Slicked Back or Brushed Up? Product Picks and Styling Tips for Wearing Your Hair Back

Maybe you're tired of your same old hairstyle. Or are wondering why those '50s guys looked so cool. Or simply want a put-together look that keeps your hair out of your face. Read on to master the art of slicked-back, brushed-up styling.

 

First, the challenge: For a lot of men out there, your hair may not naturally want to be pushed up from your face—or want to stay brushed back at all. Plus, if you have thick or curly hair, keeping it combed back all day can present a problem.

Then, the solution: To set your new style up for success, start by brushing your hair back in the shower. After applying shampoo and conditioner, use a comb to evenly distribute the product and direct your hair back before rinsing. Not only does this control your flow—it also stimulates the scalp for a deeper lather. Once rinsed clean, use your favorite product and tools to gently and consistently pull it back. Gradually your hair will begin to adapt to the repetition and keep away from your face throughout the day.

 

Now, a few brushed back styles:

 

The Polished Pompadour

Want a professional look without sacrificing style? Meet the slicked-back pompadour. There’s a reason this style hasn’t faded out of fashion—it’s quick, easy to style, and adds an air of timeless sophistication. The polished finish requires a sleek product with a bit of shine, like American Crew Heavy Hold Pomade. For best results, apply to clean, damp, towel-dried hair—just damp enough to help the product spread easily. After applying the pomade, use one hand to pull the comb back through your hair, following up with the other to smooth it through—'50s greaser-style.

Pro tip: Using a fine-toothed comb will give your hair a tighter, cleaner, super-smooth finish.

 

The Brush Back

Unlike the most pomade-dependent styles, the brush back errs on the softer side, creating a gentler, more casual, "lived-in" look.

hair model with pompadour

Don't be afriad to use a product with some shine. It'll help give your pompadour a clean, put-together look.

 
man with brush back

Not ready to go a fully slick style? Try a brushed back look.

 

The key to this look really lies in the comb or brush—we suggest a soft-bristled brush (like boar) for more feathery, blended looks. For more texture and dimension when combing it back, try a wide-toothed comb. The product for a brush back is a matte styler (like MITCH Reformer) or clay-based product (give Redken Brews Clay Pomade a try). These will give your hair definition and control, but the matte finish will make it look like you're not wearing any hair product at all. To use it, just emulsify the product in your palms and apply directly to dry hair.

Pro tip: To take your brush back up a notch, combine a clean, high fade with a few highlights on top to get a crazy-dimensional look that puts a spotlight on texture.

 

The Blow Dry

Another trendy variation featuring length on top, this blown-out look has all the volume and class of the classic pompadour without the heavy product and shine. It may look complicated, but creating the look is easy—just blow dry it back. To get that lift and volume, use a Denman brush and blow dry with a low-heat setting, after prepping with a bit of grooming spray, like Redken Brews Hairspray.

Pro tip: Once your hair is dry, add a strong-hold finishing spray, like SEB MAN The Fixer, to set the style up for success all day long.

 

Without a doubt, one of the best features of the short-side, longer-on-top modern male cuts is their styling flexibility. Keeping a little bit of length up top allows you to create a variety of classy looks that can complement almost any style. Faded or tapered, parted or uniform, neat-and-clean or daring-and-disheveled—however you cut it, it’s in style. But bear in mind, just because all of these hairstyles feature longer tops, doesn't mean you can forget about the back and sides. These looks are about clean lines—so you’re going to want to keep your usual routine with your Supercuts stylist to keep your hair game strong.

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