People typically picture black men with lush, perfectly rounded afros that look super fluffy, or perhaps waist-long braids and twists that give them a ruggedly handsome, urban look. But these are hairstyles that suit long hair. Lots of black men also sport short hair, and they can’t rock those styles.
Short hair can be difficult to style if you have African hair that is thick, coarse, and curly. But don’t lose hope! Dozens of haircuts will suit your hair type, even if you do prefer to keep it short.
Need help finding the best, most flattering haircut for you? Here are 20 hairstyle ideas that will suit black men’s unique hair structure and texture.
Short, Clean ‘Fro
The most uncomplicated hairstyle black men can wear is a short and clean afro. No fades or tapers here—just a plain scissor cut that will give you that smart, “good boy” look. It’s the perfect haircut for students and young professionals who aren’t so fussy with their hair and want to keep it plain and simple.
Afro with Squared Off Temples
Here’s another take on the short and clean afro, this time with an added detail: a hairline that is perfectly squared off at the temples. This shaved hairline style can be added to any hairstyle, but it pairs magnificently with the usual short ‘fro. While it looks clean and straightforward, it gives any man a more polished, put-together, and sophisticated look.
Drop Down Fade
If you want to show off a little more skin, you can go for the classic drop down fade. This haircut entails a skin fade on the sides that gradually lowers near the back of the head. This creates that clean, short haircut look while still giving you a trendy shave on the sides.
90s-Inspired 360 Waves
Back in the 1990s, lots of black men with short hair wore their locks in 360 waves, which give the appearance of the hair going in a spiral around the head. This hairstyle looks intricate and complex, but all you need is a brush and some diligence to achieve it.
First, cut your hair so that it’s 1.5 inches thick. Then, take a 360-wave brush (preferably one with boar bristles) and brush your hair from the crown of your head going outward. After doing this repeatedly, the waves will start to create a similar pattern that goes around in a spiral. Do this in all directions for that perfect “swirl” finish.
Buzz Cut with Surgical Line
If you’re a low-maintenance guy and prefer a wash-and-go style, get your hair buzzed short. It’s easy, simple, and still makes you look tough and masculine.
One way to make a buzz cut look more interesting is by aging a horizontal surgical line across your head. This makes it look edgier and more daring, elevating a very simple buzzed haircut.
Short, Curly Undercut with Wavy Surgical Line
Here’s another way to experiment with a surgical line. Instead of going with a plain, straight line across your head, be more creative by adding an ocean-inspired wave to that line. This looks awesome paired with short curls shaved at the sides to create an undercut.
Mid-Fade with Cross Razor Line
And if the ocean wave surgical line is still too tame for you, you can always experiment with different, more abstract razor lines.
Take this look, for example. The hair is cut short and given a mid-fade, and a surgical line shaped like a cross sits at the temples. The hair must be very short for this look so that no attention is taken away from the eclectic cross pattern.
Disconnected Undercut with Braids Brushed Forward
Some people think that short braids don’t look as good as super long ones, but that’s not true at all. One way to make your short braids look more attractive is by cutting your hair in a disconnected undercut before installing your protective style. For an extra dashing look, brush your braids forward to mimic a fauxhawk style.
This hairstyle may seem bold, but it looks amazing when done right. Ask your stylist to style and cut your hair upward to create a “flat top.” At whatever angle someone looks at you, all they’ll see is structured curly hair with a smooth, flat top.
This haircut looks terrific with squared-off temples, adding to that angular look the flat top already provides.
Medium Twists with Low Fade
Show off your thick twists while exposing a bit of skin in this trendy hairstyle. First, get an undercut with a low fade, which leaves a lot of your hair on your scalp while giving it a smooth taper upwards. Then, install your beloved twists. Almost instantly, you’ll look like a hip-hop and rap star!
Poofy Afro Undercut
Torn between rocking a big, poofy afro and keeping your hair short and manageable? Who says you can’t do both? Maintain your fluffy afro at the top of your head (about two or three inches of it is more than enough), but ask your barber to give you an undercut. This gives you cleaner, shorter sides while still showing off that classic ‘fro up top.
Natural Curls with a Middle Part
If your natural curls aren’t too tight and kinky, you can get away with wearing them down. For that laidback beach bro look that frames your face nicely, part your curls down the middle.
To weigh your hair down a little more, use as much curl cream as you prefer when styling your hair. The cream will also help boost curl definition!
Cornrows + Undercut
Combine two of the most handsome hairstyles for black men—cornrows and the classic undercut. Ask your barber for a disconnected undercut with a high fade, leaving the top of your hair fairly long at three or four inches. Then, get those cornrows installed and tied in a bun at the back.
Rat Tail Mullet
If you’re an old soul who loves vintage hairstyles, you might consider putting your short hair in a rat tail mullet. That way, you can rock short hair that’s perfect for professional settings at the front but maintain hair that’s a bit longer at the back. It also gives you that classic greaser look!
Thick Mohawk with Blonde Tips
For a look that’s dramatic and daring, go for a mohawk. But not that super thin mohawk that makes you look like a grungey emo from the 90s. Go for something thicker that can hold and show off your natural curls better. To pack more punch, bleach the tips of your mohawk blonde.
Mullet with Fade and Double Surgical Lines
Combine retro and modern with a mullet that has trendy details, like shaved sides and double surgical lines. Ask for a mid or high fade to really show off the mullet’s height. Then, add the surgical lines on the side of your head as a knockout finishing touch.
Bantu Knots Undercut
We’ve seen disconnected undercuts in braids on this list, but why not try it with Bantu knots? Shave the bottom part of your hair while gathering the rest up in small, round Bantu knots. The finished look gives you short, manageable hair that looks eccentric and unique.
Short Curls with Braided Ducktail
This quirky look is great if you want to rock a playful hairstyle that no one else will have. Ask for the usual clean, short, curly haircut at your barber’s, but remind them to leave a long piece of hair at the bottom of your nape. Braid this ducktail piece to keep it in place.
Platinum Blonde Curls
If you want to turn heads as you walk down the street, simply bleach your curly hair until it’s platinum blonde—almost white. This extremely light and bright color will be a gorgeous contrast to your naturally dark skin.
High Disconnected Cut with Shaved Pattern
Wow the crowd with this daring hairstyle! Start with a high disconnected undercut. Then, ask for a professional to give you surgical lines that create a cool pattern. This can be a pattern that means a lot to you, like a tribal pattern. Or perhaps it can just be some of your favorite shapes and designs.