Military haircuts have gone a long way from being hairstyles appropriate solely for men in the army to a go-to casual look for the everyday man. Their popularity was based on a number of factors. But one of the most important was just how simple and practical military haircuts are. Men all over the world have always been sold to the idea of getting a utilitarian, simple, and stress-free haircut that also makes them look strong and sexy.
Curious to know more? In this article we are going to dive right into the best military haircuts out there, how to get them, and how to style them. But we will also take a look at the history of military haircuts and what celebrities have been wearing them over the years.
The History of Military Haircuts
Before we detail the hairstyles themselves, let’s try and find out where and why these haircuts originated from.
Of course, as you might have imagined, a lot of ink has poured on the topic of soldiers and their hair through the ages. It’s a vast subject that would take a lot of time to discuss but it’s not of interest to us necessarily. That’s because we are mostly concerned with the modern take on military haircuts.
However, we could sum it up a little bit like this. The way soldiers have been wearing their hair through history has had a lot to do with the following. The culture they came from, the way they did battle as well as the advancement of weaponry and war science.
For example, in ancient times, military haircuts would have consisted in man braids. In fact, they are still called warrior braids for precisely that reason. Men would wear them in battle and as a sign of their victories over their opponents.
As time moved on, so did soldiers and their preferred hairstyles. In the 1800s, for example, men liked to follow fashion so they wore bushy mustaches and beards. However, once World War I struck, they were forced to shave everything off. That was because their gas masks didn’t fit on their faces otherwise.
The same goes for their hair. Once men were stationed in the infamous trenches of World War I, they had to cut their hair as short as possible because of lice infestation. Some believe that that’s where military haircuts originated from.
Military Haircuts in Modern Times
It wasn’t until after the Second World War that the Army actually got some regulations about what a soldier should look like and what his hair need to be. Until then, every man could cut his hair as he saw fit or as the situation required. But the situation has changed today. Here is what some of the rules state.
The US Air Force’s official regulation says that their haircut has to be tapered on the sides of the head as well as in the back. That is when you are wearing headgear and when you are not. They also have a definition for what tapered means. It states that ‘tapered’ should follow the lines of the head and curve inward. It also should not have any eccentricities, spikes or twists added to it.
We can also take a look at the British Armed Forces because they regulate their military haircuts as well. They state that every member needs to have short hair with trimmed sideburns that cannot go beyond the middle of the ear. There shall be no ‘extreme styles of haircuts’ or extreme colors as they put it.
However, they do state that if you absolutely need to highlight or dye your hair, you can do so. But it has to be in a shade close to your natural color. They also state that the commanding officer is in charge of deciding what is acceptable and what is not.
The idea behind all these rules and regulations when it comes to military haircuts is that they help create a sense of unity among the forces. They also channel a certain conservative spirit that the general population has come to expect from the service. Not to mention just how easy it is to get one of the aforementioned hairstyles. Soldiers can do it themselves or they can give each other a haircut if need be.
Celebrities Wearing Military Haircuts
We have arrived at one of the most beloved topics – celebrities. Whether by choice or because they had to star in a movie or video, celebrities have often sported military cuts just like everyone else. So let’s see what inspiration we can draw from them!
John Goodman Military Haircuts
Actor John Goodman is wearing a simple short haircut that works perfectly well even on the red carpet. It really goes to show just how much military haircuts have travelled if they can now be worn even at high-end events with a tuxedo!
Matt Damon Military Haircuts
Matt Damon is wearing an Ivy League haircut, to be completely accurate. But that’s fine. You can copy it yourself. The Ivy League hairstyle is considered to be just a longer crew cut. This means that the hair has to be of longer length in the back and on the sides. However, keep in mind that you will still have to taper it to make this a military style.
Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling Military Haircuts
Since we’ve already mentioned the crew cut, here it is in all its glory, as modeled by none other than Batman himself. Christian Bale pulls off the crew cut like no one else because he has a gorgeous rectangular face that fits perfectly with this hairstyle. His scruffy short beard makes him look extra casual, as if he’s just rolled out of bed and straight onto the red carpet. This is a look to copy!
Actor Ryan Gosling is wearing a crew cut in this picture as well. The two shots are worth a comparison because the actors have different face shapes. While Christian Bale has a classic, rectangular face, Ryan Gosling’s is more heart shaped. But he benefits from a crew cut as well because it takes the highlight off his forehead. Plus, by wearing a beard, he manages to hide his pointy chin. Therefore, he has created a balance between the upper and lower sides of his face.
Zayn Malik and Tom Hardy Military Haircuts
Singer Zayn Malik’s face has been examined by scientists that study plastic surgery and the laws of physical beauty. The result was that Malik has an almost perfect face according to the golden ratio. We, as laymen, could also say that he is the proud owner of an oval face with a strong, square jawline and almond shaped eyes. In other words, his face is the mixture of every feature we prize the most as per modern standards of beauty.
But what does this mean with regards to his hair? That the former One Directioner can wear any kind of haircut he wants because it will look incredibly good on him. As an example, here he is sporting a buzz cut. Normally, buzz cuts look a little threatening on most men, which is why stylists tend to advice against it. But not on Malik. The very short haircut has cleared his face and opened it up so that we can admire his beautiful features and the gorgeous shape of his head.
Tom Hardy is also wearing a buzz cut. But on him the results are a little different. The actor has a round face and very rugged features. Plus, he has chosen to pair his buzz cut with a goatee rather than a full beard like Malik, which adds to the heavy feel. Take all of this into consideration when trying to choose which one of the military haircuts would suit you better.
Brad Pitt Military Haircuts
Being one of the most famous actors to have ever come out of Hollywood, Brad Pitt has had a huge career. And with it came an entire plethora of hairstyles that he has tried on over the years. Therefore, military haircuts could not be missing in action, so to say, from this roster.
Moreover, because he is one of the most handsome men in the world, Brad Pitt looks as handsome as ever in military haircuts just like he looks with all his other hairstyles. Here he is wearing a crew cut with a twist. It’s just a tad longer than what we are used to seeing. Plus it’s very ruffled, with a bunch of short spikes sticking out every which way.
Hair Products You Need for Military Haircuts
Let’s talk about styling and maintaining military haircuts. Well, as you might have expected already, there is very little of that involved. Since these are all hairstyles meant first and foremost for men in the army, there is no space for grooming or styling there. The haircuts are utilitarian, not aesthetic.
However, you are not in the army. You’re a normal guy wearing a hairstyle on a daily basis that needs to look good. Therefore, when it comes to tools and products that you can use to make yourself look better, here’s the deal.
Invest in a high quality hair clipper or razor that will allow you to adjust or maintain your haircut at home, by yourself. This will save you a lot of money in the long run seeing as you won’t have to make an appointment with the barber every three weeks for an adjustment. You can also buy some pomade or clay if you want to add a little pizzazz to your military haircut.
The Flat Top Military Haircuts
First things first – this haircut doesn’t work for men with curly hair. Unless you’re willing to straighten your hair every day, of course. Then you’re good to go! The flat top is composed of two parts. The bottom half has a high fade and it comprises the sides and the back. While the top part needs to be longer and lifted up. So that when you cut the hair, it points upward, forming the proverbial flat top.
It’s quite interesting to note here that there is also another version of this haircut called the ‘horseshoe flat top.’ To get it you have to use a clipper that has no guard on. Run it right through the center of the flat top so that it leaves the middle hollow, like a horseshoe. However, we should tell you that this is not considered a serious haircut and that most men in the army do this one more like a dare than an actual hairstyle.
The Burr Cut
This type of military cuts is called the burr cut. As far as length goes, it’s simply one step over what we would call the induction cut. This means you have to use the number two guard if you want to do it by yourself at home. When you’re done, your hair should be around one eight of an inch in length. Don’t forget that it has to be the same length all over your head. There is no taper involved in the burr cut!
Modern Military Haircuts
Here’s a perfect example of military haircuts permeating pop culture. Of course, this type of look would never be allowed in the army, but it’s completely fine if you’re a civilian. This is a very short hairstyle that obviously stems from military haircuts with a bald fade and a longer top.
The top half has been carefully combed and slicked into a side part with a little pomp in the front that gives it a cure retro vibe. The bald fade is most likely in place because the model wanted to show off his skull tattoos. This is a wonderful idea if you have the same type of ink. Not that we endorse face tattoos, of course!
Crew Cut with a Hard Part
A hard part is essentially the same as your normal parting of the hair. Except that it’s mostly done on men who have very short hairstyles. It’s also done by a barber or stylist with a razor to make it more pronounced. Hard parts are a great way to embellish a crew cut and breathe new life into it since it can get a little boring.
Therefore, if you already have a crew cut and think it’s too retro or that it’s time to add a little modern touch to it, a hard part should do the trick!
Military Haircuts with Pompadour
Is it really possible to combine a military haircut with a pompadour? Of course not. If we’re speaking in the traditional sense because that would defeat the purpose of these cuts. The pompadour is a medium to long hairstyle that requires a lot of hair product and a lot of time to style every single day. We’re also quite sure it would break the army’s rules when it comes to ‘eccentric haircuts.’
However, you are not in the army so you get to pair military haircuts with any other hairstyle you want. Even if it is a pompadour. It’s a good idea to discuss your creative hair styling thoughts with your barber and see what he or she thinks about it.
The Induction Cut
There is no other hairstyle that spells out military haircuts better than the famous induction cut. The name ‘induction’ represents the style every soldier gets when they first arrive to the force and have to go through boot camp.
How do you get the induction cut all by yourself? You will need a clipper, of course. Simply take the clipper with no guard and run it all over your head until you are left with a little stubble. Your head shouldn’t be shaved clean, but it should have the same length all over.
It’s a fantastically practical style, especially in summertime when it’s so hot outside. However, you should know that a lot of barbers and hairstylists actually advise against the induction cut. It all depends on your facial structure.
If you have a rectangular face, for example, chances are you will simply look scary with an almost shaved head. There is something almost threatening about this look. As a consequence, you will have to find ways to soften you appearance through clothes and accessories if you do decide to go for it. The same goes if you have a triangular or a diamond shaped face. Specialists also advise not pairing the induction cut with a beard because beards will only serve to make you look even more threatening.
What’s the conclusion?
Most stylists and barbers out there say that every man should try military haircuts at least once in their life. It doesn’t really matter if you choose an induction cut, a buzz cut or a crew cut. They all bring the same things to the table. Convenience, versatility, freshness and a feeling of ease. The idea that you can just get out of bed, take a shower, and be on your way! Doesn’t that sound nice?