Like millions of people, 2020 gave us the chance to grow out our hair. I definitely did. From February all the way to December, I grew it all sorts of styles. In December I finally cut off the sides but kept the top long. Maybe I was persuaded by all the other people here in LA getting their hair cut and showing off their new styles on IG (add me btw). Or maybe it was because I wanted to look fresh for a date. Maybe a combination of both. Or maybe it was just time to get a haircut, as the long hair style did not really work well for me and it was falling flat, lacking any volume.
I got my hair cut again recently and finally got to try a style I have wanted to do for years, and I’m quite pleased (It’s shown below). Reflecting back on the styles I have had over the years, I thought that maybe it would benefit others that are looking for a new style.
Chances are your hair is really long at this moment and you’re not sure what style to go for. Or maybe you’re going through a breakup and want to get rid of that look you had when you were with your ex. I have you covered. I’m going to talk about 6 haircuts you need to try in 2021, and I will weigh the pros and cons of each style with my personal experience. Disclaimer: My advice is based off having Asian hair and based off my personal experiences.
1. Shoulder-Length Side Part
This is probably the hairstyle that most people had in 2020, “Long hair, don’t care.” To achieve this style, you really don’t have to do anything – just let it grow. Though to add volume and bounce to this style, you still need to use a volumizing mouse and maybe some boost powder. I use American Crew Boost Powder, and put that on god, I love this stuff.
The reason why I say you need to try this for 2021 is because now is the perfect time to grow out your hair. There’s nobody else really to see the in-between stages where it gets all fuzzy or unmanageable, and it is actually kind of fun to see what you would look like with long hair. Long hair is being popularized by media like John Wick.
Pros: Generally, the maintenance of this hair is pretty low-key. You can air dry it or towel dry it, and since it flows to your hair’s natural growth, there’s not much you really have to do to style it. Just kind of let it be. This hair style also looks really good with dad hats.
Cons: Your mileage may vary, but not everyone looks good with long hair. Plus, long hair means oilier hair, which can get into your face and make it oily. Additionally, long hair means the potential for split ends, which you would need to get trimmed regularly. Finally, air drying hair this long can take upwards to an hour. If you have that time, then fine. If not, and if you blow dry it, you may blow dry it incorrectly and cause it to puff up unnaturally. Another con is that it may not look as professional if you work in an office. Just saying. Keep that in mind.
2. Samurai Bun/Ponytail
If your hair is long enough and you want to have fun with it, I definitely recommend the Samurai Bun/ Ponytail. This is the type of style I would put up when I didn’t feel like doing my hair for the day. It’s actually more of a casual or care-free style, and I wouldn’t recommend doing this hairstyle all the time. Also, I think this hairstyle is way classier than the shaved sides and tiny man-bun on the top. That style was huge in Toronto around 2013-2015, and people still do rock it today. That’s a nah from me dawg. But this style, go for it – have fun. The samurai bun is having a bit of a resurgence because of stuff like Ghost of Tsushima, or Jake Gyllenhaal in ”Nightcrawler.”
Pros: It’s a fun style to put up if you don’t have time to do your hair on any given day or you just can’t be bothered with washing it. Your hair can also get really nice and wavey when you take it out of the bun. For Asian, straight hair, waves are pretty neat. This style also gives you an excuse to wear hair ties as bracelets. A welcome accessory if you ask me. Finally, it goes well with athleisure style, urban style, and even business casual style. And with glasses, chef’s kiss!
Cons: Similar to the shoulder-length side part, it takes a certain look and confidence to really pull this hairstyle off. Actually, putting it up isn’t hard, but constant and consistent pulling back of your hair is not good for the long run.
3. Long and Slicked Back
If the side-part isn’t your thing, try slicking your long hair back. To achieve this style, make sure you’re slicking your hair back to the direction that your hair grows. Slicking it back to the opposite direction of your hair growth can look a bit jarring. To achieve this style, I apply a volumizing mousse, blow dry, boost powder to the roots, then Baxter of California Pomade. This is the hairstyle I had for most of 2020.
Pros: Slicking your hair back looks a lot cleaner and more professional. So, this is a good look if you have an office job or need to be presentable for others.
Cons: Similar to the shoulder-length side part, this style requires a lot of time in front of the mirror. This can get annoying in the morning, especially if you’re in a rush. It also runs the risk of getting oily quickly, trickling down to your face. However, Batiste Dry Shampoo can help with that.
4. Medium-Length Side-Slick
I really started to like this hairstyle when I saw it on Bartosz Tiedemann of the tv show, Dark. It’s different than most medium-length hairstyles, and honestly, it’s really easy to achieve. If it’s grown the right length, coming out of the shower apply volumizing mousse to damp hair and let it dry. Then apply some boost powder to the roots afterwards. It’s a stylish, yet simple, hairstyle to achieve. But if it gets too long, you may lose volume. To get this, keep the sides short and layered. Don’t get it faded as, well, I think the fade is kind of dead. I’ll talk about that in more detail below.
Pros: Easy to style, low maintenance, and unique hairstyle. Also, the bed head version of this hairstyle is dope.
Cons: I can’t really think of any cons of the medium-length side-slick. Perhaps the only one is that it’s a rather unique style, kind of cyberpunk actually. That’s not a con per se, just not common.
5. Slicked-Back Undercut
I have wanted to do this hairstyle for a few years now. When I first saw it on Jake Gyllenhaal in “Prisoners,” I knew it was something I wanted to grow my hair for. Only until recently did the top length and side length match up to achieve this style. Remember how I said the fade is dead? Don’t get a fade for this style. Ask your barber or hairstylist to use scissors to achieve the optimal side length. To get this style, when my hair is damp, I apply mousse and then use a rolling brush to roll the front to achieve volume. You can also just blow-dry your hair upside down to get the right volume. I apply boost powder to the roots, then use a bit of Cremo’s Styling Thickening Paste to structure the top hairs and also flatten the side hair. Finally, I use a bit of hairspray to keep it in place (especially the long hair to the sides). My favorite thing about this hairstyle is the distinctive and jarring separation of the top hair and side hair – it makes the side profile quite a vibe.
Pros: It’s a really clean haircut overall. Plus, the bed head version of this haircut is fire (third picture). The completely slicked back style is also an underutilized version of the undercut. So, it stands out amongst others, especially since the sides and back aren’t faded and are instead cut by scissors. My favorite haircut probably in the last few years.
Cons: With my fine Asian hair, it takes a lot of coercing to fall into place. Also, maneuverability is quite tough as the side hairs tend to fall to the sides if I move too much. You can blast hairspray to keep it in place, but then your hair will look too crunchy. Just don’t move around too much if you have this hairstyle.
6. Texturized crop (the Tommy Shelby)
If you’re a “Peaky Blinders” fan, then you already know all about this hairstyle. The show actually inspired me to try this style a few years ago and I quite liked it. However, it did remind me of my super long bangs during the scene days. The texturized crop can be done in multiple ways, such as getting 1 or 0 for your sides. The way I got it down, though, was a fade from 1 to 2, then blended to the sides. I personally tried it with a straight 1 shave, and it was hella jarring. I recommend a nice blend and not having your bangs too long in the front. Since my hair is straight, all I would do is apply volumizing mousse to my damp hair and let it air dry. In a rush, I would blow-dry the hair forward and coerce it to the left or right side.
Pros: Fresh style because of “Peaky Blinders’” popularity and really easy to maintain.
Cons: Bangs means hair in your face, which means oil build up. Also, this hairstyle was difficult to match with certain outfits. Finally, your barber has to know what you want, because if one small thing goes wrong then the haircut can come out looking off.
EXTRA: Fades are Dead
This may be a controversial opinion, but let’s face it. We all had the chance to grow our hair in 2020 and now in 2021. That means people had the chance to grow out their side hair properly. Ergo, all that effort to grow it means you should style your side hair – not shave it off and get it faded. The other issue with fades is that barbers in LA charge upwards of $60 USD for a fade! That’s absolutely insane. I’ve gone to hairstylists that charge a fraction of that and deliver the same, if not better, fade. When you decide to pay $60 for a fade, you’re paying for the experience. That includes the setting, the free coffee, the warm towel on your face, the scalp massage. I get it, those things may add up to a total value of $60 – but I don’t want those things. I want a haircut. When I say fades are dead, I mean the whole idea of paying an arm and a leg to keep looking fresh, only to come back in two weeks to pay the same amount of money for a touch up. I’m over that. But if you’re paying a reasonable price for a fade, then by all means, my dudes and dudettes, get your fade. Just be smart about how much you pay for it.