Hair Styles

The Slick Back Haircut: A Classic Style for the Modern Man


The world of men’s grooming is constantly evolving, with new trends and styles emerging every season. However, among all these fads, one classic haircut that has stood the test of time is the slick back. This timeless style exudes confidence, sophistication, and a touch of rebellion. Popularized in the 1920s, the slick back haircut has been sported by countless iconic figures throughout history, from Clark Gable and Elvis Presley to David Beckham and Ryan Gosling. In this article, we will delve deeper into the slick back haircut: its history, modern variations, and how to achieve the perfect look. We will also address a few frequently asked questions regarding this versatile hairstyle.

I. History of the Slick Back Haircut:

Originally known as the “contour cut,” the slick back haircut gained popularity in the 1920s. With the advent of new hair styling products, such as pomade, men could achieve a sleek, sophisticated look that perfectly complemented the fashion trends of the era. This hairstyle was closely associated with the “New Romantic” movement of the time, which celebrated elegance and style.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the slick back haircut became a symbol of rebellion, eagerly adopted by icons such as James Dean and Elvis Presley. This association with rebellion continued into the 1970s and 1980s, as punk and new wave musicians, including Johnny Rotten and David Bowie, adopted the slick back to express their counterculture sensibilities.

In the 21st century, the slick back haircut has made a remarkable comeback, with celebrities like David Beckham and Leonardo DiCaprio leading the charge. This resurgence has popularized the style among men of all ages, cementing its position as a classic haircut that never goes out of fashion.

II. Modern Variations:

While the basic concept of the slick back remains the same, there are several modern variations that have emerged over the years. These variations allow men to personalize the style to suit their individual taste and hair type. Some popular modern variations include:

1. Undercut Slick Back:

This variation combines the sleekness of the slick back with the edginess of an undercut. The sides and back are shaved very short or completely, creating a stark contrast with the longer, slicked back hair on top.

2. Textured Slick Back:

This style incorporates texture into the sleekness of the classic slick back. By adding layers or using texturizing products, men can create a more tousled and relaxed version of the timeless style.

3. Mid-Fade Slick Back:

This variation involves blending a medium fade on the sides and back, creating a seamless transition from short to long hair. The slicked back hair remains longer on the crown, providing a structured yet modern look.

III. How to Achieve the Perfect Slick Back Haircut:

1. Choose the right length:

The ideal length for a slick back haircut usually ranges from two to six inches, depending on personal preference. If you have shorter hair, it may be necessary to grow it out before attempting the slick back.

2. Prepare your hair:

Start by washing your hair with a good-quality shampoo to remove any product buildup or excess oil. Towel dry your hair until it’s slightly damp but not dripping wet.

3. Apply styling product:

Choose a hair pomade or styling cream with strong hold. Take a small amount and rub it between your palms to warm it up. Then, evenly apply the product throughout your hair, focusing on the roots and working your way to the ends.

4. Comb it back:

Use a fine-toothed comb to slick your hair back. Start from the hairline, combing towards the back of your head. This will ensure a smooth and polished look. If desired, you can add a side part for a more distinct style.

5. Finish up:

Once your hair is slicked back to your satisfaction, use a blow dryer on low heat to set the style in place. Alternatively, you can leave your hair to air dry if you prefer a more relaxed and natural appearance.


1. Can I achieve a slick back haircut with curly hair?

Absolutely! While it may require a bit more effort, men with curly hair can rock a slick back. You may need to straighten your hair temporarily using a flat iron before applying the styling product.

2. How often should I reapply the product to maintain the slick back?

The frequency of reapplication depends on various factors, such as the product’s hold and your hair type. Generally, pomades and waxes provide longer-lasting hold compared to creams or gels, allowing you to go for a couple of days without reapplying. However, it’s always a good idea to touch up your hair as needed throughout the day.

3. Can I achieve a slick back with thinning hair or a receding hairline?

Yes, the slick back can work with thinning hair or a receding hairline. Use a product with volumizing properties to create the illusion of fuller hair. Additionally, consider consulting with a professional barber who can recommend suitable variations that will complement your specific hair type.


The slick back haircut has earned its place as a timeless classic that continues to inspire men across the globe. This versatile style boasts a rich history, allowing individuals to express their personalities and capture the essence of sophistication. Whether you opt for a traditional slick back, an undercut variation, or a textured twist, this haircut never fails to make a statement. By following the steps outlined above and experimenting with different products and variations, any modern man can achieve the perfect slick back look, enhancing his overall style and confidence.


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