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:
Clean and Sharp Mid Fade with Short Top
@jayroberts_
1/40

Clean and Sharp Mid Fade with Short Top

Brush Up Skin Fade
@pjabreu
2/40

Brush Up Skin Fade

Line Up
@russ_thebarber
3/40

Clean Taper Fade

Gingered Wavy Top with Faded Line Up
@jayroberts_
4/40

Gingered Wavy Top with Faded Line Up

Long Curly French with Side Line Design
@barberiaharo
5/40

Long Curly French with Side Line Design

Messy Hairstyle with Line up
Messy Hairstyle with Line up, by @criztofferson
6/40

Messy Hairstyle with Line up

Accumulated Top with Short Line Up
@jayroberts_
7/40

Accumulated Top with Short Line Up

High Skin Fade Line Up + Slicked Back
High Skin Fade Line Up + Slicked Back, by @_mannys
8/40

High Skin Fade Line Up + Slicked Back

High Skin Fade with a Line Up
High Skin Fade with a Line Up, by @javi_thebarber_
9/40

High Skin Fade with a Line Up

Messy Curls with Disconnection
@criztofferson
10/40

Curly Texture with Shaved Hairline

Taper Faded Undercut
@juanmapeluka
11/40

Taper Faded Undercut

Skin Fade + Slicked Back Hairstyle
Skin Fade + Slicked Back Hairstyle, by @javi_thebarber_
12/40

Skin Fade + Slicked Back Hairstyle

Dense Volume with Bright Low Fade
@barbersandbrews
13/40

Dense Volume with Bright Low Fade

Thin Side Part with Mid Fade
@tonisaura_barbershop
14/40

Thin Side Part with Mid Fade

Hair Design
Hair Design, by @barber.josh.o.p
15/40

Disconnected Skin Fade

High Fade Crew Cut + Line up
High Fade Crew Cut + Line up, by @javi_thebarber_
16/40

High Fade Crew Cut + Line up

Neat and Sleek Top with Mid Fade
@eddie_rtb
17/40

Neat and Sleek Top with Mid Fade

Line up with Pompadour
Line up with Pompadour, by @anton_marchenko_
18/40

Line up with Pompadour

Textured Short Top with a Line Up
Textured Short Top with a Line Up, by @conortaaffehair
19/40

Textured Short Top with a Line Up

Skin Fade Texture Line Up
@m.r.k.thebarber
20/40

Skin Faded Wavy Texture

Pocky Sharp Line Up with Taper Fade
@meme_clipz
21/40

Pocky Sharp Line Up with Taper Fade

Wavy Side Part with Taper Fade
@markthebarber
22/40

Wavy Side Part with Taper Fade

Wavy Taper Fade
@drewdabarber
23/40

Wavy Taper Fade

Curly Disconnected with Taper Fade
@evan_thebarber
24/40

Curly Disconnected with Taper Fade

High Top with Line Up
High Top with Line Up, by @z_ramsey
25/40

High Top with Line Up

Line Up Buzzcut
Line Up Buzzcut, by @topmenshaircuts
26/40

Line Up Buzzcut

Low Skin Fade With Line Up
@dbarber203_
27/40

Low Skin Fade With Line Up

High Top Afro With Fade
@z_ramsey
28/40

High Top Afro With Fade

Sharp Line Up
source
29/40

Sharp Line Up

Side Swept Line Up
source
30/40

Side Swept Line Up

Low Fade with Short Curls and Line up
by @travisanthonyhair
31/40

Low Fade with Short Curls and Line up

Hard Part Line Up
source
32/40

Hard Part Line Up

Spiky Line Up
source
33/40

Spiky Line Up

Slicked Back Undercut Line Up
source
34/40

Slicked Back Undercut Line Up

Buzzed Cut Line Up
source
35/40

Beard Faded Buzz Cut

Pomp it Drop Fade
36/40

Pomp it Drop Fade

Drop Fade with Afro Disconnection
source
37/40

Drop Fade with Afro Disconnection

Thick Hair Skin Fade Line Up
@mr_fineline
38/40

Thick Hair Skin Fade Line Up

Taper Faded Side Brushed Line Up
@mr_fineline
39/40

Taper Faded Side Brushed Line Up

Sharp Line Up with Dyed Top
@odyzzeuz
40/40

Sharp Line Up with Dyed Top