Yes, they go to school every day, to soccer practice, piano lessons, and then they play video games as much as they can. But that doesn’t mean that boys haircuts have to be plain. It also doesn’t mean that they deserve any less attention than girls’ hairstyles. That’s why I’ve decided to dedicate this entire piece solely to haircuts for little boys, toddlers, and teenagers. And it’s an exhaustive article too, where you’ll find everything you need to know. Tips on how to style everyday haircuts, hairstyles for special occasions, the latest trends, African-American styles, celebrity kids, and so much more!
The History of Boys Haircuts
It’s safe to say that haircuts for boys and how they have been styled has changed a lot over the years. In fact, it suffices to take a look at the 19th and 20th centuries to understand what we’re talking about. 150 to 200 years ago, boys haircuts revolved around two majors things. They needed to be utilitarian first and foremost and they had to be manly. However, as we moved through time, society evolved. We first recognized children as having a real need for an esthetic fulfillment and then we understood that boys need grooming as well.
Let’s delve into that. A century or so ago boys were viewed extremely differently from girls. They were the ones who needed to grow up and become the bread winners. Whereas girls were groomed to stay at home and become good housewife and mothers. As such, since boys were the ones who worked for most of their lives, sometimes from very young ages, a haircut had no esthetic purpose to it. There were no embellishments. Haircuts were utilitarian. They needed to serve a goal.
In other words, a boy would only go to the barber to get his hair cut as short as possible so as not to bother him while he was working. Long hair existed, of course, but it was the staple of artists, poets, painters, and sometimes professors. There were no children with long hair.
The Esthetics of Boys Haircuts
In the same way, there was a huge gap between boys and girls. The latter were groomed and gifted with bows and bands to put in their hair so as to make them as pretty as possible. Society was preparing girls for the concept of feminine beauty with long hair and intricate hairstyles.
On the other hand, for a very long time, until the 1950s, in fact, boys were not meant to care about the appearance of their hair. It was supposed to be cut as short as possible, perhaps plastered to their head with a bit of product similar to the gel we used today. It was also meant to be hid away under a hat. Having a hairstyle was considered feminine. So, what changed?
The Rebels of the 50s
Everything changed in the 50s with the appearance of ‘the greasers.’ You know them well even though you may not be aware this is what they are called. John Travolta portrayed one in the eponymous movie Grease. The greasers were the first men who took a stand and rebelled against the traditionalism and conformity of the 20s, 30s, and 40s. They refused to be constricted to the same norms as the generations before them and completely changed the way they looked, acted, dressed and, yes, did their hair.
And guess what? Most of them were teenage boys. They were called ‘the greasers’ because of the pomade they used to create their hairstyles. Examples include the now incredibly famous pompadour or the ducktails. These boys would spend hours in front of the mirror styling themselves. Plus they would always carry a comb with them for the same purpose.
But the most important thing is that they broke a centuries-old stereotype. That boys mustn’t care about their hair.
How did boys haircuts evolve?
Today the attitude toward boys haircuts is still mixed. For example, on the one hand we can clearly see more and more parents giving their children modern haircuts such as Mohawks, man braids, pompadours, and fades.
On the other hand, there is still a big part of society who thinks children must not be allowed styling at all. Instead, children should be given plain, traditional haircuts that lack personality and style.
Here is an article detailing how a school in the UK banned different boys haircuts in 2018 which included long, curly bangs, taper fades or variations on the Mohawk. But more on that below when we go at length on boys haircuts for school.
Short Boys Haircuts
If we were to categorize boys haircuts, the easiest way to do it would be by length. There are several hairstyles to choose from depending on how long the little guy’s hair is. Without a doubt, a short haircut is easiest to care for and style. It may also be the safest one if your school has a dress and styling code you need to take into account, as you will see below.
When choosing a short haircut you can go the traditional way or the modern way. Meaning that you can choose a traditional hairstyle such as a buzz cut, a crew cut or a simple hairstyle with a side part. Or you can try a more modern approach like a Mohawk, a taper fade, a pompadour or a bald fade.
Short boys haircuts are also great because they are very versatile. They don’t require a lot of styling in the morning before school or after the boys takes a shower. Plus, this also means he will be ready to be out the door in no time at all.
The coolness factor in a short haircut can be added if you try some man braids or a hair design. Ask your little boy what he would like designed on the side of his head. It can be anything he likes such as his favorite sports team, a logo or brand he wears or his favorite cartoon character.
Medium Boys Haircuts
Next in line length-wise are medium boys haircuts. The great thing about medium hair is that it’s very budget-friendly. A chin-length or shoulder-length haircut won’t require a lot of trips to the barber for touch ups. Apart from that, it’s easy to care for and has a beautiful, bohemian look to it that is very difficult to replicate.
Medium hairstyles are mostly the realm of teenage boys. This is the period in which they all want to grow their hair but don’t actually go all the way. Therefore, either by design or by chance they end up with a medium haircut that makes them look cool and mysterious. Don’t worry, parents! It’s just a phase. You were like that too at one point. You just forgot about it.
Teenage boys are mostly influenced by their peers in getting or growing a medium haircut, by other teenage celebrities or by adhering to a certain subculture. Examples include the hip-hop subculture, the punk subculture, emo, skater one, and so on.
The important thing to remember here is to support them in their decision of growing their hair to medium length as well as buying them the correct hair care products. This is a crucial moment in their development and they could do a lot of damage to their follicles by applying cheap or counterfeit hair products or dyes.
Long Haircuts for Boys
Boys with long hair belong to one of two categories. They’re either very small and they have long locks because they’re parents were too attached to give them their first haircut. Or they’re cool guys who dream of being huge artists on the big stage. Either way, you want to meet this boy. Long hair usually says a lot about a person. The boy with lengthy tresses is an artist, a dreamer, a poet, a singer, someone who understands spirituality and life beyond the superficial.
But going back to hair per se, parents be on your guard! Long hair needs a lot of taking care of! Short or even medium hair can be a ‘get it and forget it’ type of situation but not this. Therefore, you need to make sure that your little man is taking good care of his scalp and locks.
Buy him the type of shampoo and conditioner he needs for his type of hair as well as a blow dryer. If he has fine hair, as most children tend to do, a silk wrap for nighttime will also be recommended. In this way, he won’t be losing any of his precious strands and his hair can grow healthy and strong.
Boys Haircuts for School
A few paragraphs above I linked an article detailing how a British school decided to ban a number of boys haircuts from their premises. This, of course, led to an entire debate about the freedom of expressing oneself and whether or not schools should be focusing on hairstyling rather than educating children and allowing them to be who they are as well as very comfortable in their own skin.
But this should also raise awareness to you as a parent or young man reading interested in haircuts for boys that there are some thigs you need have in mind before you select boys haircuts for school.
First of all, it depends on whether or not your school has a dress or styling code imposed. If it does, such as the British school mentioned above, then you will be severely limited in your choice. You might like a pompadour, a Mohaw, fauxhawk, a fade or even a bald fade, but they will surely not be accepted by the school’s rules.
Secondly, if your child is attending a private school rather than a public one, you will definitely have to go for a traditional haircut. In fact, if you’re a parent considering to sign up their little boy for a private school, you should know that they will, most likely, give you a list of haircuts that are acceptable for them.
A boy’s hair will always have to be above the collar in length. It must not touch his ears and not have any extreme styling to it. Boys cannot dye their hair either or have bangs that are too long. According to the schools, it’s meant to teach discipline. If the students don’t comply, they will be sent home until they can return with a satisfactory haircut. In some of the worst cases, teachers or headmasters have been filmed while cutting the boys’ hair themselves, sparking public outrage.
The situation is different in public schools, where boys are allowed more lenience when it comes to hair. Still, shocking hairstyles such as Mohawks or debatable choices like man buns or non-natural colors might still get your son in trouble.
Boys Haircuts for Special Occasions
First things first, let’s agree on what qualifies as a special occasion. It could be that your little boy has to go to a birthday party, a wedding, graduation, an award ceremony or his prom if he’s a teenager. All these instances require a particular type of hairstyle.
What we recommend is to take the situation into account as well as his outfit. For example, a birthday party doesn’t have such strict rules as other special occasions. Unless you’re going to Prince George’s birthday party, of course! Other than that, you can get away with your regular haircut and a very cute outfit.
On the other hand, an award ceremony, especially one in which your son is given a prize or a ribbon for outstanding merits in a field, might require you to tone it done to a more traditional hairstyle such as a college haircut with a middle or side part.
Graduation and Prom
Graduations and proms are reserved for teenagers and they are one of the most important things on their agendas. In fact, most teenage boys get complete makeovers before they go to their prom, that’s how important it is for them. Therefore, this is a special occasions when boys haircuts need to be handled by a professional who will also tell you how to style them.
How to Style Boys Haircuts
Speaking of styling, let’s take a look at a few styling tips and tricks for boys haircuts.
- The first thing you need to think about is the products you or himself will use. Make sure you use the appropriate products for his age and type of hair. It might be tempting to allow him to use your shampoo and conditioner. It might even be budget-friendly but remember it’s not healthy.
Children and toddlers need special hair care products and so do teenagers because their hair is different from yours, an adult. They are in the process of growing up, so you have to ensure their locks are healthy.
- Don’t forget about conditioner. The idea that boys only need one shampoo or, worst of all, only one bottle of product which they can use to wash their hair, body and maybe even their clothes is a wrong one. I joke, of course, but this stems from the stereotype we already talked about that it’s not masculine to groom yourself or take care of your body.
Wrong! Boys’ hair needs attention just as much as girls’ does. Buy them their own shampoo and conditioner as well as any other products they need.
- Don’t let them use cheap products or knock-off brands. They may contain chemicals that will harm a growing boy and the effects could be disastrous.
- Take them to a professional hairstylist or barber instead of cutting their hair yourself. A professional will give them a haircut they can be proud of and that will make their self-confidence soar.
- Allow them to choose what hairstyle they want. You might be in love with some ideas you see online or with a celebrity’s son but that doesn’t mean your own son will want to copy that hairstyle. Ask your son what he wants!
Popular Boys Haircuts
What are the most popular haircuts for boys this year? Let’s find out together!
- The Fauxhawk – this has been on parents’ list for quite a few seasons now but it’s still going strong. You will need some mousse or hairspray to keep the spikes or curls in an upright position.
- The Caesar Cut – this haircut is called the Caesar because there are statues that depict the Roman leader wearing it. It has now become a staple when it comes to boys haircuts because of its lovely gelled fringe.
- A taper fade – where would we be without a taper fade these days? The fade and all its versions are an absolute favorite with boys and men alike who simply cannot get enough of it.
- The pompadour – it started as a haircut for women more than 200 years ago. But it saw a major resurgence when Elvis Presley and James Dean wore it in the 50s. Ever since teenage boys have been going crazy for it.
- The comb over with an undercut – the undercut can be disconnected or not. That’s entirely up to you. The comb over is easy to maintain and will make your son look like the coolest kid in school.
Celebrity Boys Haircuts
Celebrity children are slowly becoming style icons in themselves. With mega-famous parents and an army of stylists at their disposal ready to make them look perfect, these little guys always look like they’ve just stepped off the runway. But who exactly can we look to if we want some inspiration?
The first celebrity sons that come to mind have to be the Beckham boys. They have been famous from the day they were born. But that’s fine because they will help you a lot if you’re looking for hairstyle ideas for your little man. The Beckham boys all have individual styles and their personality shines through their haircuts. Which means there is plenty to look up to.
If what you want are African-American hairstyles, you can’t go wrong with Sir Carter and Saint West. Sir is Beyonce and Jay-Z’s son while Saint is Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s son. Also in this category, take a peek at King Stevenson, Black China’s son, who has a wonderful head of curly hair that might prove the source of inspiration for you. The same goes for Rocket, Pharrell Williams’ son who is sporting magnificent caramel hair.
A totally different kind of inspiration comes from the monarchy. Prince George of the royal family of England is usually groomed in a very traditional style that reflects the family’s values and principles. This means that he typically wears his hair very short in what we would call a ‘college haircut’ or an ‘Oxford haircut’ with a parting on the side and a set of bangs.
Boys haircuts from movies
We could probably use a separate piece just to talk about this topic, that’s how many boys haircuts inspired by movies there are. But we’ll stop at just a few that have truly left their mark on pop culture and the hair styling world alike.
The first on our list has to be Harry Potter. The main character himself is described as having short and very messy, jet black hair which he could never comb or tame down. This, in turn led to a lot of pre-teen and teenager boys to style their hair like Daniel Radcliffe in the eponymous movies. Ron Weasley’s haircuts weren’t something to neglect either. One of Ron’s most important features was his fiery red hair that made him stand out.
A teenage haircut that really made waves, pun intended, was Leonardo DiCaprio’s in Titanic. In the movies, he plays a teenage boy that falls in love with a young woman above his station while the famous ship goes down around their romance. But the haircut is what caught everyone’s eye. It was a typical 90s hairstyle that we now call the 90s heartthrob haircut.
Boys haircuts inspired by musicians
Having brushed upon celebrities and movies, there was no way we wouldn’t give you some info on famous haircuts for boys inspired by musicians. Again, there are droves of hairstyles we could dissect, but I have narrowed it down to three that have really become the talk of the town.
First of all, this is probably the most copied hairstyle of the 21st century for teenage boys inspired by a musician. Of course, it’s the Justin Bieber haircut. When the young boy came out he was a simple teenager that had been discovered playing covers on YouTube. His hairstyle was actually a swoop halfway between bowl and emo with very jagged edges. It covered his forehead, made his eyes pop and accentuated his baby-like features.
The Harry Styles
Second on the list of boys haircuts inspired by musicians is the Harry Styles haircut from his One Direction days. Granted, the musician has come a long way since then. But when he started with his band he was a 16-year old boy with a full head of curls and a medium haircut that made him look like the perfect boyfriend for girls the same age. That’s how he won everyone’s hearts.
The Justin Timberlake
I’ve also included a throwback haircut that was major for teenage boys in the 90s and 2000s. It was Justin Timberlake’s blonde ramen hair. Granted, looking back it might not have been the best idea of all, but back then Justin looked like the coolest guy around wearing it. This made everyone want to copy his hairstyle.
Haircuts for Black Boys
Let’s delve into another very interesting topic – boys haircuts for African-American children. Black boys typically have curly or even kinky hair. Apart from that, their hair has a different texture than Asian or Caucasian as well as a different density. Not to mention that you as well as your little boy might like to adhere to certain cultural ideas that you love. Of course, you don’t have to, and you can get any hairstyle you want instead! Boys look great in anything!
Still, the truth remains that most African-American parents know one thing. It can be a taxing job to tame your child’s head of hair. It’s a lot courser and maybe even rougher, with curls, kinks or waves in it. Therefore, here are some hairstyles you can try.
- A top knot – in case your son has medium to long hair. The top knot is very easy to do in the morning and will keep the hair out of his eyes all day long.
- An undercut with some color on top – this is a simple undercut with his lovely curly hair still showing on top. The interesting part is that you can use a bit of color for the curls. Ask him what his favorite shade is.
- Buzz cut and a hair design – of course, a buzz cut will be the end of all your problems. It’s as close as you’ll get without actually shaving his hair. Plus, you can add a hair design to make matters more interesting.
- A curly fauxhawk – he will love this one because all his friends will envy him. A curly fauxhawk is a bald fade with a line of curls running down the middle of the head from the forehead to the nape replicating the spikes of a traditional Mohawk.
Funny Boys Haircuts
In lieu of a conclusion, let’s look back on two haircuts for boys that, luckily the world doesn’t use anymore. Of course, I’m talking about the bowl haircut and the mullet.
The Bowl Haircut for Boys
The first one, aka the bowl, goes back longer than you could possibly imagine. In fact, it is believed to originate somewhere in the 12th century. It was worn all throughout the Middle Ages as well as in the Crusades. The reason is that the bowl haircut is incredibly simple to create. They would literally place a bowl or a pot on their heads and then cut around it making the bangs and the hair on the sides and in the back the same length.
The bowl haircut saw a major resurgence in the 60s when the Beatles wore a modernized version of it. Of course, teenage boys went crazy for it and copied the style to infinity. However, the bowl haircut still has a bad reputation as being one of the worst haircuts of all time. That may stem from the fact that it is associated with poverty in some cultures. Given the fact that they could not afford to go to a barber, parents would cut their sons’ hair at home into a bowl hairstyle, which gave it its bad name.
The Mullet Haircut for Boys
The mullet holds the record for being the single worst haircut of all time. It’s the ‘business in the front, party in the back’ hairstyle that is so notorious it has stolen its way deep into pop culture.
But did you know the mullet is one of the oldest haircuts in existence? Historians think Neanderthals wore a mullet to make sure hair didn’t get in their eyes and the sun didn’t scorch the back of their necks. Greek statues from the 6th century BCE wear mullets. And so did teenage boys of the 80s.
The Beastie Boys came up with the name ‘mullet’ (although it was Mark Twain who used it first). They mocked the people who wore this haircut in their songs and so the legend was born. But that didn’t stop celebrities like a teenage Brad Pitt, David Bowie or Jerry Seinfeld to wear one.
What About You?
What can you tell us about your experience as a parent with boys haircut? Or are you actually a boy yourself and would like to write to us telling us all about what’s hip and trendy in the hair styling world right now? Or maybe you have some opinions on whether or not schools should ban certain hairstyles?
Whatever it may be, or if you just have questions that need to be answered, if you don’t know which boys haircuts to choose, simply drop us a comment is the section below, and we’ll get back to you!