There’s a men’s hairstyle that hasn’t left the catwalk in some time: the slightly tousled, slightly devil-may-care, forward sweeping men’s hairstyle. It’s been called many a thing, but with its Regency overtones and the fact that it continues to be favoured and interpreted by many a British indie band, it’s a hairstyle we’ve dubbed the Brit-rock hairstyle.

It’s also a hairstyle with enduring appeal and while we’ve been talking about it since 2009, we have to be clear that it has evolved. The ‘wet look’ of 2010, for instance, will look positively outdated in 2012 for instance.

Read on for more information about the men’s Brit rock hairstyle, including a how-to guide on how to wear this 2012 men’s hair trend. And don’t forget to keep up to date with all of 2012’s fashion trends by subscribing to’s newsletter or RSS feed.

mens indie hairstyle

Defining the Brit rock hairstyle

The picture above is likely to have already given you a pretty clear idea of what the Brit rock hairstyle is and while it may have spoken the thousand words, here’s a few less than that:

The Brit rock hairstyle is a hair swept forwards style for young guys that gives them a fringe. It’s to be worn with nonchalantly and with swagger. It’s not necessarily British, nor is it necessarily the domain of rockers, but what it is is cool.

Suitable for guys with everything from straight to curly hair, the Brit rock hairstyle is all about length through the top. It’s also about texture. That texture can be a trait of your hair, or can come about courtesy of hair cut that introduces lots of slicing, chipping, razoring and deep point cutting.


Men’s indie hairstyle examples

Dubbing this the ‘Brit’ rock hairstyle for 2011 / 2012 may seem to unfairly weight it as appealing to only a certain type of guy. And it really shouldn’t. While it’s not a fringed men’s hairstyle that is going to work for everyone, neither is it a hair style that’s only going to work for the British male. Or rockers. It just so happens that British bands and British fashion labels Burberry Prorsum have done more to popularise this fringed hairstyle than anybody else; the latter so much so that if you took the musicians out of the equation you could almost call this autumn 2011spring 2012‘s Burberry hairstyle.

So what versions of the Brit rock have Burberry made popular then? The following:

burberry hair style
Long all over, this is an interpretation of the indie hair cut for straight hair.

curly indie hair style
The perfect interpretation of an indie hairstyle for men with curly hair, the short sides prevent the hair cut from making the head look large.

indie hair gel
This interpretation is short on the sides and more clean cut. It’s likely that this would be cut with scissors over a comb, but it wouldn’t be uncommon for your hair dresser to use clippers. They real key to this interpretation of the style is that the length throughout the top is blended into the shorter sides. In styling it, the fringe can be treated as a separate part: it can be left longer or cut differently, preferably sliced to give it more texture and to prevent it from being too heavy and thus sitting flat. Like the interpretation above, this is another great cut if you’ve got thick hair that is likely to sit up and make your head look large.

mop hair style
This mopped interpretation of the hairstyle is one you might consider a modern update on the Beatles. It features a swept fringe with length kept on sides and works best for guys with straight hair. This style can be cut quite uniformed or cut square on the sides to heighten the sense of masculinity. Given it’s for straight hair you need to have irregular lengths throughout to create texture and take out weight, without that it will be too blunt. Your hairdresser will be able to slice or deep-point cut to create the irregular lengths.

If you’re looking for examples off of the catwalk we could recommend any number of British indie bands. In fact, if one looks to the bands coming forth from British Isles it would appear that some governmental edict has been issued dictating precisely what indie hairstyles are allowed and which are not. Agreeing with said imaginary edict are the likes of The Kooks, The Horrors, the Arctic Monkeys, The View, and the Klaxons. So there you have it: this the hairstyle for you if you like or you play in a band whose moniker requires a ‘The’.

Prior to 2011 / 2012 we saw Bottega Veneta feature the men’s fringe on the catwalk, something that has left us with two clear examples of a do and don’t for this year and next. In the photo below the left is the do and the right is the don’t. The left is a do because it sets clean-cut sides against a purposefully disheveled top. The right is a don’t as it’s just too neat, too school boy, too devoid of attitude. In short: to nail the modern men’s fringe it’s best to avoid the straight, side swept fringe and ensure that it’s instead worn with plenty of texture.

forward swept hair
Men’s soft fringe hairstyle

While the above picture serves as a do and a don’t, the following serves solely as a don’t for the hairstyle as it’s evolved. Commit this to memory: the men’s fringe shouldn’t be worn with a wet finish in 2011 / 2012. A healthy shine is okay, wet is not.

regency men's hair
Regency men’s hair style from Burberry Prorsum


How to make the Brit rock hairstyle yours.

If you’re thinking of making the Brit rock your own hairstyle it’s not as simple as sweeping your hair forwards. It takes the right hair cut and the right products. To help you with that, sat down with Melbourne hair stylist Annika to help us put together the following how to guide.

The hair cut.

For most guys the length and cut of their existing hair style isn’t going to be suited to the Brit rock hairstyle – you might be able to experiment with it, but to get it perfect it’s going to take a trip to a hair dresser / hair stylist. Here’s how you get the hair cut.

  1. Understand what you want

    As you can see  in the photos above, there’s more than one way to interpret this forward men’s swept hairstyle. Slick, messy, short, neat, rugged, relaxed. We could go on. But with so many options, ensure that you have a clear sense of the particular interpretation of this hairstyle (or a small selection of styles) that appeals to you. The two things that you should consider in advance is the length of the fringe that you want, and whether or not you want a neat interpretation of the hairstyle. The descriptions that go with each of the pictures above should also give you a pretty clear idea of any other attributes you may want.

  2. Converse

    Once you know what you want, make sure that you can communicate it to your hair dresser. And make sure they listen. Explain to them what you like about the Brit rock hairstyle, what you don’t like, and what you’re ambivalent about. Doing so will allow them to tailor an interpretation of it that suits your particular face shape and lifestyle. It’ll also allow them to create a one-off interpretation that you’re happy with.

    Don’t be afraid to save the pictures in this ‘hair how to’ and take them with you. If you can’t print them out, put them on your smart phone. The majority of men don’t explain themselves all that well when they visit the hairdresser – if you’re one of them, let a picture do the talking for you.

  3. Be informed

    Once your hair cut is done and dusted pay careful attention to the way it’s styled. If you’re not sure about any of the styling steps, ask – you want to know that once you leave the salon you can recreate the look yourself. Things that you want to be sure about are the right product to use, the way you dry your hair after it’s been washed, and the way you move your hands through it to place product.

    A good hairdresser will automatically explain all of this, but if they dont you have every right to ask – you’re paying for it to look good even once you’ve left the salon.


Styling it: the hair products to use.

Perhaps you’ve already had this men’s fringed hairstyle cut or you weren’t happy with your hairstylist’s product suggestions. If that’s the case, here are some of the products you could use to style the Brit rock.

  1. For texture without a shine

    If you’re after a dry look with plenty of texture then use a sea salt spray as your base product – this will give your hair a dry texture and will also add support to the hair so it both holds and has movement. The name gives it away, but your hair is going to feel pretty similar to the way it does after you’ve been for a swim at the beach.

    To get the most out of it: wash your hair, spray in the sea salt, and then dry it into your hair with a hairdryer – make sure that you’ve shaped your hair into the desired hairstyle as you dry with a hairdryer (i.e. your hair should be pushed forwards).

    Once done use a clay hair product to set the style. Rub the clay across your hands to melt it and make it pliable, then rub both hands through your hair from left to right, starting at the crown and working towards the fringe. That hand movement will ensure that every part of your hair has product on it. Once you’ve worked it through start styling your hair into the final shape that you want to create, arranging your fringe (which is the focus of the hairstyle) as desired. If you want to increase the amount of separation and texture, use the tips of your fingers.

    Product suggestions: Label M sea salt spray, Sebastian Craft Clay.

  2. For texture with a shine

    Remember that this is for a shine and not a wet look.

    Wash your hair, then towel dry it. If you have fine hair and are in need of volume, work through a volumiser / booster cream. Dry and shape your hair with a hair dryer.

    Once done use a styling cream to set and define the style. If you are after a low shine, a styling cream will suffice. If you are after a higher shine mix a splash of a styling oil with the styling cream in your palm and mix it together. Rub the styling cream (effectively a modern, low shine gel) across your hands, then rub both hands through your hair from left to right, starting at the crown and working towards the fringe. Once you’ve worked it through start styling your hair into the final shape that you want to create, arranging your fringe (which is the focus of the hairstyle) as desired. If you want to increase the amount of separation and texture, use the tips of your fingers

    Product suggestions: American Crew firm hold styling cream for a strong hole or American Crew’s forming cream for a medium hold.

The key to all the products is that you’re looking for those that will emphasise your hair’s texture. In some of the examples above we’ve noted two products: this is where one product will give you the hold you want, while the other will give you the finish.

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