We’re hung-up on hair. Men don’t like to admit it, but we are.
Take a quick scroll through the Beardbrand YouTube Channel, and you’ll see it—right there in the comments, in black and white.
We have strong opinions about what other men should and shouldn’t do with their hair. Perhaps it’s us projecting our own hang-ups and beliefs about what we should and shouldn’t do with our own hair.
We’ve been brought up with cultural hair norms engrained—quite literally—into our heads. Deep down, our hair impacts how we feel about ourselves, maybe more than any other part of our body.
Our confidence is deeply rooted in how our hair looks. How many times have you scheduled a date with someone around a haircut? Or, delayed said date until you could get a haircut?
Hell, one hairstylist commissioned a survey of 10,000 European men. The results? “Many men would rather have a small penis than go bald.”
Yeah, we care about our hair. So, why then, would anyone in their right mind—and with a full head of hair—actually opt for a buzz cut?!
Well, we can think of five reasons to consider a buzz cut, crew cut, or similar short-all-over cut for your next hairstyle—even if you aren’t losing your hair. We’ll also drop some tips on how to get the perfect buzz cut, burr cut, or crew cut for your face shape.
5 REASONS TO GET A BUZZ CUT
A BUZZ CUT ALLOWS YOU TO REINVENT YOURSELF
If confidence is so tightly locked to our hair, then that means our ego is too. The buzz cut then is an opportunity to remove the veil of vanity that we’re so often weighed down by.
Look, field sanitation aside, there’s a reason the military buzzes the head of every new recruit—it removes—or at least reduces individuality—reinforcing the singularity of the unit. Similarly, Tibetan monks buzz their heads as a way to distance themselves from vanity and the ego.
Think about it—how many times daily do you check your hair in the mirror or the reflection of a store window? We spend a lot of time scrutinizing our physical appearance. Our hair is a big part of that.
By shearing one of our most-fussed-over features, the buzz cut allows us to remove some of our external focus and turn it inwards. It’s a chance to start fresh; to destroy and rebuild.
It’s easy to joke about the drastic post-breakup haircuts that women often get, but we would be remiss to act like men didn’t also do drastic things with their hair during challenging times. While this typically involves growing our hair and beards longer, a buzz cut is an equally radical move that achieves the same result of reinventing yourself.
Hair changes the way we feel about ourselves. Taking clippers to it and starting from scratch can be cathartic.
A BUZZ CUT CAN CHANGE PEOPLE’S PERCEPTION OF YOU
Hair is one of the first things that we notice about another person, and we subconsciously—and sometimes consciously—formulate our initial opinions of someone based on their hair. Of course, other things influence our first reactions of people as well, but hair is definitely a part of the equation.
When it comes to hair and other people’s perceptions, one of the most common questions is whether or not women are more attracted to men with short hair than men with long hair. There isn’t a clear cut answer, and if you search the internet long enough, you can find data to support either direction.
That said, there is a subset of the population that views men with short hair as more masculine and more attractive. And, some women say they are turned off by a man who spends too much time on his hair.
Speaking of spending too much time on hair...
BUZZ CUTS ARE LOW MAINTENANCE
The buzz cut drastically cuts down the time it takes you to get ready. It’s the ultimate no-maintenance hairstyle.
You could literally roll out of bed and skip the shower. Nobody would be the wiser—so long as you don’t skip the shower on too many consecutive days.
Even when you do shower, you don’t need to spend any time conditioning it, blowdrying it, or styling it.
In the summer (or on vacation), you can seamlessly transition from beach to pool to bar without having to take any time out of your day to restyle your hair.
You don’t have to worry about a windy day messing up your hair. You can roll the windows down on the highway and suffer no hair consequences.
Your friends will ask to rub your head for good luck, and well, your style won’t suffer because of it.
BUZZ CUTS SAVE YOU MONEY
Men are spending more money on grooming products than ever before, and the truth is, the longer your hair gets, the more expensive it gets to make it look great.
Longer hair means using more of your everyday hair products to have the same effect. Additionally, the quality of the products you use really does make a significant difference in how your hair looks and behaves. Trying to tame and style long hair with cheap products can discourage most men from giving long hair a real try.
As Trav White and Greg Berzinsky point out in their video, 5 reasons they hate having long hair, it can really drain your wallet.
The buzz cut, on the other hand, almost completely eliminates the need for most products. You don’t need to use a conditioner on a buzz cut. And styling products? Pointless.
You can apply a little Utility Balm to the scalp to keep the skin soft and hydrated, but other than that, the only product you’ll need to use more of is sunscreen.
BUZZ CUTS CAN HIDE THE GREY
For most men, grey hairs start popping up between the ages of 34 and 44. However, these sparse hairs tend to only be noticeable when the hair is longer. When the hair is buzzed short, it’s near impossible to pick out any grey outliers unless you’ve already gone completely silver.
If you’re feeling subconscious about going grey, the buzz can delay the noticeability for a bit.
TYPES OF BUZZ CUTS
Now that we’ve given you 5 reasons to consider a buzz cut let’s take a look at the different buzz cut styles at your disposal.
THE BUZZ CUT AKA THE INDUCTION CUT
Traditionally, the buzz cut is done with no guard on the clippers, and the hair is cut to be the same length all over. It’s the shortest you can go without taking a razor to your head. It’s the most extreme of the buzz cuts, and if you are looking for a fresh start, this is a total reset button.
The buzz cut marches in step with military evolution. It can be traced back—at least in American history—to George Washington’s grooming standards for the Continental Army during its inception in 1775. However, the buzz cut didn’t become the military standard until the 2nd World War.
Since then, the buzz cut has become part of the induction into the military, which is where the name “induction cut” comes from.
THE BURR CUT
The burr cut is done with the 1, 2, or 3 guards on the clippers. It leaves a little more length than the buzz cut, making it a little less extreme. The burr cut is traditionally the same length all over the head, but burr cuts with a skin fade or low taper are popular variations.
THE BUTCH CUT
The butch cut is the longest of the even-all-over buzzes and is done with a 4 guard on the clippers. The hair is still movable, and if you have curly hair, the butch cut still leaves a little amount of texture. With a butch cut, there’s still just enough hair that a tiny amount of Styling Balm can add volume and shape if you need it.
THE CREW CUT
The crew cut is rumored to have been named after Ivy League rowers in the 1930s. It differs from the buzz cut in that it includes fading on the back and sides while leaving more length on top. For a traditional crew cut, you would go with butch length or a 4 guard on top faded into shorter sides.
Check out this barbershop video of a classic crew cut.
There are a few other variations of the crew cut, including the high and tight, the buzz cut fade, and the flattop.
The high and tight
A crew cut with a much shorter top and much higher fade. It’s like an undercut but without the long hair to drape over the side. Similar to the induction cut, the high and tight has a very military look to it.
The buzz cut fade
A buzz cut or burr cut with a fade is one of the most popular hairstyles. There’s still enough contrast between the top and sides to keep you from looking like a tennis ball, but with all the easy maintenance of the buzz.
The buzz cut fade looks best with a skin fade on the side, especially if your hair is lighter. This allows you to still get a good amount of contrast.
Check out this barbershop video of Eric Bandholz’s buzz cut fade. Notice how the top is kept a little longer to allow for more contrast. With darker hair, you can go even shorter on top, as demonstrated in this buzz cut fade with an added surgical line.
The flattop’s popularity spiked in the 1950s. It was about as American of a haircut as you could get. Johnny Unitas, possibly the most prominent face in pro football at the time, sported one, and country singer George Jones kept his flat top into the 60s. It’s hard to not think of the classic flattop when thinking of baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie.
As Elvis Presley took off and Beatlemania invaded the states, rock n rollers outgrew their flat tops, and pompadours took over. With anti-war sentiments on the rise During the 1960s and 70s, the buzz cut (and flattops) became a symbol of the establishment. A majority of youth abandoned it in favor of shag cuts and long hair.
The flat top, or high top fade, became a prominent hairstyle among Black men throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. It became a landmark of the early days of hip hop and could be seen on notable stars ranging from Big Daddy Kane to the Fresh Prince.
We’ve seen a resurgence of flattops in recent years coinciding with the increasing popularity of classic 90s style.
BUZZ CUTS AND FACE SHAPE
A lot of guys forgo the buzz cut out of fear that they have a lumpy or odd-shaped head. Truth is, some face shapes (but not many) should probably pass on the shorter buzz cuts to avoid looking like an egg, or an alien.
Many of us got buzz cuts back when we were eight or nine years old, at a time when our proportions were all out of whack—we’re talking ears too big for heads and heads too small for bodies. Years of enduring those mom-administered summer buzz cuts might have been enough to dissuade you from ever considering the style again. We get it.
But, now that your head is a bit more proportionate, it’s worth giving a buzz cut or crew cut a second chance. And, chances are your head isn’t all that lumpy.
There are, however, specific face shapes that work best for a buzz, burr, or butch cut. If you aren’t sure what your head shape is, check out this handy guide from The Art of Manliness.
As a recap, there are six face shapes:
Typically, the goal of choosing a hairstyle centers around creating a more oval appearance of your face.
Those with oval and oblong faces generally have the most freedom to try different hairstyles because more-or-less, that oval and oblong shape is retained regardless of the haircut.
When it comes to buzz cuts, it can work really well for all face shapes, with the exception being the triangles out there. Characterized by a wide, prominent jaw, and narrow forehead, a buzz cut on a triangular face is going to give you a very definitive egg look.
Let’s break it down by shape.
Buzz away. Any length buzz, burr, butch, and crew cut looks great.
If you’ve got that classic egg shape, go with a longer buzz on top, like a burr or butch cut. Adding a low taper can help reduce that egg shape too. A crew cut is a great option here. Avoid the high and tight as that is going to really draw focus to the narrowness of your crown. On the flip side, if your jaw is more narrow than your forehead, a buzz cut can leave you looking like an alien. Fortunately, you can add a beard to fill out your jawline.
Buzz, burr, and butch cuts all work great for round faces. For the crew cut, take the fade a little bit higher to give a more oval appearance.
Buzz, burr, and butch cuts all work great for square faces. For the crew cut, take the fade a little bit higher to give a more oval appearance.
A classic crew cut is an excellent option for those with a diamond face. The extra length on top with a mid-level fade helps give a more rounded look.
For men with triangular faces, you typically want to keep the sides longer, which doesn’t lend itself particularly well to the buzz cut. If you’re going short, stick with a butch cut length, and if adding a taper, keep it really low.
BUZZ CUTS AND BEARDS
A buzz cut combined with a substantial beard is one of our favorite looks, and it goes a long way in helping you not look like an extra in Full Metal Jacket.
Again, your face shape should factor into your beard style decision.
Men with oval faces have pretty free reign when combining a beard with a buzz cut. Going with a six-month power beard looks great. Though, Eric Bandholz makes the yeard look awesome with a low-tapered burr cut. Again, the benefit of having an oval face shape is that everything tends to work.
Similar to the oval, but avoid going too long with the beard. Keep it in the corporate to power beard length; otherwise, you run the risk of really over accentuating your long and narrow head shape. If your forehead is smaller than your jaw, keep the beard from getting too round on the cheeks. If your jaw is thinner than your forehead, keeping the beard a little more round will help fill out your face.
A corporate to power-length beard works great on round faces. Have your barber taper the cheeks to keep the beard from getting too round. Keep the beard a little more narrow at the bottom to help give off a more oval appearance.
Keep the beard a little shorter and rounder at the bottom. Ask your barber to fade the cheeks to keep the beard from adding too much width there.
Adding a beard to a diamond-shaped face is a good move as it helps soften the edges of the jawline. You’re safe to add length here but avoid getting too pointy with the beard. Your face has enough angles, you don’t need to add more.
Keep a light stubble to accentuate the jawline without adding any more bulk too it.
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The classic buzz cut isn’t just for eight-year-olds, enlistees, and men with thinning hair. In fact, we can think of 5 solid reasons to mow your dome, even if you’ve got a full head of hair.
- A buzz cut allows you to reinvent yourself.
- A buzz cut can change people’s perception of you.
- A buzz cut is a low maintenance hairstyle.
- A buzz cut saves you money.
- A buzz cut can hide grey hair.
If you’re thinking of getting a buzz cut, we highlight the different types and how to approach it based on your head shape, so you don’t end up looking like an alien.