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.

Mid skin afro with line up
@z_ramsey / Instagram

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.

Fade beard buzzcut %40patty_cuts
@patty_cuts / Instagram

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.

Precise faux hawk
@z_ramsey / Instagram

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
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Clean and Sharp Mid Fade with Short Top
Brush Up Skin Fade
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Brush Up Skin Fade
Line Up
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Clean Taper Fade
Gingered Wavy Top with Faded Line Up
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Gingered Wavy Top with Faded Line Up
Long Curly French with Side Line Design
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Long Curly French with Side Line Design
Related
Messy Hairstyle with Line up
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Messy Hairstyle with Line up
Messy Hairstyle with Line up, by @criztofferson / Instagram
Accumulated Top with Short Line Up
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Accumulated Top with Short Line Up
High Skin Fade Line Up + Slicked Back
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High Skin Fade Line Up + Slicked Back
High Skin Fade Line Up + Slicked Back, by @_mannys / Instagram
High Skin Fade with a Line Up
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High Skin Fade with a Line Up
High Skin Fade with a Line Up, by @javi_thebarber_ / Instagram
Messy Curls with Disconnection
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Curly Texture with Shaved Hairline
Taper Faded Undercut
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Taper Faded Undercut
Skin Fade + Slicked Back Hairstyle
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Skin Fade + Slicked Back Hairstyle
Skin Fade + Slicked Back Hairstyle, by @javi_thebarber_ / Instagram
Dense Volume with Bright Low Fade
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Dense Volume with Bright Low Fade
Thin Side Part with Mid Fade
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Thin Side Part with Mid Fade
Hair Design
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Disconnected Skin Fade
High Fade Crew Cut + Line up
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High Fade Crew Cut + Line up
High Fade Crew Cut + Line up, by @javi_thebarber_ / Instagram
Neat and Sleek Top with Mid Fade
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Neat and Sleek Top with Mid Fade
Line up with Pompadour
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Line up with Pompadour
Line up with Pompadour, by @anton_marchenko_ / Instagram
Textured Short Top with a Line Up
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Textured Short Top with a Line Up
Textured Short Top with a Line Up, by @conortaaffehair / Instagram
Skin Fade Texture Line Up
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Skin Faded Wavy Texture
Pocky Sharp Line Up with Taper Fade
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Pocky Sharp Line Up with Taper Fade
Wavy Side Part with Taper Fade
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Wavy Side Part with Taper Fade
Wavy Taper Fade
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Wavy Taper Fade
Curly Disconnected with Taper Fade
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Curly Disconnected with Taper Fade
High Top with Line Up
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High Top with Line Up
High Top with Line Up, by @z_ramsey / Instagram
Line Up Buzzcut
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Line Up Buzzcut
Low Skin Fade With Line Up
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Low Skin Fade With Line Up
High Top Afro With Fade
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High Top Afro With Fade
Sharp Line Up
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Sharp Line Up
Side Swept Line Up
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Side Swept Line Up
Low Fade with Short Curls and Line up
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Low Fade with Short Curls and Line up
Hard Part Line Up
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Hard Part Line Up
Spiky Line Up
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Spiky Line Up
Slicked Back Undercut Line Up
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Slicked Back Undercut Line Up
Buzzed Cut Line Up
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Beard Faded Buzz Cut
Pomp it Drop Fade
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Pomp it Drop Fade
Drop Fade with Afro Disconnection
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Drop Fade with Afro Disconnection
Thick Hair Skin Fade Line Up
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Thick Hair Skin Fade Line Up
Taper Faded Side Brushed Line Up
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Taper Faded Side Brushed Line Up