17 Crew Cut Hair Ideas: The Timeless Haircut for Men

Mens crew cuts

The crew cut is a classic and clean and sharp look that stands the test of time. It gets its name from university Ivy League crew (rowing teams), as a way for guys to keep their hair short and out of their eyes while rowing. Originally, it used to be more known as the short pompadour. It’s also sometimes referred to as a butch cut, but the difference between the two is that a butch is very short and all one length at the top. Scroll below to see some inspiration and great examples of this simple cut.

The men’s crew cut is short around the sides and back and faded or tapered into a longer length on top, but not quite as short as a buzz cut. It’s most common to brush the hair on the top forward, while the bangs either go straight up, up and back or parted to the side, depending on how long it is on top. The sides and back are evenly buzzed or shorter, typically faded using taper fade or shorter faded clippers down anywhere between a skin fade to a clipper sizes from 1 to 4, depending on the look you’re going for.

Crew Cut Tips

The neckline is great to taper off, for an even cleaner and modern look. For an even cleaner look, keep your face shaved and short sideburns. For a more casual crew cut, go with a longer length on top and keep it more tousled. Just note that the shorter the look, the easier it is to style, but does require more frequent cuts to maintain the look.

Talking to Your Barber/Stylist

Here’s how to ask for a crew cut:

  • Simply asking for a crew cut will do the trick.
  • Let them know if you’re willing to style it or not, as this will affect the length of the top.
  • Request your fade type. This can range from a simple taper fade with scissors all the way to a skin fade with clippers.

Styling and Products for a Crew Cut

Depending upon your hair length on the top, you may not have to style it at all. The longer it is on top, the more you’ll want to style it. If you want a brush-up, short pomp look, then you’ll want to use a hair product like a wax or pomade. You may need to use a comb and blow dryer to force your hair to either go up and or go up and to the side for a younger look.

Who Pulls off The Crew Cut Best

Crew cuts are a great choice for men of any age, especially professionals or those who have a more active lifestyle and don’t want their hair getting in the way. This cut also works well with sideburns, very short beards and long beards. The crew cut tends to work best for guys with thicker hair. Guys with thinner hair can pull it off at the right length. This can also work well if you have a receding hairline or want to go for a more mature look. Talk to your barber and get their input. The best thing about the crew cut is that it compliments most head and face shapes, which is one of the reasons why it’s a popular look.

French Crop Crew Cut Hair

french crop hairstyle
Instagram @horatiuthebarber

This one is technically more of a French crop, which is becoming more popular. The texture on top, combined with the straight, forward facing bangs really give this a clean and easy to style look.

Crew Style Surgical Line Cut

Side part hair with a surgical line part
Instagram @lieanne_

Like the famous Japanese paintings of waves, this haircut keeps everything low and trimmed to direct attention to the front side where a gush of hair goes across.

Side Swept Crew Cut

A textured and side swept haircut
Instagram @mozambeak

Another fade cut, but more on the casual side, with a natural look for the top portion and medium to short hair to match. Well balanced. You can jog or do business, and it will still be easy to maintain.

Fresh Cut Waves

A haircut with wave pattern
Instagram / @JimThe.Barber

A haircut everyone will understand comes from the hands of a professional. There is no way you could have done this yourself, this cut is CRAFTED! You get this to impress, you get this to stand out and be the topic of remarks.

Surgical Line

Surgical line haircut
Instagram @hectormachadobarber

A simple yet effective surgical line paired with faded sides does great in getting the attention to your top hair. It allows you to style your hair any way you want and still look dope as always.

The Nice and Neat Crew Cut

The Nice and Neat Crew Cut
Instagram @stell_the_talent

Tidy up your look to achieve that professional form. This one fits the criteria of being sleek, stylish, and somewhat sexy.

Clean Short Cut With a Beard

short cut for men
Instagram / @featherfades

Q&A with Style Creator Heather Euting
Barber/Cosmetologist @ Joshua’s Barbershop in Thousand Oaks, CA

How would you describe this look?

This crew cut is clean and versatile. My favorite thing about it is that depending on how you’re feeling that day, this can be styled to a person’s liking. It can be styled over to either side, or up in the middle making it easy and looking good.

Any advice for someone considering it?

For products, I used Hudson and Hammers Alchemy which is a mix between pomade and wax that creates a satin shine Any pomade with a sheen will do. This looks caters to the modern man looking for something clean and easy to style. Whether you’re looking for men’s or boys haircuts, this classic look suits all!

Ivy League Crew Cut

mens sleek hairstyle
Instagram / @rasegz

Q&A with Style Creator Reva Segnitz
Master Stylist @ Vanity Flair in Lexington, KY

How would you describe this look?

I would describe this haircut as a clean and polished crew cut. My favorite thing about it is how precise and sharp it is, as well as how it showcases a person’s facial features. It is a no fuss look that still makes a statement.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Speaking of “no fuss”, this hairstyle only needs one product to make it look polished and done. I use Kevin Murphy Easy Rider on most of my short men’s cuts. It is smoothing and dries with a natural finish. Any hair creams would go a long way in this cut. It can be very kempt, or roughed up and tousled for a casual day. Dare I say this gentleman loves this cut because it does NOT require product for the days he does not feel like styling.

I would recommend this cut to a variety of men. If a client is a little on the thinning side, it can really help a man’s hair look thicker. If he does manual labor or plays sports, it is a haircut that breathes and doesn’t trap sweat and heat.

As far as face shape goes, I think it can complement the ever-graceful and perfect oval shaped face, but it can also help thin out a more rounded face shape. The beauty of this haircut is that you can modify it. If someone has a long chin, for example, you can leave a little more length on top for balance. If their face is triangular, leave a little more around the ears to fill out and match their jawline.

My model Kyle had been rocking that undercut/man bun we’ve been seeing since about 2015. He revamped his entire style by getting a crew cut and came out looking and feeling professional and confident.

The Classic Crew Cut

The Classic Crew Cut
Instagram @olliefosterhair

A smoldering look to go with that gentleman’s classic chop? Yes please!

Mid-Fade Cut

fade cut for men
Instagram / @freshwontons

Q&A with Style Creator Anthony Lieu
Barber Apprentice @ Manstop Barbershop in Toronto, Canada

How would you describe this look?

The mid fade crew cut is a classic and timeless hairstyle. It’s like looking at watches. When you find a nice piece, like a Rolex, it will never get old. With the touch of a fade and the client’s opinion on how they want to line their sideburns (i.e. pointed, square or tapered), the haircut will still stand out as the classic look.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This kind of haircut would be suitable for nearly everyone. I feel this haircut is suitable for most guys since it compliments most head shapes. The styling also depends on how their hair grows. The direction of the hair will be the judge on which side it would be best combed towards. This hairstyle is also quite versatile. If the barber or stylist decides to leave more length on the front, the client would be able to pull that part up as they style to give them a pompadour look.

This hairstyle is pretty universal in terms of the client. Whether the client decides to wear their hair messy or neat, this hairstyle would still look great. The crew cut is a great hairstyle for casual days or evenings, with little to no products required and a neat and tidy finish for a classic look.

The products I recommend for this would be something simple and dependent on what and how the client would want their hair to look and stay together throughout their day. For this specific look, I would use a pomade for more sheen, and for more of a matte look, I would use clay. Fortunately, there are many products on the market that are water-soluble, making it easy to wash off and suitable for everyday and special occasion use.

Long Hair On Top

Q&A with Style Creator Clayton Schmidt
Master Barber @ The Beauty Barn in Clarksville, TN

How would you describe this look?

The crew cut is characterized by short back and sides and hair length on top that is about one or two inches. The longest hair generally begins at the front hairline and gradually shortens toward the crown area. The back and sides can be as short as skin.

Whichever length is desired, the back and sides will be tapered to connect with the hair length cut on the top of the head. In the crown area, the hair will be cut very short, so short as to eliminate the issue of having spiky hairs in the in “whorl” area of the back of the head that just won’t lay down.

As a barber, my favorite thing about this look is the fact that it does three things very well: it grows out beautifully, it is easy to style, and it is both athletic and professional.

Any advice for someone considering it?

I recommend this haircut for any individual who wants a low maintenance hairstyle and/or holds a vocation or position that may require certain hair length regulations (i.e. police officers, athletes, military personnel, etc.). I even recommend this cut for individuals who hold what some call “white collar” jobs, because when styled properly, this look simply exudes confidence.

This haircut can be designed to look good on nearly any face shape. For instance, the cut can be fitted nicely for someone with a round face shape by maintaining squareness in the area of the parietal ridge of the head (where the sides meet the top of the head).

This will make the face appear more oval in shape. If the individual feels their face is too wide, the barber or stylist can lengthen the appearance of the face by leaving the hair longer on top so that the client may style their hair up and into a short pompadour, which always looks great.

I would advise anyone who wants this look to ask their barber or stylist to design their crew cut so that is gives the most oval shape to the face as possible. This is usually done by preserving length (or “squaring up”) where the sides of the head meet the top and by leaving the appropriate length on top.

This look as seen on my patron in the photo was styled by working a small dab of 18.21 ManMade Paste (medium hold, satin sheen) through towel dried hair. Once I worked the pomade through the hair evenly, I combed it into shape by directing the hair forward and sideways from left to right while combing the hair on the front hairline back and up.

The nice thing about styling a crew cut is that you can get great results with the number of different products. I would recommend a high hold pomade or a medium hold paste for the person who wants a dapper, more dressed up style. If one was going for a looser or messier look, I would recommend a clay applied to dry hair and roughed up a bit by hand.

Long Crew Cut

Short and Neat hairstyle
Instagram @johnyvecito

Q&A with style creator, Alexander Semjonoff
Barber @ Headbusters Barbershop in Saint Petersburg, Russia

How would you describe this look?

This is a great everyday look, the neat and long crew cut. I like it because it’s easy to style and looks fresh.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This look is best for those who prefer a shorter haircut. It suits all hair types. I recommend a good matte pomade like Byrd Matte or Reuzel Clay pomade.

High Fade Crew Cut

Q&A with style creator, Thee Asian Barber
Barber @ Primo Gentlemen Barber in Glasgow, U.K.

How would you describe this look?

This haircut is a crew cut as it’s taken in by a guard 3 all over, then faded down to the skin using foil shavers and a straight razor. My favorite thing about the cut would be that it’s a fun haircut to create and the fade is more gradual, making it look very clean.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This classic crew cut is a look you’ll usually see on a man who doesn’t require too much attention on styling his hair on a day to day basis. Men with thick and dark hair tend to go for this haircut, as well as men who work with hard hats or are required to wear a hat during working hours. For this specific hairstyle, there isn’t much product required. If you want the hair to have a little shine, I’d recommend using a pomade like Layrite or Dappa Dan pomade.

Tapered and Clean Crew Cut

Tapered and Clean Crew Cut
Instagram @maddiebstylist

Q&A with style creator, Maddie Braun
Hairstylist / Color Specialist @ Volume Studio in Hartford, WI

How would you describe this look?

It’s a “crew cut fade.” I wanted to take it nice and short on the sides, so the cut could show off his facial features. Then leave enough length on top where he can get different looks. When you have a lot of length and texture up top, depending on how you cut it, it can give you that messy sort of “model” look that you see in the magazines or you can sleek it down more to be more conservative.

I just love the versatility of this cut. I love getting the hair nice and tight, so it shows off their face and then blending and softening it up to the top and having the top come to life with all that texture. It’s challenging because everybody’s head shape is so different, and it takes a lot of concentration. But it’s therapy for me, really. I love it. I’m learning all the time.

Any advice for someone considering it?

When a client tells me they want this look, I immediately look at there face. Everything about it. Their jaw, their cheekbones, eyes, forehead, nose, lips, their profile, their head shape. Everything. That’s how I know what kind of cut to give them. That’s my road map to tell me how I am going to give them the best cut for that person personally. Honestly, I think any personality can wear this cut. They just have to “own it”, you know?

I also ask them if they use the product and what their morning routine and their lifestyle is like because that’s everything too. If someone is getting this cut, I tell them they need to use the product. Period. If they don’t, they won’t get the look that they are looking for. It takes at the most 2 minutes to put in product! When men are in my chair and try to tell me they don’t have time, I take out my 18.21 paste and show them exactly how they should do it, and I do it in 10 seconds. I educate them, and I think they appreciate that. When you take time to show your clients how to do their hair, out of love, your clients will appreciate you and it will give them the confidence to try that technique at home. You’re genuinely helping them. I really like that about my job. Giving people confidence is empowering.

High Fade Crew Cut

High Fade Crew Cut
Instagram @juandetijerasynavajas

Less hair up top doesn’t mean you can’t be sleek AF!

Textured Crew Cut with Mid-Fade

Q&A with style creator, Adam Chan
Barber @ Hair House Barbershop by Adam Chan in Central District, HK

How would you describe this look?

Together with the skin fade, this crew cut is classic and energetic at the same time. I like the texture of the evenly chopped layers on the top. The uniform layers give the top some movement and thickness that is very easy to manage.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This guy is a policeman, he needs something clean and easy. He has very thick hair, so this crew cut can soften and lighten his top while still appearing thick to show the fade well.

For clients with a receding hairline and thin hair, this artificial horizontal fringe can actually cover the receding hairline very well. The barber just needs to be aware of the part that needs to be kept to form the thickness covering the receding part.

Many face shapes can suit this cut as long as we control the height of the conjunction well. For example, a rounder face would look good with a mid to high fade, while a thin long face would look good with an even lower mid-fade.

I recommend using a matte pomade/wax to recreate the choppy texture. I used Uppercut Matte Pomade for this crew cut.

Short Crew Cut

Q&A with style creator, Kyla Rose
Stylist @ Detour Salon in Encinita, CA

How would you describe this look?

This look has a variety of personalities. The short edgy skin fade with a hard line gives it the edgy look while having professionalism at the same time. It has a bit of the greaser feel to it as well as traditional military feel. My favorite thing about it is having a strong definition to who that person is.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Something to think about for this look is maintenance. This client comes in every 3 weeks and once in between for a neck trim cleanup. Product is something necessary for this look because most of us have cowlicks and different hair growths that will require some maneuvering to achieve the desired outcome.

Most people who get this edgy crew cut are usually people who need that strong impression. When it comes to face shape this look can be worn on almost anyone it just is a matter of bone structure and how high up to bring the initial fade levels on the skull. The hard-line can be brought up higher or lower depending on the temple shape and curvature of the head.

As for this cut, I love it and enjoy spicing up any look!