The Anti-Buzzcut View: “It’s for kids and bald guys”
"Unless you're trying to look like a badass, a shaved head is something a kid has through first year of uni—before they start trying to look good," says Van Capizzano, founder of Tribe Barber in Boston's South End.
At the other end of the spectrum, it's ideal for guys who need to bite the bullet because they've started to lose their hair.
In between, Capizzano urges men to hold on to whatever they've got on top, and put in the work to style it. "Especially if you have a good head of hair, your hair is your best accessory," he says.
Sure, you might want to cut out all the wax and styling creams in your grooming routine, but take note. You might think your buzz cut will have girls petting your new fuzzy head—but it could also make you look threatening.
Chalk it up to evolution and the fight-or-flight response. Guys with shaved heads look more aggressive and ready to brawl, says Capizzano. They've eliminated any hair that could get grabbed in a tussle.
Bottom line, in his eyes your hair is an accent for your face. So don't get rid of it unless you have to, or you just don't care.
"It works on young boys and balding guys," he says. "Everybody else shouldn't buzz their head."
The Pro-Buzzcut View: “It can be badass, if you commit”
"I'm a fan of the buzz cut for sure," says Jessica Candia, a hairstylist at Brooklyn's Persons of Interest. "I've done more buzzes this year than in the six years I've worked at the shop."
Why the surge in popularity? She says it’s become more than a summer look. In warm weather, it's comfortable. In cold weather, it feels good under a beanie.
In terms of who can rock the look, Candia takes a democratic view. "I think most people can look great with a buzzcut," she says. "It can be a badass change, but you have to commit to it for a while."
In other words, to find out if you like it, you have to do it. And once you do, growing back your former haircut is a months-long project.
Her tips: feel it out before you buzz, get professional help, and don't forget routine maintenance.
"It sounds silly, but just feeling your head is a great indicator of whether you'd feel comfortable with a buzz cut," she says. "Feel your head and skull."
You're checking for any bumps or flat parts that might surprise you later—but keep in mind, almost nobody has a perfectly round head. Next, pull your hair back in the mirror, assess your hairline, squint and picture your new look.
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If you decide to take the plunge, start at the Hairdresser. "At home, unless you have someone helping you out, it can be hard to get right," says Candia. "You can end up looking too youthful if the clean lines aren't there—or you miss a patch."
Finally, just because your new haircut allows you to roll out of bed and walk right out the door, don't forget it still needs maintenance.
Head to the hairdresser to trim it down and clean up the fade every couple weeks. Avoid what Candia calls the "Chia Pet" phase that happens in week three or four.
And when it's time to grow it back out, just keep cleaning up the sides and back, let the top grow in, and ask your hair stylist for some texture on top so it's not all the same length.
Because, after all, if you hate it, it's temporary.
This article originally appeared on MensHealth.com