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Our hairstyles. We never learn. No matter how many times the professionals advise us to stay away from trends, every once in a while a style comes along that we just have to have. There’s some celebrity or musician who you just need to emulate no matter how much coaxing you have to do to get your hair in some semblance of theirs. The result: five years later, you see a picture of yourself and your age becomes a lot easier to figure out. Nonetheless, we love to reminisce about these hairstyles and they give us the opportunity to laugh, albeit often at ourselves. So, in that spirit let’s take a look at the sixty years of men’s hairstyles.
The good boys had the pompadours, the bad boys had the Ducktails. The pompadour look was achieved by combing the hair away from the sides and up and over itself on the sides. Look at 1950’s pictures of Elvis and Johnny Cash for examples.
Due to its use of generous helping of grease, the ducktail was the 1950’s symbol of “the greater.” The ducktail involved leaving some hair long around the neck, combing the sides flat and piling the top high into what was often referred to as “the elephant’s nose.” See John Travolta as Danny Zuko in “Grease.”
Of course, we have the Fab Four to thank for this style. The Beatles ushered this trend in by growing their hair out and keeping it messy.
The ‘fro came in with the “Black is Beautiful” movement to celebrate freedom for African Americans and other ethnic groups, as well as people with very curly hair. Known as the Iron in Judaism, the look is maintained when curly hair is grown out and brushed to create a halo effect around the head. The Jackson 5 all sported Afros in their heyday.
The next step in the evolution of the “Black Is Beautiful,” corn rows was the cooler weather alternative to the afro. Hair is meticulously braided tightly to the scalp, in rows from back to front, fastened with elastic bands. Bring a picture of rapper Coolio to your hairdresser if you want him or her to simulate this look.
Rick James helped to bring the Jheri curl to popularity. Another style suited to African American hair texture, the Jheri curl involved an extensive amount of product used to relax, and then perm the hair for a softer curl.
Also known as the “Mohican” or the “movie,” the Mohawk was the look of the punk rocker in the 1980’s. Hair would be shaved on the side, save for a long strip in the middle which would be cemented upward with the use of a myriad of household products, glue, hairspray, eggs, pomade, and gel. Variations include the reverse mohawk, in which hair is shaved in the middle and the sides are long, the bi or tri-hawk, the Chelsea hawk, with bangs, or a fringe, the duo Hawk, in which the Mohawk was split into two pieces, or the death hawk, which was essentially a mohawk with teased hair. See Watty from “The Exploited” for into.
Of course, no eighties record of hairstyles would be complete without mention of the mullets. The ultimate in redneck haircuts, this “party in the back, all business up front,” became synonymous with the lower class in the 1980’s. Variations include the mull-hawk, a mohawk with some length in the back, the tropical mullet, with dreads in the back, the skullet, with a shaven head, and longer hair in the back, and the cullet, which was the unfortunate combination of a combover and a mullet.
High Top Fade
Mostly popular with African American youth, the high top fade was achieved when hair was shaved in the back, combed upward and shaved flat on the top. Will Smith and Kid ‘n’ Play were proud models of this style.
For those who wanted the edginess of punk without the commitment to shaving, the faux hawk provided and ideal hairstyle. Styled with gel to create a ridge of hide in the middle, the faux hawk was popularized by soccer player and underwear model David Beckham.
For the more emotional among us, the Emo usually comes in black and is the result of parting the hair to the extreme on one side, and combining razor cut bangs into the eye area. You might see Adam Lambert peering out of his Emo on tour with Queen this year.
Do you have experiences with hair styles that tell us what year the picture was taken just from looking at it? Let us know what trendy haircut you survived. We love to hear it.