Names for Hairstyles

Male hair stylist
Photo: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock
Q: Hi. I'm looking for a hair cut that I saw. It is like a crew cut or a little shorter but the guy had an out line of hair that goes all the way around his head making it look like he has a double hair line. What is this hair cut called? Mainly us black men have this hair cut.
A: After a great deal of searching for the style you describe, I was unable to find anything that would give me a name for the style in question. I found hundreds of photos of men’s clipper cut styles featuring shaved patterns and designs in the hair, and several of which were identical, but bore differing names.
This brings up a subject I have long since warned our readers about: the hazard of relying on hairstyle names. The names used to denote a particular hairstyle vary – depending on area of the world, regions within a particular country, from town to town, and even from salon to salon. The only effective and sure way to tell your stylist or barber what you want is by using specific descriptors.
For example, in this case, you should simple explain to the barber that you want a clipper cut to “X” length, with a shaved line outlining the perimeter of the hair creating a border of hair that is “X/X” inches wide. Use the specific dimensions you want used.
I realize most people think that the name of a hairstyle would be universal, but styles spread in popularity that all other cultural elements do: generally via sighting, or through media exposure.
As an example: A famous rap star is seen on the red carpet of a Hollywood premiere sporting a brand-new look. His hair is clipper cut into a taper from 1/16th of an inch at the neck and bottom hairline on the sides to ½ inch at the parietal ridge and top of the head.
Around the back and sides of the head in the shortest lengths of the cut, a very detailed pattern of leaves and vines has been shaved creating a border that looks like an ancient Greek laurel (awarded to winners of Olympic contests). The hairstyle generates a lot of buzz, and the rap star and his hairstyle are seen all over the television, and in magazine and newspaper photos the following day.
A few days later, an entertainment news show does an interview with the rap star’s stylist who calls the style the “Grecian Emperor”. Stylists who have seen the interview call the style by this name, but the millions of others who may not have seen the interview, but have seen the hairstyle in the dozens of photos that have been published, give the style their own choice of name. This means that the hairstyle could literally end up with hundreds of different names worldwide.
So, while it may seem more troublesome to have to do so, you are better served by giving your stylist a clear description of the style you want than to try and rely on a particular name for any style.
See also:
Men's hairstyles
Clipper cutting techniques