal “convertible” cuts for men:

The Retro Gentleman

The cut:

This look is reminiscent of men’s hair in the 1920s: With short sides and back, the top is left longer.

To wear to work:

Wear with a side part. Apply pomade or gel while hair’s still damp, then comb back smooth into place.


To wear to play:

Change it up with a little dry wax -- but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, blow-dry your hair -- the top goes forward and over to one side. Next, rub a pea-size amount of the wax in your palms, then run your hands through your hair a few times. That’s it, you’re done (no need to pick up a comb or brush).

Medium Shaggy

The cut:

Quite popular these days, this medium-length (as least a couple of inches above the shoulder) shaggy style features longer bangs and sides.

To wear to work:

Style the hair back, pushing it off the face. Achieve this by towel drying hair until it’s nearly dry, then -- without using a comb -- apply a tiny bit of cream to your palms, then run your hair front to back to get a loose and shaggy effect. Results: a groomed yet undone look that’s more grown up but still on trend.

To wear to play:

The cut looks great just left alone to air-dry (though adding a little wax doesn’t hurt).

Faux Hawk

The cut:

This is a short, modified Mohawk style. (If you haven’t seen it around … welcome back from your coma!) For this look, the sides and the outside edges of the top are cut shorter while leaving a longer strip in along the top center of the head. The center top strip should be roughly 0.5 inch longer than the sides, which should be no longer than 1.25 inches (any more than that, and you’re entering the shaggy zone).

To wear to work:

The hair can be worn forward with a light styling cream applied to wet hair. No need to blow-dry.


To wear to play:

Let your inner David Beckham loose by spiking up the center with a firm holding wax.


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Rob Medich is the managing editor of Men’s Life Today.

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