Even if you don’t know it by name, you’ve probably seen the brush up hairstyle in action. With its uniquely tousled appearance, it’s becoming one of the year’s most iconic mens hairstyles.

What is the brush up hairstyle?

With a brush up hairstyle, the hair on the top of the head is styled upward in a messy fashion. The sides and the back are cut short with either an undercut, fade, or taper. This gives a similar appearance to the quiff. Whereas only the front of the hair is styled in the quiff, the whole top is styled in the brush up hairstyle.

RomanSo / Shutterstock.com

What do I need for the brush up hairstyle?

You’ll need to make some preparations before getting a brush up hairstyle.

First, the hair on top of your head should be 2 to 4 inches long. It can work with slightly shorter or longer hair (1.5 to 4.5 inches), but 2 to 4 inches is the ideal length.

This haircut is best for straight or wavy hair. If your hair is curly, you’ll have a hard time getting the brush up hairstyle.

Even though the brush up hairstyle is so called because the hair is brushed up, you don’t necessarily need a brush. A comb will also do the job. If you have wavy hair, use a wide-tooth comb.

You’ll need some high quality hair wax (or mousse) for this style. Whereas wax will give a messy look, mousse will give volume and works best with wavy hair.

Finally, grab a hair dryer. You’re now ready for the brush up hairstyle to grace your head.

Ryan Reynolds Men's Hairstyles_1-1
Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

How to Style the Brush Up Hairstyle

Start by applying hair wax or mousse to your damp hair. You’ll want to put a nice coat of wax on your hair. Experimentation will allow you to figure out the right amount.
As you’re applying the product, style your hair upward. Style it as if you’re spiking it, but make it messy and not defined. You can style it using your fingers and a brush or comb.

Now grab your hair dryer and point it at your forelock (bangs). Use your fingers to continue styling your hair upward. The hot air from the hair dryer and the lift from your fingers will provide the main brush up look.

After you’ve finished styling your forelock, you can move on to styling the hair on top of your head. Work backward, and repeat the lifting motions while aiming the hair dryer at the hair you’re styling. Continue in this fashion until you’ve got a rocking brush up hairstyle.

How to make my brush up right?

If you’re not getting a good brush up hairstyle, try styling your hair with a brush or comb instead of your fingers. Depending on your hair type and texture, you may want to use hair mousse instead of wax and vice versa. You might also want to try applying more wax or mousse as you style.

As with most hairstyles, experimentation is key. After a bit of practice, you’ll be able to achieve a great brush up hairstyle.

See the gallery below for more inspiration:
Dyed | fade, vertical by@paul_barbercode

Sleek Brushed Dyed

There are a number of things about this look that definitely catches the eye. First, of course, is the sleek and stiff brush up. The choppy texture at the top looks stylish as well, and we’re also loving the ash-brown color.

Undercut + Brushed Up Fohawk
Undercut + Brushed Up Fohawk, by @tombaxter_hair

Undercut + Brushed Up Fohawk

This is the hairstyle beloved by many celebrities, and it’s easy to see why. The brush up and choppy top look super stylish paired with the undercut, plus the blonde highlights add an extra dose of coolness.

Longer Faux Hawk with Brushed Up Front
Longer Faux Hawk with Brushed Up Front, by @tombaxter_hair

Longer Faux Hawk with Brushed Up Front

With the height on this faux hawk, you’re sure to stand out from the rest! This will work on longer hair — just make sure to use a strong-hold product to keep that faux hawk in top shape.

Brushed up Spiky Hairstyle
Brushed up Spiky Hairstyle, by @andrewdoeshair

Brushed up Spiky Hairstyle

If rugged is your thing, this is the ‘do for you. Opt for spiky layers and a good hair product to achieve this look.

Curly Brush Up

Curly Brush Up and Disconnected Design

Add a little extra oomph to your curls by wearing them in a brushed-up faux hawk. The thick curls at the top paired with the faded sides and the disconnected design make for a truly eye-catching look.

Brush up Against the Sun

Brush up Against the Sun

For a major punk flair, give your brushed-up hair an extra messy texture and a fab two-tone dye job.

Casual Brush Up

Casual Brush Up

Even the most casual brush up looks super cool, don’t you think? This style features just a bit of a messy texture at the front for instant edge.

Straight Mid Fade with Straight Up Top

Straight Mid Fade with Straight Up Top

The mid fade on this haircut makes a striking contrast to the brushed-up top. It’s a perfect combination of edgy and sophisticated.

Casual Short Strands

Casual Short Strands

A casual brush up can totally enhance even the most casual haircut. A perfect combination of height and texture does the trick.

Dry Textured Thin Hair

Dry Textured Thin Hair

Thin hair can come alive with the right brush-up style, even when you opt for a simple cut and a subtle texture.

Classic Brush Up with Faded Sides

Classic Brush Up with Faded Sides

This is yet more proof that a brush up makes a great match to faded sides. The bare neckline really emphasizes the thicker hair at the top.

Messy Brush Up with Low Fade

Messy Texture with Low Fade

This style features a low fade and a crown that is brushed forward. The front, meanwhile, is denser and brushed up in a messy style. Love the combination of textures here.

Shaved Hairline with Temple Fade

Fancy Brush Up plus Shaved Sideline

The thick brushed-up front and skin fade are further accentuated with a shaved line. This is a really striking look overall.

Long Brush Up with Taper

Long Brush Up with Taper

Longer hair lengths make the most eye-popping brush ups, don’t you agree? Check out this style, which features a long top that’s given a deliberately disheveled look. We’re also crazy about the blond highlights.

Brushed Up with Low Fade

Subtle Low Fade

A low fade paired with a thick brushed-up top makes your hair look fuller and denser. Just add a bit of texture to the top and you’re good to go.

High Volume Undercut
High Volume Undercut, by @aaron_kiely_hair

High Volume Undercut

For a really standout brush-up look, go for high volume at the top. The height on this quiff teamed with the undercut is sure to make you the center of attention.

Drastic Brushed Up Undercut

Drastic Brushed Up Undercut

Can you believe the extreme height on this brush up? Paired with the undercut, this is one majorly edgy look!

High Fade Undercut + Brushed Up Front
High Fade Undercut + Brushed Up Front, by @tombaxter_hair

High Fade Undercut + Brushed Up Front

Balance out a high fade with a tousled crown. Then brush up the front part to finish off the cool and edgy look.

Brushed Up Undercut + Spiky Hair
Brushed Up Undercut + Spiky Hair, by @javi_thebarber_

Brushed Up Undercut + Spiky Hair

There’s nothing like a spiky hairstyle to give you that punk vibe. Here, the choppy brush up is teamed with an undercut for added toughness.

Brushed up with Undercut
Brushed up with Undercut, by @barberdeano

Brushed up with Undercut

We like how the brush up flows in different directions while the textured crown adds to the unkempt appearance. This is the deliberately messy look done right!

High Volume Brush Up

High Volume Finger Combed

Now this is a real-life Johnny Bravo! Ideal for longer hair, the brush up features incredible height and volume and a very stylish finger-combed texture.

Brushed up Spiky Hairstyle for Young Guys
by @javi_thebarber_

Brushed up Spiky Hairstyle

When you combine a spiky texture with great height (and let’s not forget that clean and sleek fade), you get a haircut as spectacular as this!

Highlighted Brush Up Spikes

Highlighted Brush Up Spikes

As if those towering spikes weren’t eye-popping enough, the blond highlights make this even more of a standout look. Totally nailed the perfect color + style combo!

High Volume Brush Up with Fade

High Volume Brush Up with Fade

Aside form the voluminous brush up, there are two things about this look that really grabs attention: the impeccable gradient on the fade and the perfectly trimmed hairline.

Brushed Up Spiky

Shorter Brush up

When it’s impossible to pull off a salon-perfect ‘do every day, there are easier styles that look just as smart. Try this short brush up, which is casual and get-up-and-go yet so stylish.

Brushed Up Fade
Credits: Braid Barbers

Brush Up Fade

If the pompadour of the ’50s was given an ultra-modern update, it would look like this. The slick gelled look, the choppy texture, and the military fade are all giving off major tough-guy vibes.

Brushed Classic Taper Hair

Brush up Longer Taper

If tough and messy aren’t your thing, though, you can opt for something low-key and clean. This style has a longer taper, a side part, and a subtle texture at the top — perfect for a normal, everyday look.

Brush Up Hairstyle for Men

Pompadour Style Brush up

One of the most classic brush-up hairstyles you can try is the pompadour. This blast from the ’50s will have you looking like a dapper Old Hollywood star.

Textured Brush Up Beard

Textured Brush up

If you like it simple, opt for a straightforward brush with just a subtle texture. Effortless yet oh-so-cool!

Wild Brush Up Skin Fade and Glasses

Wild Brush up Skin Fade

The just-rolled-out-of-bed trend is going strong and if you want to jump in, here’s the brush up look for you. Not much effort needed, just keep the top as wild as possible.

Messy brush up Man Hairstyle

Messy yet Elegant

You don’t always see “messy” and “elegant” together in one sentence but here’s a hairstyle that proves you can be both at the same time. The disheveled look is the go-to of many celebrities, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for us!

Skin fade Texture by Braids UK
Credits: Braid Barbers

Textured with Skin Fade

Here, the spikes at the top flow in all directions possible and we’re totally loving the chaos. Pair it with a skin fade and you’ve got yourself a majorly punky look.

Flow Back Texture
Credits: Braid Barbers

Flow Back Texture

From chaos, let’s move on to something a little cleaner. This style has a nice texture flowing from the front to the crown before ending in a burst of choppy strands at the back. Gorgeous!

Adam Levine’s Staple Brush Up
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

Adam Levine's Staple Brush Up

Adam Levine’s signature brush up will have you looking like you just stepped out of the ’50s.

Long Layers Skin Fade
Credits: Micky Graham

Long Layers

If you have long layers at the top, there’s a lot of room for experimentation in terms of texture. Try this piecey style for a bit of an anime vibe.

Classic Taper and Textured Brush-Up
artfotodima / Shutterstock.com

Classic Taper and Textured Brush-Up

Don’t like experimenting with offbeat looks? This style featuring tapered sides and a curly texture on the top is a classic and will always feel comfortable.

Platinum Texture Brushed

Platinum Texture Brushed

When you pair a bold brush up with a punchy color, it’s guaranteed to turn heads. Try this messy style in a platinum blond hue with dark roots.

Hard Parted Brush Up Layers

Hard Parted Brush Up Layers

Brush up on its own is a very bold style move but layering it further makes it even more fun. The layers here are pretty vivid so as to bring out the style of it. The sides are taper faded but notice the thin hard part? That’s the key to pop.

Long Brush Up with Taper Fade

Long Brush Up with Taper Fade

Doesn’t it look like a very suitable sporty mode hairstyle? The top is brushed up but the length of hair is quite long while the back of the hair is quite tapered. The sides are quite tapered with a nice cheeky skin fade for that extra neat look.

Thin Hair Controlled Brush Up

Thin Hair Controlled Brush Up

Brush ups are not straight pointed up, at times it is curled strands standing as straight as they can. The brush-up is wavy with a nice job of controlling the texture with sides being taper faded for maximum panache.

Receeding Hairline But that Thin Brush Up

Receding Hairline But that Thin Brush Up

Thin hair doesn’t mean fewer style statements. The top here is perfectly styled into a cheeky brush up that goes long way. That plus the sides are taper faded with a beard coming in hot balancing the face quite well.

High Taper with Swirled Brush Up

High Taper with Swirled Brush Up

A very neat and subtle yet no lack of panache right here with the cheeky high taper with brush up on top with that swerve makes it very controlled and dope. However, being thick stranded it will need some product to stay in place.

French Crop or Brush Up?

French Crop or Brush Up?

Well, mixing different styles never got this far. The top undercut makes it possible to have french crop and brush up altogether. The sides are faded but the top is what steals the show especially that soft blonde dye just pops quite well.

Mohawked Brush Up with Mid Fade

Mohawked Brush Up with Mid Fade

Brush-ups can be both formal and informal. This one is on the latter spectrum. The top is slightly mohawked which gives a tad sharky feel to it with the side being slightly mid-faded but not too skin faded. The beard here is a perfect balancer.

Elegant Brush Up with Tapered Sides
Tanya Uralova/ Shutterstock.com

Elegant Brush Up with Tapered Sides

Brush-ups don’t have to be all extreme and crazy, sometimes they can be sweet with curled brush up with an undercut to taper the sides. The elongated temple makes a very cool look with that stubble balancer.

Pyramid Thin Haired Brush Up
Viorel Sima/ Shutterstock.com

Pyramid Thin Haired Brush-Up

Do you want to rock this look? Quite easy, flatten the top and the blow-dry from the front so that the hair goes up with some product to help it stay there. That side part texture does do wonders with tapering on the sides with a balancer beard to rescue!

Subtle Brush Up with SIde Brush
Mangostar/ Shutterstock.com/ Shutterstock.com

Subtle Brush Up with Side Brush

Versatility of a brush-up is quite unparalleled especially the variation it gives is unbeatable. The top is slightly brushed up here with sides being tapered for that top to pop out. The fade is nowhere to be seen so as to avoid that very neat look.

Casual Brush Up with Faded Temple
@ cutsbydk

Casual Brush Up with Faded Temple

Receding hairline is not all that bad if done right. The brush-up here is quite casual with a free fall texture to the brushed-up strands. The sides are taper fade with a cheeky temple fade and to top everything off, the clean shave makes everything much cleaner.

Thin Pompadoured Brush Up
@ jameswilliams_jtt

Thin Pompadoured Brush Up

A nicely fluffed pompadour is quite an exotic look especially with the rusty blonde dye here. The sides are taper faded with temple vanished into the fade as well. The beard blends in quite well giving a balanced look overall.

Thick Brush Up Strands with Undercut

Thick Brush Up Strands with Undercut

Brush up doesn’t always have to be with the hair on the front. Sometimes the hair on the top itself is brushed up with sides being undercut mid fade. The beard on the bottom balances the look quite neat.