Some men’s hairstyles come and go, only lasting a few years. These temporary styles die out after a fashion fad is over and don’t have the impact to survive the test of time. Others stay trendy for decades and remain a classic style that can’t be touched. Slicked back hair is exactly that.
While slicked back hair dates back to well over 100 years, the style gained immense popularity in the fifties with styles like the pompadour. Today, slicked back hair is loved by both classy guys who like its retro vibe and contemporary men who want a refined hairstyle.
The idea of slicking back hair is a particularly versatile technique. It can be applied to a variety of haircuts and works well with most hair types and face shapes. Think of slicking back your hair as the secret sauce to go along with your favorite haircut. You can sport a slicked back undercut, a slicked back side part––the only limit is your imagination.
What do I need for slicked back hair?
You might be wondering if you have the right hair type or face shape to get slicked back hair. The good news is that slicked back hair will work pretty well for all face shapes. Whether you have a round, square, diamond, or even oblong shaped face, you can use slicked back hair to get a suave look.
However, slicked back hair doesn’t work perfectly with all hair types. Both thin and thick hair will work, and if you have straight or wavy hair, you’re good to go. If your hair is extremely wavy, curly, or coiled, you’ll have a tougher time. The more unruly your hair is, the tougher it will be to slick it back. So if your hair is very wavy, you have a chance at taming it. However, if your hair is curled into tight coils, you probably won’t be able to slick it back.
If you have a hair type that’s good for slicked back hair, you’ll need to get your hands on some essential hair products. First, you’ll need a good pomade. Get a light hold if you have thin hair or a firm hold if you have thick hair. We recommend a water-based pomade instead of oil-based. Water-based pomades are much easier to wash out and manage. Suavecito and Layrite offer good options.
Next, you’ll need a good comb. While this seems like a basic necessity, the quality of your comb is a crucial component to getting a good slicked back hairstyle.
There are a couple of optional accessories you can use as well. If your hair is having a hard time staying in place even with pomade applied, you can use a blow dryer to blow your hair into place. If all else fails, you can use a light amount of hairspray to make your slicked back hairstyle stay right where you want it to.
How to Style the Slicked Back Hairstyle
Since slicked back hair can be applied to a wide range of haircuts, we’ll go over only the styling process. You can start from almost any haircut and slick back the hair to add a touch of class.
It’s best to start with damp hair that’s been towel dried after a shower. Scoop out a small amount of pomade, roughly the size of a small coin (an American nickel size is a good start), and use your fingers to work it into your hair. Make sure the pomade only coats your hair and not your scalp.
The slicking action should be a smooth motion toward the back of your head.
Next, take a comb and proceed to slick the hair back. Start with the comb right above your forehead and continue moving back until you reach your crown.
After the first slick back, you can follow up with more to make sure your hair is laying the right way. Using a comb will provide the neatest results.
And that’s it! If your hair is having problems staying, use a blow dryer or a little hairspray to help it stay in place.
To know more check out these examples in action:
If you happen to have thick wavy hair, this is a witty way to style a slick-back. Instead of going all the way slick, you can allow your hair to conserve it’s natural texture for an easygoing look, yet fashionable as ever.
This straight pompadour is one of the more bold, slicked back options, but it’s incredibly stylish with a twang of hipster-ness. It’ll take some time in front of the mirror to get it just right, though!
We love this slick for the smooth and gradual contours. Also, it’s not ridiculously long, which makes washing and styling a lot easier.
It’s hard to focus on the hair when there’s such a great ‘tache at play, but we think the part in this cut is really what’s tying the whole look together.
The slicked back cut is a favorite among hipsters, just because it’s a little more out-there than other boring cuts. And in case you were wondering, here’s how it looks with a beard, tattoos, and denim jacket.
You can adapt the slicked back style into a manly one, when needed. Rougher styling and thicker hair does the trick here… or maybe it’s all the bushy facial hair.
For those with medium length hair, the slicked back can also do the trick as an elegant cut. You know, the kind of thing you’d wear to a posh dinner party.
There’s no need to brush out and flatten up your hair for a slicked back, since it works just as well with wavy hair.
We’re also impressed by shorter, gelled back styles like this one. For the busy man with a little less time to spend on adjusting his hair, this is definitely a contender.
There’s often some sort of tapering on the sides with this kind of cut, but in this slicked back, the sides are trimmed off completely. The result? Something a little different, and surprisingly cool…
Quick reminder: slicked back top doesn’t have to mean short sides. This slightly tamer, lion-like (no pun intended) cut seems more reserved to us.
Shaving off the sides and slicking the top right back leaves us with Brad Pitt’s fury hairstyle, which has an impressive fierceness to it thanks to the skin-tight sides.
Here’s another long variant of the slicked back haircut, this time with long locks suspended over the head. It’s a good choice for the colder winters, where you really need some length to cover those ears.
This loose, brushed back hairstyle is definitely a clean look. However, haircuts play to your face shape, and we think that’s resulted in a slightly strange, stretched look here.
This is another variant of the slicked back cut with shaved sides, but it’s amazing how much difference the bushy beard makes.