Every gentleman is different in his hairstyle preferences. Some guys want the latest trending style (right now it’s the man braid), while others simply want a low-maintenance haircut that still looks good. For those who want simplicity, we’ve got you covered with the high and tight haircut.

The high and tight is a classic barbershop cut that’s a variant of the buzz cut. For decades, it’s been widely seen on the heads of men in the military, and it’s also found its way into civilian life. It’s one of the shortest men’s hairstyles available that still retains a distinct characteristic and isn’t a flat out buzz cut.

One of the biggest benefits of the high and tight is its ease. If you have a good set of hair clippers, you can easily give yourself this haircut. On the other hand, if you prefer to leave all your haircuts up to your trusty barber, you’ll be happy to know that most barbers around the world are familiar with the high and tight. It’s a style that’s remained in barbershops for decades, and it’s not going to be leaving anytime soon.

What do I need for the high and tight?

Since the high and tight is such a simple hairstyle, you don’t need anything in the way of products. So if you’re often busy and can’t spend enough time on styling your hair as you’d like, the high and tight could be a great option for you. If you have enough hair left on top or opt for a longer length, you can style the hair, but most men who wear the high and tight choose to not style it. If you do choose to style it, a light hold gel or wax will be more than enough to keep it in place.

Hight And Tight

If you’re cutting the high and tight yourself at home, you’ll need a high quality hair clipper and an assortment of blade guards. Having #0 through #5 is a good start for the high and tight and will enable you to choose from a nice range of lengths.

The high and tight works well with most hair types, with the possible exception of extremely kinky or coiled hair.

The high and tight will work better with certain face shapes. It leaves only a small area of hair on top of the head, so your face shape will be emphasized since it’s the focal point of your head. For that reason, the high and tight works nicely with square, oval, and triangular or diamond face shapes. However, this style doesn’t work as well with oblong, diamond, and round face face shapes.

How to Cut the High and Tight

Before you begin cutting, make sure you know how wide you want your top strip of hair to be. Make mental markers at its boundaries so you don’t accidentally clip the top part too short. The strip should go to the vertex of your head. This will create the “high” appearance.

Start by clipping the back and sides, which will have the shortest hair. This is generally no longer than a #2, and you can even use #0. Make sure that the back and sides are clipped evenly. This will create the “tight” appearance.

high tight haircut

The top strip is also clipped with one clipper length, but this length is longer than what you used for the back and sides. Generally, you want to use a length that’s 1 to 2 numbers higher. So if you used a #1 for the back and sides, use a #2 or #3 for the top strip of hair. Make sure the top is also clipped evenly.

The result should be a short buzz on the back and sides and a definitive strip of hair on top. This strip should have hard edge lines; in other words, don’t fade it gradually into the shorter back and sides. If you do that, you’ll have a high fade haircut and not a high and tight. The strip should look like an island with a defined outline.

See the gallery below for more ideas:
Mark Salling’s High and Tight Raccoon
DFree / Shutterstock.com

Mark Salling's High and Tight Raccoon

This neat, symmetrical high and tight features a large strip in the middle of the head, giving this style its animal-inspired name.

high and tight

Hard Parted Skin Fade

If you love slicked back retro haircuts, then this dapper style is perfect for you. The hard part accentuates the swooping hair, and the bald fade adds a fashionable flair.

High and Tight with Flat Top

High and Tight with Flat Top

This bold look takes the classic military high and tight to new extremes. The extreme bald fade and the sloping patch of hair are sure to make you stand out wherever you go.

High and Tight Slick Back
Jakub+Zak/ Shutterstock.com

Long Slick Back

If you’re not keen on going too short all at once, this variation of the High and Tight haircut will allow you to keep a good amount of length and yet give you a clearer picture of what you’d look like if you decide to trim it shorter. This slick back is a simple way to keep the mane put together, just grab some gel and neatly comb it back.

Dry Textured Thin Hair

Dry Textured Thin Hair

High and tights aren’t always super short. This longer version gives you more hair to style and allows the texture of the hair to shine through.

High and Tight
High and Tight, by @ambarberia

Swinged Texture with Undercut Fade

Texture is the name of the game with this hairstyle. This is another long high and tight, and it’s very versatile.

High and Tight Afro
High and Tight Afro, by @javi_thebarber_

High and Tight Afro

High and tights work with afros too! As seen here, a high and tight can help to give an afro shape and definition.

High and Tight Drop Skin Fade + Hair Design
High and Tight Drop Skin Fade + Hair Design, by @javi_thebarber_

High and Tight High Skin Fade

It’s easy to personalize a high and tight to your liking. Here, a lineup and shaved design take the basic high and tight style to a whole new level.

High and Tight High Skin Fade
High and Tight High Skin Fade, by @conortaaffehair

Sneaked Fade with Undercut

This stylish take on the high and tight uses an undercut and a skin fade to provide a contemporary twist on a classic cut.

That Faded Line Up with Sleek Fade

That Faded Line Up with Sleek Fade

This faded line up with semi wavy texture on the top makes it very fancy. Trimmed forehead hair while maintaining the volume is the key to ace this look. A slight drop fade comes in handy too.

Thick Toned Moustache

Thick Toned Moustache

Thick hair can be quite hard to handle but shaving it off on the sides and tying it up as a bun keeps it cool and macho. The key to this hairstyle is the skin fade on the sides and slight hairlines on both sides.

High Fade Crew Cut + Line up
High Fade Crew Cut + Line up, by @javi_thebarber_

High Fade Crew Cut + Line up

This is a more generic hairstyle with brush up on the forehead but the clear line-up spices it up. The twin slit shave on the back head makes it hipster.

Hight & Tight Receding Hairline
Credits: Harley Detrick

High and Tight with Skin Fade

This hairstyle is quite common in the military scene with shorter sides and a longer top. A slight wavy texture makes it all fun and classic. This is an example of vivid mid fade with a slight tinge of an undercut, there is no limit to personalize this style.

High and Tight Recon

High and Tight Recon

One of the toughest cuts in the market with a very tough look. This is simple to achieve because shaving sides and keeping the top volume.

High and Tight

Subtle Taper with Line Up

This is a dapper style that blends in with almost every occasion. It also happens to be one of the simplest haircuts because it does not require too much maintenance as the sides are all shaved.

Low High and Tight
jeneva2 / Shutterstock.com

Low High and Tight

This hair island on top is the classic example of high and tight. Sides are not faded but size 1 clippers do the job of almost shaving the sides. The top is trimmed with size 3/4 clippers, the best part it requires less time every morning.

Long Top High and Tight
Kite_rin / Shutterstock.com

Long Top High and Tight

This is a combination of the long side-parted top with undercut fade on the side. It’s pairing with the beard makes the face balance and looks it even. Using hair wax to soften the hair makes it have that thin look.

Classic High and Tight
Nikolay+Mint / Shutterstock.com

Classic High and Tight

Buzzcut is already a short haircut and combining it with high and tight makes it trendy. This hairstyle also features undercut and spice of macho flavor.

Medium High and Tight
XiXinXing / Shutterstock.com

Medium High and Tight

High and tight doesn’t have to only be for tough guys, it comes in handy when having receding hairline or a widow’s peak. This style features a top with size 5 clippers and a straight-up brushed texture.

Wavy High and Tight
Credits: Braid Barbers

Wavy High and Tight

The classic and modern example of undercut high and tight. The strict side shaved with a goatee mustache is what makes it tough. For more panache, dye the hair with blonde shine and let it sit all wavy.

Long High and Tight
@ gabriele_iervolino

Long High and Tight

Slicked back with undercut with shaved sides, what else can you ask for. This is quite a style with so much going on yet quite simplistic and can go on almost all occasions. To make it look slightly different, tie up a small knot, and there you go, a small bun for you.

Afro Lined Up Taper with Shaved Hairline Skin Fade

Afro Lined Up Taper with Shaved Hairline Skin Fade

This is a good blend of Tapered Line Up and top has some decent volume. The controlled French Crop on the forehead makes it look all sleek and tidy. Slapping on some shaved hairlines makes it fully trendy and modern.

Modern Tapered High and Less Tight

Modern Tapered High and Less Tight

This is for sure not your just another high and tight. It has a taper that goes all around with comparatively longer tops. The harsh undercut makes all the popping happen.

Lowest Form of High and Tight

Lowest Form of High and Tight

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, this is not your conventional high and tight. This is more like a low end high and tight. The low fade with that taper makes it both strict yet casual. This style is one size fits all kinda thing, what do you think?

Sharp Faded Sides and Silent Top

Sharp Faded Sides and Silent Top

This one lingers between high and tight, and on the borders of Buzz Cut. The top is astonishingly conditioned where the length is incredibly short yet very classic. Some hair wax helps to have that shine. The sides are always better up if taper and best when faded to bring attention on top.

High Fade

Long Top Variation with High Fade

Even though this variation technically doesn’t count as a full-on high and tight it gets an honorable mention because of how well it fits with the style! To make it truly a high and tight we’d have to get rid of the high fade to make it into a shaven style.

Buzzed High and Tight with Fade

Buzzed High and Tight with Fade

This is a very modern high and tight which is a blend of many things. Let’s start with the texture on top with a short length and a thin texture. Moreover, it is straight laid with sharp yet faded line ups, it surely adds that panache. Lastly, the undercut is both subtle yet obvious, cannot beat that!

Afro Curly Hippie High and Tight

Afro Curly Hippie High and Tight

This is not your usual high and tight that you see on a Monday afternoon. This afro-textured top is surely a new trendy high and tight where the top is what attention is drawn. The sides are taper faded with nothing bling yet the neatness is where it makes it perfect.

Regular Afro High and Tight

Regular Afro High and Tight

This afro cut is quite common and is a classic version of high and tight. The sides are finely taper faded and the top is dense yet controlled in volume. The temple is faded and has a very clean outlook. What else can you ask for?

High and Tight Knot

High and Tight Knot

This one is strictly for those who are already out of the military because that top knot probably goes against the rules.

Pompadour with Faded Sides

Pompadour with Faded Sides

Thin hair if done right and conditioned results in this beauty and the taper faded sides make it pitch-perfect. The temple fade on the sides makes it ten times better and just makes the high and tight better. However, this slicked back top with that drop fade makes high and tight, tighter.