Medium length hairstyles for men have a super long history that has taken them from the grandfathers of the bowl cut in the Middle Ages to the heartthrob haircut of the 90s and, more recently, to the pompadours of the 2015s. And this is exactly what we’re here to talk about today. The grooming playbook of medium length hairstyles for men.
Where do they come from? How long have men been wearing them? How can you style medium length hair? What versions of this hairstyle are there and what celebrities can you look to for inspiration? Grab some popcorn and scroll all the way to the bottom because we’re going to find the perfect medium length hairstyle for you today!
The History of Medium Length Hairstyles for Men
As you can imagine, men have not been acquainted with medium length hair for the first time this century. In fact, the Ancient Egyptians were among the first to set the trend for this hairstyle. Of course, they actually used to shave their heads to ward off lice. But they fashioned wigs which were medium or shoulder-length and which they wore at all times. It was culturally appropriate to put on your wig and go about your business in Ancient Egypt.
The Middle Ages loved medium length hairstyles for men as well. In fact, that’s when we tend to see the first version of the bowl cut. It was a very simple haircut to get, especially at home. This is why the bowl made a bad renown for itself, as it was continuously associated with poverty since then.
However, as time went by and we moved into the Industrial Age, men stopped wearing their hair in medium-length cuts. This can be explained by the fact that they now had to work in factories. Here it was considered dangerous to have long locks so close to the machines. Therefore, short haircuts might have been a product of the Industrial Age.
The same goes for the period of the two World Wars the followed closely after the Industrial Period. Most men who were of age were asked to join the war effort. Needless to say, they had to cut their hair short for utilitarian purposes. But this is hugely important because once that stage was over and the world moved into the 50s, men started to rebel against the old norms. One of the ways they did that was by wearing new and intriguing hairstyles which were, of course, medium-length.
Medium Length Hairstyles in the Modern Age
If we’re talking about the 50s, we absolutely need to mention the pompadour as the biggest and most famous medium haircut. Even though it was invented more than 200 years ago as a hairstyle for women, the pompadour found a new life in the spotlight in the 50s. This is when larger than life celebrities Elvis Presley and James Dean started wearing it.
Evidently, the pompadour is a medium length hairstyle that requires you to create a high quiff or pomp in the front. Slick it back using some pomade to finish the look.
Elvis’ pomp was a rockability haircut that paved the way for more medium length hairstyles for men. Later on we also saw the greasers who wore similar haircuts only a lot more slicked back and with even shinier pomade. In fact, they were called ‘the greasers’ because they used hair styling products based on grease to make their hair look so shiny and slick. The 50s were, without a doubt, the most beautiful decade of the 20th century in terms of men’s hairstyles. It’s no wonder that we are trying to replicate it in the 2010s.
Medium Length Hairstyles for Men in the 60s
This decade was all about the reinvented bowl haircut which is also a medium length hairstyle. The Beatles wore modernized versions of the bowl and the entire world hurried to copy their look. In fact, without probably knowing it, they created one of the most iconic looks in history.
But the 60s also saw the emergence of the so-called Freedom Fro, which was a high and wild afro, as well as the Executive Slickback. You might already be familiar with it even though you don’t know it. It’s what Don Draper wore in Mad Men.
Medium Length Hairstyles for Men in the 70s
Now that we’ve come to the 70s, we can really delve into medium length hairstyles for men. This was one of the first times in history when the cosmetic industry started to produce hair care and styling products especially for men. They also advertised them accordingly, clearly separating them from those designed for women.
This idea led to more and more diversified hairstyles which you could obtain with said hair products. The popular trends included the afro or the smooth mop top. The first is probably the most iconic look of the 70s and what everyone pictures now when they think about that decade. It’s not necessarily that everyone wore an afro back then. But Hollywood chose it as their designated way to portray people in the 70s, so it has become a staple.
A smooth mop top is what you think of when you picture your dad or grandpa in the 70s. Think Paul Rudd in Anchorman. His character had a fantastic mop top with an awesome dad mustache. Of course, it wasn’t considered old back then. In fact, it was the epitome of cool medium length hairstyles for men.
They also wore rockstar medium haircuts. Good examples include Steven Tyler’s hairstyle or, even more famously, Mick Jagger’s. His haircut has been copied ever since.
Contemporary Medium Length Hairstyles for Men
After that, medium haircuts took a backseat to other styles. For example, in the 80s it was all about long hair. That decade was dominated by rock music and what we now call glam rock bands. The most famous included Guns’n’Roses, Kiss, The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, and many more. All the band members had long hair that was puffed up to the extreme.
But the 90s also brought with them a change in the world’s taste for music. The masses forgot about rock’n’roll and took a liking to pop. Therefore, the image changed as well and medium length hairstyles for men were once more the trend. The 90s brought about the heartthrob haircut. You’ve surely seen it on Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic and Romeo + Juliet. Or on Hugh Grant in Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
But we also saw the reemergence of the flattop, which had been popular in earlier decades. Will Smith wore one in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and made it incredibly famous.
Medium Length Hairstyles since the 2015s
Once the 2015s rolled in, medium hairstyles for men became the most popular haircuts in the world. But the latter part of the decade brought on styles the world hadn’t seen for a very long time. For example, we were reacquainted with the man bun. It was notorious and controversial, but this didn’t stop what seemed like every single man in the world to get one. Plus an entire plethora of celebrities.
We also saw the rise of the pompadour once again, for the first time since the 50s. But this time, it was paired with a fade to make it look modern and fit for the 2010s. We were also introduced to the undercut with a medium slick back as well as a top knot. The latter is a messier and more casual version of the man bun but it still requires your hair to be medium length.
What Does Medium Length Hair Mean?
Seeing as we have now stretched the boundaries of medium hair so much by adding fades and shaved sides to it, it’s important to try and define what makes a medium length hairstyle.
Most professional hairstylists agree that medium length hairstyles for men mean any type of haircut that involves hair between two and four inches long. That comes to five and ten cm.
Medium hair allows for any combination of haircuts you can imagine, as long as your tresses reach that length. In other words, you can have shaved sides and a shaved nape. If the hair on top of your head is between two and four inches long, you’re good to go.
Another key element that you should keep in mind is that medium hairstyles are never neat or uniform. That’s mostly because they are a combination of two or more haircuts. Or because men like to add a lot of texture to them.
They may also have a lot of volume as a result of the added length. This will allow you to express yourself better or to speak more about your identity. Men often find that longer hair is a great way to communicate to the world that they belong to a certain culture or subculture.
That doesn’t mean that if you want to keep your haircut on the safe side or if you work in a conservative environment you cannot do it. Of course you can! That’s the beauty of medium length hairstyles for men. They are versatile enough to accommodate any situation you may find yourself into. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best and most popular medium haircuts for men.
What Medium Length Hairstyles Should You Choose?
The first thing you need to think about when choosing your hairstyle is what type of face you have. Therefore, try to determine the structure of your face before you continue with hairstyles. After that, scroll down because we have some amazing options for you!
· The diamond face shape
Diamond faces are as rare as the gemstone that represent them. You might have seen them on celebrities such as Johnny Depp or Hugh Laurie. What you need to achieve here with your hairstyle is a narrower jawline so that it seems you have a more angular face. If not, it will just seem like you have a very tall face.
When it comes to medium hairstyles, you can definitely go for a man bun, a pompadour or a swept back style. They will add a lot of volume to your overall shape and soften your features which are already very angular.
Ask your barber to give you a scissor cut so that you can benefit from a feathery finish.
· The heart face shape
If you have this facial structure, you will need to add some balance to your features. The problem here is that, just like a heart, your top part is rounded while your chin is very pointy. Therefore, you must find a way to even them out.
Try a medium hairstyle with a fringe that will make it impossible to tell that your forehead is rounded. In fact, you can even grow a beard so that balance is completely restored with the help of facial hair.
If you need inspiration, some famous men with heart-shaped faces include Joe Jonas and Shia LeBoeuf.
· The oval face shape
Say hello to the holy grail of faces. Specialists consider this to be the perfect face. This is also why so many actors have it. They are chosen specifically because of it. An oval face looks best when magnified tenfold on a big screen.
But what does that mean for you in terms of medium hairstyles for men? That you are a very lucky guy! And that you basically have your choice of haircuts. There is nothing that won’t look good on you, as long as you style it correctly. Try an undercut with an awesome slick back if you’re into the modern rockability trend. Or a casual man bun which will make you look like a lost writer looking for his muse. Of course you can rock the sweepback as well, not to mention the 90s heartthrob hairstyle. The world is your oyster now! Enjoy!
· The square face shape
If an oval face is number one when it comes to structures, then it’s closely followed by the square face. This is the classic look with a very masculine vibe to it, highlighted by a very pronounced and angled jawline and almost mathematical angles. Harry Styles, Henry Cavill, Chris Hemsworth, and Tom Cruise all have classically handsome square faces. Therefore, you can use them as inspiration.
But make sure you add some layers to your haircut, no matter which one you choose. Layers will soften your much angled features and make you look less daunting. Apart from that, try not to define your hairline too much. You run the risk of looking too official, almost like a principal or a boss who’s calling a meeting.
· The triangle face shape
Ryan Gosling has this type of face, which proves that the right hairstyle can make it as handsome as possible. Your aim here is to add as much volume as you can on the sides and on top. That’s because, just like a triangle, your lower part, meaning your jawline is very prominent. While the top half, meaning your forehead, is quite narrow.
That’s why the best option for you is to make good use of a side part. This will highlight your forehead. Just like Ryan Gosling does all the time. You can also go for a quiff or a pompadour but also with a side part or even a hard part if you’re bold enough.
In fact, any medium hairstyle that will add a massive bulk in the forehead area will work for you. Think about pompadours and quiffs but also long fringes. If you happen to have naturally curly hair, you’re a lucky guy!
· The oblong face shape
This type of face is very long but otherwise has balanced and pleasant features. Think about Jon Hamm or Ben Affleck. You’re in luck because a lot of medium hairstyles for men work with your bone structure. However, you shouldn’t exaggerate. Because if you go beyond the recommended four inches that make a medium haircut, you could elongate your face even more. Think Antonio Banderas in Interview with the Vampire for this one, and you’ll understand.
Therefore, the perfect medium style for you needs to add length across your forehead or on the sides. But it has to stay flat on top. The reason is obvious. You don’t need any more length. As a consequence, you can look fantastic with a simple, classic, and straightforward scissor cut that will make you the equal of a gentleman from another time.
Allow your hair to fall as it will on your shoulders in soft layers that envelop the sides of your head and neck. This will also add organic volume to your hairstyle without puffing it up too much. It will create the illusion that your face is wider than it is in reality and, therefore, more balanced.
· The round face shape
Your celebrity twins are Leonardo DiCaprio and Niall Horan. When it comes to your face, the idea is that round structures tend to be a little featureless. Therefore, you will need to add some textures and layers to it.
But rejoice! Because a round face acts like a blank canvas over which you can put any hairstyle you want. Nothing will clash with it. For example, if you try a jagged or feathery haircut, it will create the illusion of angles in your face, which you definitely need.
Or you can try a man bun or a pompadour. Both of these medium length hairstyles for men will elongate your face, making it seem slimmer and more oval than round.
You can get rid of some of your width or even extra pounds assuming you have any to begin with. All you have to do is get a tapered of faded haircut with a lengthy and slicked back top. The fade on the sides will take care of the width while the pomp will pull your face length wise. In this way, your cheekbones will be accentuated whereas before they might not have been noticeable.
How to Style Medium Length Hairstyles for Men
Getting a medium haircut is pretty easy. All you have to do is schedule a visit to your favorite stylist or barber. He or she will do all the heavy lifting while you relax in the comfortable chair scrolling through Instagram or reading our articles.
But what happens the next morning? You wake up, look in the mirror and your hair is in disarray. Unless you’re Justin Bieber and have a personal stylist with you on a daily basis, you will have to style your hair yourself. So, how do you style a medium length haircut?
Of course, it depends on what haircut you have. Some men have pompadours, others have afros. And some have man buns while others have medium-length dreads. But they are all connected by one thing. A medium length haircut will always be extremely versatile, offering you countless ways in which you can style it. This means you will never get bored. Plus, it makes it all the easier.
Your Hair Routine
The first thing you need to have in mind is the hygiene of your haircut. Shampoo your hair no more than three times a week. If you do it more than that, it will dry out. Natural hair needs time to moisturize and restore its organic sebum.
The type of shampoo you choose depends on the needs of your hair. If you have dry hair, go for a creamy shampoo. It will moisturize it and leave it feeling soft and nurtured. On the other hand, if you have oily hair or if you use a lot of hair styling products such as wax, gel, hairspray or pomade that need to be washed out of your tresses, go for clarifying shampoo. Its special formula is made to clean rather than moisturize.
Conditioner is a must-have in your hair-care routine. You can choose between the type you put in while you’re still in the shower or leave-in conditioner. On top of it, you can also add a layer of hair oil or even sea salt spray. The oil will moisturize your hair further, making it easier to style. The sea salt spray will give it some texture as well as a good crunch. It’s perfect for men with straight and fine hair that need to add some body to it in a more natural way than with hairspray.
Celebrities Wearing Medium Length Hairstyles for Men
The list of famous men with medium hair is incredibly long. We didn’t even know where to start presenting you some, so we decided we would just focus on the best ones that could serve you as inspiration.
Seeing as his hair has entire Twitter and Instagram accounts created just for its benefit and to praise it, let’s start with Harry Styles. The singer has always sported medium hairstyles, except for a stretch in his late teens when he had long hair. But other than that, he is our champion.
Harry has chestnut brown hair with natural golden highlights. It’s naturally wavy and he wears it in a very modern, jaw-length pompadour. This allows his waves to fall as they will around his face. It’s a fantastic idea because the singer has a very square and angled face which would be severe without the soft curls.
The King in the North Kit Harrington is another champion of medium hairstyles for men. The actor has very curly hair in real life as well. Plus, he actually does wear his hair just like we were able to see it in the hit TV series Game of Thrones.
Singers Bruno Mars and G-Eazy can be a fantastic source of inspiration for you if you’re looking for the coolest medium hairstyles for men. They both rock classic pompadours but with their signature modern touches. Bruno Mars adopted a traditional pomp from the 50s and 60s but it’s a lot less slick than our grandfathers used to wear it. His is curly and casual.
Rapper G-Eazy, on the other hand has what is, probably, the coolest haircut around. It’s a modern version of the Greaser haircuts of old, on which he clearly based his entire stage persona. His hairstyle varies between a slick back and a small, elegant pompadour with a side part and plenty of shiny pomade to cover it all. It works amazingly well with his square face and hollow cheeks making him look like a cross between a Greaser, a rapper, and a member of the Corleone family.
What do you think about medium length hairstyles for men?
Let us know in the comment section below how you feel about medium length hairstyles for men. Have you found the one you were looking for? If so, show the picture from our article to your stylist and then write to us and tell us how it turned out! Also, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments. We are more than happy to help you look your best!