"Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life" are words written by Irish playwright and sexiest curtain cut bearer Oscar Wilde. Whether or not he’s right or wrong, Life and Art cannot live separately. Media influences us, just as much as real-life events make the basis for the next Netflix series.
Let us take a look back in the past 10 years, and reminisce on the people and the stories that set the trends, and changed men’s hairstyles, into the rich, beautiful art that it is today.
Bangs and Boy Bands
Love or hate him, you can’t deny that Justin Bieber is a face and voice we all recognize, especially when that first hit song came out. Baby with its repetitive lyrics and upbeat track, has become one of the most earwormy songs ever made. Along with it, was a flashy music video where the world had its first look at Canada's teenage wonder.
Bieber’s modern take on the Bowl Cut gave an aura of a playful, lighthearted teenager which fully captured the lad’s image at the time. First popularized by The Beatles, it was given a more flowy and relaxed style by JB. This long sweeping bowl cut, with the heavy bangs and lengthy sides, became the go-to hairstyle of every boy-next-door blonde co-lead, in a lot of TV shows and movies.
This trend of emphasizing volume and length continues in the emo-pop-punk scene as well with groups like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and Paramore, popularizing the long side bang and heavy-use of hair color. We view it as a meme and a stereotype today, but this was an iconic haircut that some may remember as cringe, but it had personality and is utterly unforgettable.
Maturity and Confidence
Maybe the entirety of millennials’ hair and fashion sense could be tracked by just following Justin Bieber. A year or two into his explosion to the mainstream, we see JB’s haircut change at the 2012 American Music Awards. Keeping the long strands but rocking a more Elvis Presley-esque Pompadour Style.
A timeless classic, the modern pompadour, keeps the high-volume front section of top hair, but instead of heavy-curls, we more often see a spiky, more angular, shape to the top. With the bangs dead and gone, this new style evokes a more confident JB, with an air of maturity that says “Why yes! I do gel and comb my hair”
Later on, as we approach 2015, we continue to see the influence of the pompadour, but with even lesser hair. Taking elements from punk aesthetics, we see a fusion with the mohawk cut. With High Fades, and Disconnected Undercuts, men seem to be finding more confidence showing more of their cheeks and jawline, but still maintaining a heavy crown of hair on their head. A popular celebrity at this time was Brad Pitt who was running a bold, slick back undercut in the film Fury.
Low Maintenance, High Fashion
For a while, men loved the clean sides and rich hefty top hair styles. The influence of the pompadour has outlived any of the celebs that made it popular. The availability of styling products allowed men to be creative, and find new ways of standing out and giving their hair more identity. Gels, wax, pomades, and many others, stylish hair was a daily part of life, until COVID hit.
2019 onwards was an awkward time for hairstyling. Other than salons and barbers being closed, we often see TV talk shows and celebrity interviews on Zoom call. For a while, people still dressed for the broadcast, but as community quarantine went on for months, we saw more and more celebs in their pajamas and robes, with less makeup and less hair products on.
Comfort was king, and with barber shop appointments taking weeks in queue, the Buzz Cut is back in town, baby! This low maintenance, short hair cut was a staple of quarantine. It was simple, light on the head, and would take another month or so before needing another barber’s appointment, some even would DIY the cut themselves.
The Man Bun also started ‘growing’ in popularity. With people more relaxed at home, long hair became an experimental activity. Many wanted to see how they would look with hair growing way beyond the shoulders, and the man bun was a quick way to tidy up for any business meeting.
As shops started to open up again, styling long hair with ponytails and waves, also became more common among men
So where do we go from here? Well other than waiting on Justin Bieber’s next haircut, we can also look at art and media itself. Timeless distinct styles like the pompadour are sure to stay for a while, while short low styles like buzz and army cuts are an ageless staple. With this trend of more welcoming and inclusive mainstream shows, we will see influence from other cultures, and more fusions with western aesthetics.
One thing is for sure though; whatever time you’re from or cut you choose, The Maverick will be there to style your hair and boost your confidence.