If you’re after a super clean looking hairstyle, consider the line up haircut for your next ‘do. Also called a shape up or edge up, the style has gained popularity with black men, as it particularly suits African American hair types.

The line up haircut is easily identifiable by the sharp, razored edges of the hair. Either clippers with an extremely short guard size or a straight razor produces the ultra defined look. The result is a tidy, almost geometric look that focusses on the lines. This is especially noticeable at the temples, where the hair extends out from the hairline, forming a 90 degree angle.

The line up haircut is a great choice if you’re looking for a slightly edgy style that accentuates the natural angles of your face. The line up works best with a square or diamond face shapes.

Spiky textured faux hawk with a line up
Spiky textured faux hawk with a line up, by @z_ramsey / Instagram

What do I need for the line up haircut?

The line up haircut typically works best for black men with shorter hair. If you already have a shorter cut like a crew cut, Caesar cut, or another type of buzzcut, you’re well prepared to get the line up haircut. If you don’t have a shorter cut, you’ll want to get one. All types of shorter buzzcuts will work.

However, you can still have some volume on top, depending on the style. If your hair is naturally curly, you can keep the curls on top and get a line up on the front, sides, and back. The line up “haircut” is less of a cut and more of a versatile technique that you can use with almost any haircut for a sharp look.

How to get the line up haircut

First, you’ll need to settle on a hairstyle. If you’re unsure of what to get, let your barber or stylist know that, and you can work together to find a style that will suit your hair type, face shape, and personal style.

Next, it’s a huge help to your barber or stylist if you can find a picture of the line up haircut style you want. Since there are many different kinds of line ups, a picture will help your stylist understand the type you’re after.

Your stylist should use short clippers to get the line up effect and a straight razor to clean everything up and give a uniform look. For the front of the head, ask for the hair at the temples to extend out a bit, forming a 90 degree angle. The hairline itself is somewhat higher.

Spiky brushed up with line up
Spiky brushed up with line up, by @z_ramsey / Instagram

The area above and around the ears should also be clipped close and tight. This clipping continues around the back of the head, so the neckline, usually blocked or rounded in this case, is also clipped close and tight.

The line up haircut also works well with a skin fade. The sky’s the limit when it comes to incorporating the line up into your existing style.

See more ideas below:
1/25
Clean and Sharp Mid Fade with Short Top
@jayroberts_

Clean and Sharp Mid Fade with Short Top

If you have a short haircut with a mid fade, you can enhance the clean and sleek look further with a line up. This is a simple yet dapper look, especially when the lines are echoed in the beard.

2/25
Gingered Wavy Top with Faded Line Up
@jayroberts_

Gingered Wavy Top with Faded Line Up

We like how the wild wavy top is contrasted with a straight fringe then the subtle lines at the temple. This is a perfect transition from the dense top down to the cleaner neckline.

3/25
Long Curly French with Side Line Design
@barberiaharo

Long Curly French with Side Line Design

Here, the line up is further enhanced with a horizontal line design, making what would otherwise have been a simple curly French crop a super trendy look.

4/25
Messy Hairstyle with Line up
Messy Hairstyle with Line up, by @criztofferson

Messy Hairstyle with Line up

Love the combination of textures on this ‘do: the messy top then the thinner hairline and clean edge up.

5/25
Accumulated Top with Short Line Up
@jayroberts_

Accumulated Top with Short Line Up

Now here’s an edge up that’s more statement-making than most. The solid fringe and corners on this style certainly make a unique frame for the face.

6/25
Messy Curls with Disconnection
@criztofferson

Curly Texture with Shaved Hairline

Wow, how cool is this hairstyle? The curls at the top look really wild and edgy, the line up perfectly cut, and the shaved line adds extra flair.

7/25
Skin Fade + Slicked Back Hairstyle
Skin Fade + Slicked Back Hairstyle, by @javi_thebarber_

Skin Fade + Slicked Back Hairstyle

If you have a pompadour as perfect as this, it’s only right that you finish it off with an equally flawless line up. This is definitely a fresh-from-the-barber look.

8/25
Dense Volume with Bright Low Fade
@barbersandbrews

Dense Volume with Bright Low Fade

It’s a good idea to balance out dense volume with clean lines. The two make a great combination especially when teamed with an equally eye-catching beard.

9/25
Thin Side Part with Mid Fade
@tonisaura_barbershop

Thin Side Part with Mid Fade

If you’re not into the I-woke-up-like-this trend, this is the haircut for you. So impeccable it looks like it comes with a blueprint, this style features carefully carved lines and a flawless look from the voluminous top to the fade.

10/25
Hair Design
Hair Design, by @barber.josh.o.p

Disconnected Skin Fade

Obviously, you only need one little element as striking as this disconnection to have the coolest hairstyle on the planet. Bookmark this for your next trip to your stylist.

11/25
High Fade Crew Cut + Line up
High Fade Crew Cut + Line up, by @javi_thebarber_

High Fade Crew Cut + Line up

As you can see here, line ups do an excellent job of enhancing the sleekness of a crew cut. Those edges definitely make a stylish look even sharper.

12/25
Neat and Sleek Top with Mid Fade
@eddie_rtb

Neat and Sleek Top with Mid Fade

A perfectly shaped afro needs more that just a good trim at the top and back. Don’t neglect your hairline — see how much more impressive it looks with those sharp edges?

13/25
Line up with Pompadour
Line up with Pompadour, by @anton_marchenko_

Line up with Pompadour

Cleaning up your lines are a great way to enhance not only your hairstyle but also your face shape. It gives your widow’s peak a trim appearance and emphasizes your heart-shaped face.

14/25
Textured Short Top with a Line Up
Textured Short Top with a Line Up, by @conortaaffehair

Textured Short Top with a Line Up

When you have a messy, wavy texture at the top, a sharp border provides a nice contrast and makes for a more striking look.

15/25
High Top with Line Up
High Top with Line Up, by @z_ramsey

High Top with Line Up

A line up can totally turn your hairstyle into a work of art. Here, the curls at the top are messy, then comes the abrupt hairline plus the designs on the side. All together, they make one super trendy ‘do!

16/25
High Top Afro With Fade
@z_ramsey

High Top Afro With Fade

Even with the height on this afro, we don’t think it would look as impressive without the line up. Sharp edges definitely add a perfect polish to any hairstyle.

17/25
Sharp Line Up
source

Sharp Line Up

As you can see here, the sharper the edge up, the more eye-grabbing the hairstyle. And the perfectly trimmed beard adds an extra dose of pizzazz.

18/25
Low Fade with Short Curls and Line up
by @travisanthonyhair

Low Fade with Short Curls and Line up

Here’s another example of an afro with a line up. The clean edges form a nice border around those curls.

19/25
Pomp it Drop Fade

Pomp it Drop Fade

This style is definitely all sorts of cool with its high brush up and neat edges. The hard part adds another standout element.

20/25
Drop Fade with Afro Disconnection
source

Drop Fade with Afro Disconnection

This soft edge up blends well with the messy styling of this afro. And the disconnected design takes the entire look to a whole new level.

21/25
Sharp Line Up with Dyed Top
@odyzzeuz

Sharp Line Up with Dyed Top

What makes this a standout look is the blond dyed top. But the edge up definitely adds a modern touch to the style.

22/25
That Layered Pompadour with Faded Line Up
@ marcovfialho

That Layered Pompadour with Faded Line Up

Line Ups are really good enhancers if done right. Here the top is all controlled with that pompadour. The lineup is half faded for that near effect which is then supported by a neat skin fade. Don’t miss the cheeky Van Dyke that just makes it better.

23/25
Semi Curl Brush Up Top
@ marcovfialho

Semi Curl Brush Up Top

One of the purposes of temple fade is to make the style look much cleaner. The thin hair-dense brush-up makes everything so much fun. The sides are taper faded and that makes the temple fade more prominent.

24/25
Sharp Line Up with that Neat Dropped Temple Fade
@tmcuts

Sharp Line Up with that Neat Dropped Temple Fade

Top being curly, the sides here are neatly tapered with that sharp lineup that only makes things better. The faded drop temple makes it perfectly neat plus that almost clean shaved look makes one good style for people to looks at.

25/25
Mini Lineup with Mid Faded Curls
@menspireacademy

Mini Lineup with Mid Faded Curls

Mid fade loves to put style into perspective with this hallf and half look. The tpo here is kept quite under control by cutting down some curls and makingit look shorter. The sides are tapered right from the top to infuse neat look.