Buzz Cuts 101: How to Style the Look, and What to Know
If you feel like you've noticed more and more people in Hollywood with a buzz cut lately, it's because you probably have. This closely cropped hairstyle has been popping up on red carpets, at events, and on a number of celebrities and noncelebrities alike. Though it's not the shortest haircut you can get — that's reserved for a fully shaved head — it's pretty close. It's a dramatic style that's not for the faint of heart and instead worn proudly by strong, bold people. And if you think you can't rock a buzz cut, think again. Anyone can pull off this look.
If you think you want to get a buzz cut, though, there are plenty of things to consider beforehand. First, you need to know what length you're going for. This can be determined by your hair texture or the look you want to achieve. Tight curls will look shorter once you've cut your hair, so you may want to keep a little more length than if you have fine, straight hair.
It's always best to talk with your hairstylist about which style will work best for your hair type and lifestyle before making any snip decisions. Remember: with a cut as short as a buzz cut, it'll require regular maintenance to either keep it short or a lot of work to properly grow it back out. Your stylist will remind you of this as well, but it's good to have the knowledge while you're getting inspired to chop off your hair.
For everything else you need to know about this trendy hairstyle seen on Jordan Alexander, Michaela Coel, and more, check out these tips from hairstylists.
What Is a Buzz Cut?
A buzz cut is a very short hairstyle that involves some shaving of the head but not necessarily getting rid of all of your hair. Not every buzz cut is the same, however; you'll often see different styles of buzz cut, like an all-over cut or shaved sides. Some people will also buzz their hair shorter than others, but generally, what makes a buzz cut a buzz cut is the length of the hair. Whereas a fully shaved head can be considered bald, a buzz cut leaves some hair behind. Similarly, if the hair isn't quite short enough to be a buzz cut, it's more in the pixie-cut family.
When you go to the salon for a buzz cut (or really any hairstyle in general), it's best to show your hairstylist photos of what you want. "It is important to communicate the length you are looking for," hairstylist Jennifer Korab says. "If you are unsure of the length of the buzz cut, start on the longer side." Hairstylist Michelle Cleveland suggests explicitly describing how much hair you want left on your head. "Considering just how short the hair will turn out with a buzz cut, I would be certain to tell your stylist what your goal is regarding length. For example: 'I want to see skin' or 'I'd like to be able to still grab some hair.'"
Simply asking for a buzz cut may not get you exactly what you're looking for, because this cut can be done in different ways. A buzz cut is also pretty bold, especially if you've never had it done before, so starting with a pixie and working your way down to a buzz cut might be an easier transition.
How to Style a Buzz Cut
Styling a buzz cut may seem easy — after all, there's not much hair left on your head — but you still want to properly care for it. For all hair types, hairstylist Emilio Uribe recommends the same product: cream pomade. "All pomades are recommended for a buzz cut — I really don't like to use gels or other products that are not pomades." This will add some shine to your hair and hold it in place without making it stiff or stagnant.
Cleveland adds that when she styles a buzz cut, she's selective in the products she uses, simply because when you're working with so little hair, there isn't a whole lot you can do. "A good texture spray or wax works great when trying to hold a style on shorter hair despite the texture or density," she says. "When the hair is that short, one is super limited in styling options."
If you have natural or curly hair, you might be used to reaching for products specific to your hair type and texture, and you should continue to do just that, even with a buzz cut. Korab recommends a hair oil if you have natural hair or something with a heavier hold, like a gel, to lay down any curls. And while fine hair may not hold a buzz cut as well, simply because of how thin your strands are, leaving the hair a little bit longer can help give it some shape. If you have fine hair and want to do a buzz cut, Korab says she would use a thickening paste or mousse to lift the hair and give it the illusion of more density.
How to Grow Out a Buzz Cut
When you're ready to move on from your buzz cut, you can always just let it go and let it grow, but be prepared for some awkward shapes along the way. Professional hairstylists recommend you play with different hairstyles while you're growing out your hair as it reaches different lengths. "Be patient, and enjoy the style change. As you start to add length, try using some fun clips or tucking the sides to change up the looks," Korab says.
While the grow-out process can be frustrating, especially when you want it to happen quickly, Uribe notes that what it can look like is different for everyone. "Growing your buzz cut out all depends on how fast your hair grows," he says. "Everyone's hair cycle varies from individual to individual. There are a number of factors that affect one's hair-cycle growth including, but not limited to, genetic predisposition, age, environmental factors, and more."
Whatever you do, don't neglect your hair. "Don't just stop getting cuts," Cleveland says. "Continue with regular salon visits, and discuss your goals with your stylist — they will guide you through different looks along your journey to longer hair."