The day you walk into the barber and say you’d like a “professional haircut” might make your stomach drop a little bit.
For whatever reason, the world “professional” is almost synonymous with “boring” in many of our minds –especially when it comes to hair.
But it really doesn’t have to be like that.
There are plenty of professional hairstyles for men that can be cool, modern and edgy.
And though they may not be anything like that half-shaved look you had during your grad school years while you were studying the politics of 1970s punk rock, these hairstyles can be just as cool while adding a layer of sophistication.
But, what do you tell your stylist or barber when you go in on the fateful day for a “professional” haircut?
Well, you’re in luck.
We’ve brainstormed a little list of some of the sharpest modern hairstyles for men so you can walk into work or a job interview and be taken seriously, without sacrificing your sense of style.
Our 10 Favorite Professional Hairstyles for the Fashion-Forward Man
You obviously have your reasons for wanting a professional hairstyle, and those reasons will dictate how conservative you want to go with your cut.
But that doesn’t mean you have to have boring hair. You just need to look well groomed!
It’s easier than you think to have a stylish haircut that also fits the confines of a traditional business hairstyle.
In fact, the trendiest hairstyles for men we’ve seen the past few years are actually super appropriate for the majority of professional settings. And funnily enough, many of them are highly reminiscent of popular hairstyles from the past.
Plus, plenty of professional hairstyles can be incredibly versatile, so you can have a clean style during the workweek, and then have a little more fun with your hair on the weekends.
The key is figuring out which one feels the most like “you.”
The following list contains a bunch of different professional hairstyles – some more conservative than others – so you can have an easier time figuring out your new look.
1. The Ivy League
If you want a timeless, elegant haircut that will endure ever-changing fashion and hair trends, then you should give the Ivy League cut a go.
This classic hairstyle, sometimes known as the Princeton or Harvard clip, is perfect for professional men of all ages.
It’s a little longer than a crew cut and features a modern side part. Basically, it’s longer on the top but short on the sides. And since it’s got some length on top, you can comb it down for a professional hairstyle, or muss it up a bit with some product for a more casual look.
2. Faded Undercut
For a hairstyle that has just a hint of edginess to it, you’ll want to consider the fadedundercut.
Because this style is essentially shaved on the sides, and then blends in nicely with the top sections of hair, it looks sharp and clean – which is perfect for any professional setting.
But, the subtly shaved look with its length on top of the head is super on-trend. It’s also extremely versatile: you can either comb it to one side or wear it slicked back.
You can pretty much make the top as long as you’d like. You may want it at least a few inches long if you want not only a more unconventional look, but also want a great more deal of versatility.
3. The Classic Pompadour
Like we said, vintage hairstyles are definitely making a comeback – and they are perfect for many professional settings.
One of these is the ever-classic pompadour.
The pompadour has always had a rockabilly feel to it, but it’s honestly an incredibly appropriate professional hairstyle.
Like many modern hairstyles for men, it’s shorter on the sides than it is on the top, which you comb up and back and then shape into a perfect pomp with a bit of pomade. Just make sure it’s nice and tidy, and not too large.
To give it a little more modernity, you can even do a side-parted pompadour for an equally suave look.
4. Taper Haircut
The taper haircut is also sometimes known as the “businessman’s haircut” – so you know it’s a good one for our purposes.
This classic hairstyle is incredibly professional, while also having an effortless sense of style.
Plus, it’s great for almost every face shape thanks to its simplicity. It’s just one of those professional haircuts that never goes out of style.
And again, you can kind of make it your own depending on how long you prefer it.
5. Mid-Length Waves
Not all professional hairstyles for men have to be short, of course.
There are plenty of ways to make long hair look just as professional as any super short, clean haircut – as long as you don’t let it get super frizzy and messy.
Guys with a little wave to their hair would do well to get a medium-length cut with some textured layers.
Basically, you want it to be long enough so that you can push those gentle waves behind your ears, and maybe even smooth it down with a frizz-fighting product. It will look so swoon-worthy, but also highly professional.
6. High and Tight
Of course, we have to include the military-inspired “High and Tight” haircut in this list.
Now, this cut may seem a bit old-fashioned and straight-laced, but this cut is absolutely timeless and perfect for the professional modern man.
It also works well with most hair types,with the exception of super curly, kinky, or coiled hair.
It’s one of the shortest haircuts available for men, and it’s continually popular because of its ease. You don’t have to spend much time at all styling a high and tight cut. In fact, you may not need any products at all!
7. Textured Comb-Over
The comb-over is another one of those classic styles that has always and will always be perfect for professional men.
But, to make it a little more modern, you may want to consider adding a healthy amount of texture to it. In fact, it’s perfect if you have super wavy or curly hair.
Any stylist will be comfortable cutting a comb-over, but be sure to tell him or her that you want it to be highly texturized for an edgy twist.
You’ll also want to style it with a dry wax or fiber pomade that helps define your texture and create added dimension. We recommend this one from Imperial Barber Grade Products.
8. Slicked Back Style
This professional hairstyle is great for both short and long hair.
Of course, if your hair is short you will need some length on the top in order to have strands to slick back, but overall this is a very versatile style for the modern professional man.
Slicked back looks can end up seeming a little too greasy, so you have to be careful.
But as long as you don’t over-do it on the product, it can be a very clean look.
We actually really love in on guys with shoulder-length wavy hair. Slicking back longer locks kind of tames everything up and holds it in place for a professional look – but it usually maintains a little playful effortlessness.
9. The Buzz Cut
You might be thinking, “Well, duh.”
But a buzz cut can not only look very professional and clean, but also very stylish and maybe even a little edgy depending on your face and head shape.
If you’ve got a strong jawline, a buzz cut can look downright high fashion.
Plus, you literally never have to touch a buzz cut and it will look good. So, if you’re the kind of guy who rolls out of bed twenty minutes before work, you’ll still look super professional with a tight buzz cut.
10. The Quiff
Last, but not least, we have the quiff – the messier cousin of the pompadour.
Where pompadours are glossy and precise, quiffs tend to have a bit more of a swept look and can be as messy or clean as you’d like.
Think of the quiff as a combination between the pompadour mohawk hairstyles. It’s a voluminous and super sexy style that still manages to fit in perfectly in professional environments.
If you want a little more clarification on what makes a quiff so perfect, check out this guide.
Picking the Right Professional Style for You
Now that you have a general idea of some professional hairstyles, it’s time to figure out which one is best for you.
We suggest you think, first and foremost, about how much effort you want to put into styling it, as that will narrow down your decision immensely.
From there, you can think about how versatile you want your cut to be, and which one suits your personal style.
After all, you want your hair to look professional, but you never want to sacrifice your sense of self. And one of the best ways to express your personal style is your hair.