Defined as those born between 1995 and the early 2000s, Gen Z are all about individuality, gender fluidity and a penchant for 1990s style. It's crucial to know what the most popular haircuts are for that generation – after all, they are your future clients. Here are four haircuts that are super popular with Gen Z boys right now, make yourself familiar...
The classic heartthrob hairstyle that many male icons, such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp, sported in their teen years has mutated into a slightly longer, wavier style. Thanks to stars like Tom Holland and the Gen Z boys of TikTok, long, messy hair is the new 'boy next door' look. It’s perfect for clients who are stuck in an awkward phase of growing out their hair or those that are looking to let go of the man-bun but not the length. Look to celebrities such as Brooklyn Beckham, Milo Anthony Ventimiglia, Timothée Chalamet and Harry Styles for modern reincarnations, sometimes accessorised with an earring.
Expert tips "For a loose finish and style with ease, layer the back of the head in square and diagonal forward sections to create more length on the sides (to either push back behind the ear or curl up)," explains Joe Hecker, of Joe and Co, London. "Then create square layers on top from shorter to longer, connected into the sides and into round layers on the crown. Then, personalise with a feather razor on the nape and to finish, I find a twist cut technique removes weight but enhances a curl too."
For advising on home care, Jim Shaw, owner and director of Toni & Guy Billericay and 2x British Men’s Hairdresser Of The Year, says: "Clients should also be advised to look after their long hair at home to ensure it stays in optimum condition. This includes using conditioners and hair masks. For those with curls, styling with this look is particularly key. It’s essential to recommend that curly-haired clients in particular use a styling product such as a lotion, serum or light paste and distribute this through their hair with their fingers, giving the curls a more polished look and more body to their hair. This hairstyle also looks great when the curls are brushed out and some texturising product is applied to give the hair softness yet a lot of body and movement."
A standout style across the last year is the understated buzz cut. The 'buzz' began amongst TikTok users and the trend quickly spread to Gen Z boys everywhere. A classic, simple low maintenance style that is uniform in length and simple to style. It also gained momentum in 2023 when Harry Styles shocked fans eveywhere by saying goodbye to his trademark curls, cintead opting for a buzz cut. It might seem a simple style to execute, but like with all things simple it needs to be executed well to look truly spectacular. Joe Hecker says: "'Grown-out-look' buzzcuts have been popular for me recently, like a two all over with no shape-ups and bleached" - a great way to promote your colour services to guys too.
Expert tips “To achieve that perfect buzz cut that’s even all over, it’s important that you use the best tool possible,” says Jim Shaw. “For me, my Wahl Cordless Clippers are essential to help me create this look. When creating this look I really like to use a scissor over comb technique on the sides to get really close to the hair for more precise results and then use a clipper on top. With buzz cuts I always tend to analyse the client's head before going ahead with the cut, feeling around their scalp to look out for any bumps before cutting to ensure I work around these areas more gently.”
Christian Wiles, Matrix artist ambassador, also adds: "I tend to use a longer grade on the top of the hair and a shorter grade on the sides, I will then fade the hair at the base which will give the haircut definition and more importantly, this is something that clients can't replicate at home. I would then finish and personalise the haircut working with a scissor-over-comb technique which will essentially soften the look."
What began as a fun lockdown activity (and predominantly a joke) for Gen Z boys, slowly transformed into a hot universal trend. Social media saw groups of boys attempting to create the look themselves, but for those that have chosen to upkeep the trendy look, here's an expert's tips on executing it.
Expert tips "The trendy mullet has a variety of many lengths and is once again dependent on suitability. My tip for creating the mullet is to think about the shape and the final look before you start the haircut. For a softer natural mullet, maintain the length on the sides to create subtler graduation of length. For a more extreme look, I would recommend taking the sides in much tighter to create a starker contrast. Whilst cutting, maintain all of the length in the back until you’ve dried it and then visually reduce the length in the back using a point cutting/slicing technique, which suits the client and the style the most," explains Mikey Pearson, Manifesto. "Once the hair is dry, texturise and personalise the look to give it more shape and texture. Product-wise, a cream-based product which will enhance the natural texture and reduce volume for a more natural look. For a more styled look, I would recommend using a Matt Clay or a medium hold paste."
A style coined by Gen Z to team the powers of the shag and the bowl cut, the 'wet mop' haircut combines modern reincarnations of old, classic looks. Bowl and cut are two words that strike fear into purveyors of good taste. However, the modern reinvention of this tricky trend is a little softer and less ‘mum cut my hair with the kitchen scissors’.
Expert tips "This has the same structure as that of the bowl cut, but instead is a lot more textured and natural in appearance. The key to creating this look is to give it a choppy appearance in the form of layers at the top and to have the sides and back relatively shorter, which can be created with clippers," guides Jim Shaw.
On that note, Marney Lian, from Gritt London, offers us her overarching tip for Gen Z clients: "Our top tip would be understanding the client's lifestyle. Firstly, we learn how much time they have to manage and style their new look. Secondly, we work with their expectation of what they want from a haircut. Lastly, we host a full array of styling products and tools, razor finishes and texturising tools."
It's important to keep up with the times and make sure you're up to scratch on the key styles that your Gen Z clients are after. Happy styling!