Men’s messy hairstyles have the unique gift of being able to look like you haven’t bothered with your appearance at all, while also being incredibly well put together. There is much to be said about nailing the perfect messy hairstyle look, as there is a most definitely a difference between ‘just got out of bed’ bed hair, and messy hair created using hair styling products.
The great thing about messy hairstyles for men, however, is that they don’t discriminate by hair type or face shape. Guys with curly hair, straight hair, wavy hair, thick hair and thin hair can all take advantage of off-duty casual cool messy hair, and every one of the men’s messy hairstyles available to guys today will look different to the next. You’ll even achieve a different look each day you style your messy hair too, making messy hairstyles the perfect option if you like to change up your look regularly.
How To Ask Your Barber For A Messy Hairstyle
If you’ve decided messy hair and one one of the many messy hairstyles is for you, then you’ll need to let your barber know how you intend to style it once you leave the barbershop. Rather than cut your hair to exact proportions, or in straight lines, they should add texture to your hair by point cutting it. Point cutting is the best way to achieve texture for messy hair, as it sees the hair cut at the tips, but to differing lengths. It’s a far better option than using thinning scissors.
You will, however, need to let the barber know the rough hairstyle you’re going for. Whether it be a side-part, pompadour, crew cut, or whatever other men’s hairstyle you can think of, your barber does still need a little bit of guidance.
How To Style Men’s Messy Hairstyles
We may have said it for some other hairstyles, but there really is no right or wrong way to style the array of messy hairstyles featured on this list. The object is, of course, to end up with messy hair. For the vast majority of these messy hairstyles, there is still a degree of maintenance required – you can’t just literally wake up and get on with your day, unless you’re deliberately going for a bed head look – so arming yourself with a selection of quality hair styling products is still a must.
As a general rule, you’ll just want to gather a small amount of your chosen styling product in your hands and work through towel-dried hair from root to tip. If you have slightly thinner hair, you can enlist the help of a texturising spray, or sea salt spray to give some extra thickness and volume. The extent to which your messy hair looks messy is, however, entirely dependent on you. The beauty of messy hairstyles is that they can easily be manipulated throughout the day – if you use a light to medium-hold styling product – without anyone really noticing.
Best Messy Hairstyles For Men
So, what are some of the best messy hairstyles for men? Read on to find out.
Short Messy Hair
A vast majority of men rock short hair. With an abundance of short hairstyles for men available, it’s possible to make virtually all of them look messy, as opposed to their traditional sharp and pristine appearance. In fact, short messy hair is pretty much a rite of passage for guys everywhere, with many of us rocking some sort of short messy hairstyle from an incredibly young age.
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You will still need a good few inches of hair length before you attempt short messy hairstyles – you can’t exactly mess up a buzz cut for example – but all you need to do is apply a styling paste or matte-effect styling product through some towel-dried hair and leave to dry to get the messy hair look.
You can choose to finish your short messy hair with a light spritz of hairspray if you wish, to hold it in place, but part of the charm of short messy hair is that it can be played with throughout the day. As we mentioned earlier, you’ll want a medium-hold hair product to be able to do this, as a strong-hold product will make the hair too tricky to manipulate.
Medium Length Messy Hair
Medium length messy hair is an incredibly popular choice among messy hairstyles. You’ll see medium length messy hairstyles at the beach, in the club, at the office, pretty much wherever you go. Medium length messy hairstyles are the pinnacle of casual cool. The hair can be left to hang free if you wish, or you could even experiment with sweeping it back towards the back of your head – we won’t give our opinion on Alice bands, but this is one hairstyle that can suit them – and, as with short messy hairstyles, all you need to do with work some product through it.
Gels, pomades and matte-effect products are all par for the course here, as medium length messy hair can look great with some shine to it, for an effective wet look. Once again, you’ll want to avoid styling products that have a strong hold, as they could cause your hair to thicken too much to the point where you can’t change your messy hair look throughout the day.
Long Messy Hair
A beach-inspired hairstyle if ever there was one is long messy hair. A men’s messy hairstyle that can look incredible when left to its own devices, but even better with the aid of a small amount of styling product such as a mousse or texturising sea salt spray. Long messy hair has the ability of showing people you don’t completely care about your appearance, while also indicating you know how to look your damn finest.
RELATED: Men’s Long Hairstyles That Will Give You Follicular Envy
If your hair is naturally curly or wavy, you can get away with not doing a lot to make it look messy. If you have long straight hair, however, you’ll need to enlist the help of some styling products and potentially a hairdryer to help make things look a little more roughed up around the edges. Spray a liberal amount of texturising or sea salt spray onto your locks and scrunch it through and leave to dry naturally (you can also use a hairdryer to help speed up the process) and you’ll have yourself a delightfully disheveled day-long messy hairstyle look.
Bed Head Messy Hair
Ah bed head. The way your hair naturally looks as soon as you wake up, bed head is, for some, the epitome of laidback messy hairstyles. In our opinion, truly great bed head is only enjoyed by those with longer hair, as short hair can easily see your mane look incredibly untamed and a little too out of place for public showing. Therefore, guys with medium-length hair or long hair that reaches their shoulders can get by with waking up and barely doing a damn thing.
RELATED: How To Rock Bed Hair Without Looking Like You’ve Given Up On Life
Pompadour and Messy Hair
Traditionally, the pompadour is a hairstyle that requires not a single hair be out of place. Dating back to 18th century France when it was first adopted by Madame de Pompadour – yep, it started off as a woman’s hairstyle – but when men started seeing its potential as an Uber-stylish hairstyle, with notable alumni including Elvis Presley, it became cemented in men’s hairstyle history forever.
But, as we said, traditional pompadours call for precision, making the messy pompadour a men’s messy hairstyle for the rebellious rockstar types. Equally as stylish and still exhibiting traits of the classic pomp, a messy pompadour can be styled in a similar way to its classic counterpart. This means using a hairdryer to give your hair some natural volume and lift, before using a styling product to work through and mess it all up. A liquid-based styling product will serve you better here, such as a gel or wax, as it will allow for greater movement through the hair.
Blowout and Messy Hair
A blowout hairstyle by its very nature could already be considered messy, but there are always ways to make it even messier. The aim with a messy blowout hairstyle is to make your hair seem as though its the byproduct of some time spent in a wind tunnel, while still giving off the illusion of ‘it’s meant to look like that’. You’ll need some good hair length to achieve an effective messy blowout hairstyle, around medium-length. This isn’t really a hairstyle you can rock if you have hair touching your shoulders, for example.
To style a messy blowout you’ll need, unsurprisingly, a hairdryer. Some light to medium hold styling product will be your friend here, work it through your hair and use the hairdryer to set it in place. Experiment using various holding strengths, as you may find a light hold product is best for you so that you can easily restyle throughout the day. Some may prefer a stronger hold so that their hair stays in place. Ultimately, go wild with the look, the messier the better.
French Crop and Messy Hair
The French crop is a men’s hairstyle essential. One of the most stylish and popular men’s short hairstyles, the French crop is one that can suit a wide majority of face shapes and hair types, making it one you really need to try at some point. While some men like to have their French crop styled oh-so perfectly, being combed forward in dead straight lines and having the fringe blunt cut to millimetre precision, others can opt to have it messed up.
To achieve a messy French crop, you may find you’ll need a little bit of extra hair length on top of the head compared to if you wanted to make it much cleaner, as it’ll allow you to introduce greater texture. You’ll also want to have the fringe point cut instead of blunt cut to help continue the messy trend, with your hair being able to be manipulated and moved in various ways. A matte-effect hair styling product is our recommendation here, as a shiny French crop will look more formal than its messiness would infer.
Side Part and Messy Hair
Despite its highly formal associations, the side part is another men’s hairstyle that can be messed up to great effect. Yes, even though it is traditionally a hairstyle formed using a shiny wax or pomade and coupled with the likes of black tie dress, the side part can be given the messy treatment simply by changing the hair product you use.
Matte-effect hair styling products are the best friend of most messy hairstyles, which is especially the case here. Again, it helps if you have a good few inches of hair length here to help exaggerate the messy style, and a great example of how to rock a messy side part would be to introduce a hart part, with the smaller section of hair being cut relatively short. This leaves the larger section of hair to be swept across the head, and the extra length and messy style will create incredible contrast.
Faux Hawk and Messy Hair
The faux hawk is a popular men’s hairstyle for good reason. It shows you have a slightly rebellious nature to your personality, being inspired by the punk-tastic mohawk, but it doesn’t require you to shave off all the hair around the centred hairstyle. It’s the fact this sacrifice doesn’t need to be made that makes the faux hawk such an appealing hairstyle. And, while a conventional faux hawk hairstyle doesn’t need to be preened to perfection, it can most certainly be messed up.
It definitely suits it too, and as with conventional faux hawks, if you can draw extra attention to the central part of the hairstyle, the better it will look. This means you’ll want to consider incorporating a fade of some description. The length, or point where the fade begins, is entirely up to you, although we’d recommend steering clear of a high fade as it’ll veer into mohawk territory. Taking the longer section of hair down the middle of your head, use a matte-effect styling product once again to mess it up, while still styling it as forward as possible.
Messy Hair for Thick Hair
Because of its very nature, messy hairstyles for men are easier to achieve for guys with thinner hair. It’s easier to work product and your finger through, without the risk of your hair becoming entangled in itself. This is a problem that can be posed by thick hair. If you apply too much hair styling product then your hair can become one thick hairball mess, which nobody really wanted. Instead, to achieve great messy hair, apply a pea-sized amount of product to your hair. If you feel like you need to add more after this, you’re free to do so, but you can’t take any away.
Applying your hair product to the roots of your thick hair, as opposed to the entire hair strand, will give it some extra volume – the root will be standing proud, while the rest of your thick hair flows naturally – making this a good hairstyle option no matter the occasion.
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38 Perfectly Imperfect Messy Hairstyles for All Lengths
Untamed tousled hairstyles always seem so irresistibly charming and effortless that you simply can’t turn down their overwhelming appeal. There’s something extremely sexy and free of any constraint in tousled ‘dos, whether it’s an updo style, boyish pixie with sticking out feathers or fun loose curls. A messy style looks great on any length and type of hair – short or long, straight or curly, thick and flexible or fine and wispy. With the right approach you can create so many gorgeous and versatile looks with messy hair. Let some of them be stylish and extravagant, while others can remain on a more romantic side. Here are 38 ideas of envy-worthy hairstyles with messed up locks for short, medium-length and long hair.
How to Create Messy Locks?
“Maybe they simply stopped combing their hair?”, someone may think, contemplating some of the trendiest messy ‘dos at the biggest fashion shows. Well, messy hair often looks like an absolutely natural style but we know that certain manipulations do stand behind these perfectly imperfect looks. Normally for medium-length and long hair they include the following.
- Blow-drying and running your fingers through hair without combing.
- Upside down blowdrying or blowdrying in the opposite direction to the hair growth for added volume and layer enhancement.
- Haphazard curling for some locks with a flat iron.
- Applying texturizing/thickening spray or curl enhancing product all through the locks and squeezing them in your palms with optional light teasing at the roots to boost volume.
- A few final minutes of blowdry to fix the effect and a bit of hair spray as the last touch for the extra hold.
Best Messy Hairstyles
If your hair is short, a cute chaos can be easily organized with some wax or light pomade. Apply the product to wet hair and blow dry, pulling separate sections in different directions. Add a little bit more wax to the ends for a more distinct look.
Besides loose messy curls and chaotic straight tresses for longer hair you can experiment with a whole bunch of messy updos and downdos, including messy buns, knots, fishtails, half up and half down messy ‘dos, French twists and others. Here are some cute ideas to embrace.
#1: Short and Layered
Of course, short messy hairstyles are lovely too. Many of today’s layered cuts are actually shaped to look messy – that’s how popular this laid back trend has become. For women, layered hair that is shoulder length will look feminine without being a huge maintenance hassle.
#2: Formal Messy Hair
While many messy styles are designed for casual wear, there are also some formal styles for women that will look gorgeous on your prom or wedding day pictures. Messy buns can be further formalized with the addition of a hair embellishment or flowers.
#3: Youthful Updo
A quick and easy updo that is often seen on young women is a side chignon with plenty of strands flying free around. If your hair is highlighted, this wrapped, pulled back style will really bring out all its beautiful colors.
#4: Messy French Twist for Ombre Hair
As traditional as formal affairs themselves, this classic chignon is a glamorous favorite updated as a messy updo. Whether you choose to French twist your hair or simply finger comb and secure with a clip, this hairstyle will work for all long haired girls.
#5: Triple Knot
Keep hair looking beautiful with a sexy updo that really can be qualified as a lazy hairstyle. It might look intricate, but really the beauty of this triple knotted updo is found in the fact it doesn’t stretch for perfection. Some hairs remain out of place while others are a bit askew. Nonetheless, the end result is stunning.
#6: Messy Hair with a Side Braid
If you’re in a rush and need an easy ‘do that will get you out the door in less than 10 minutes while still looking fabulous, try a hairstyle that rocks a feminine front braid. Simply plait the front of the hair and pull the rest of the hair into a side bun.
#7: Cute, Knotted and Messy
Messy buns are a staple in every girl’s hair portfolio, and with good reason. Try a mussed low chignon, that’s extra carefree, by letting some strands of hair go loose.
#8: Criss-Crossed Messy Hair
Take your updo game up a knotch by overlapping that textured, messy hair into a fabulous formal shape. This hair style takes any look to the next level seamlessly. The updo is perfect for shoulder-length hair which can be hard to style at times.
#9: Twisted, Wavy and Messy
Get romantic by rocking a half-updo with twists and turns that are intricate and lovely. Make sure your hair is curled into beach waves before twisting two sections from opposite sides of the head and joining them in the back.
#10: Messy Blue and Purple Plait
Show off that gorgeous mermaid-like hair color by flipping it into multiple topsy-tails that are full and tousled. Your hair will look voluminous and vibrant.
#11: Messy Mohawk Look
The cool, faux-hawk look is very in right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to run to the stylist to have your hair shaved down the sides. Try one of many plaited messy hairstyles. This time try a Dutch braid down the middle and a small fishtail right next to it to give your ‘do some edge.
#12: Tousled, Messy Hair
Curly locks don’t have to be perfect. In fact, waves are at their best when they’re slightly undone and textured — especially when you`re messing them up for medium hair. You can achieve this by curling your hair with a large curling wand! Just flip your curled hair upside down and then style as needed.
#13: Cotton Candy Messy Braids
If you just got your hair colored with magical shades like pink or blue, you have to show them off right! There’s no better way to showcase your pastel locks than braids. Try two messy pigtail plaits on for size.
#14: Braided Messy Pony
Of all the cute messy hairstyles, this one may be the coolest, as it’s braided from start to finish … literally! Just French braid the back of the head (starting at the nape), until you hit the crown, then throw the style into a high pony. Braid the pony into a fishtail and secure with an elastic band. Tug at the pony braid to make it fuller and messier.
#15: Long and Messy Half Bun
Sleep through your alarm? Put that bedhead look to good use by throwing it into a half-bun hairstyle. And don’t worry about making this hairdo too perfect. The messier the better!
#16: Topsy-Turvy Messy Hair
Remember the topsy-tail hairstyle of your childhood? It’s time to recreate the magic as an adult by tying that long, luscious hair into a topsy-turvy pony that literally let’s it all hang out.
#17: Tangled Messy ‘Do
Bring new meaning to the term “silver fox”! Metallic, messy hairstyles are fabulous when worn in twisted, knotted ways. Just take your long locks and tie them into several knots for a cascading ‘do!
#18: Messy Wrapped Low Pony
Can’t do a thing with your hair? Try styling it into a low pony … with a twist. When wrapping the elastic around your hair, stop the hair from going all the way through on the third time around. Then, pull a piece of hair out and wrap it around the base of the pony. This look is especially chic on straight hair.
#19: Plaited and Bunned Messy Hair
The messy look never looked messier — or hotter! In addition to a chic, trendy half bun, a randomly placed braid is the perfect way show off your beautiful, boho waves.
#20: Multi-Braided Messy Hair
If you’re torn between messy hairstyles with large, full accent braids and small ones, it’s time to put your mind at ease … and go for both! Messy ‘dos mean anything goes, so, layer a thick shoelace braid on top of a small Dutch braid that wraps around the back of the head. Finish it off with a side bun and you’re good to go!
#21: Messy Braided Updo
Who says a messy look can’t be elegant? Try a formal, undone updo that features two wraparound braids and some loose, curled locks.
#22: Bobbed and Messy Hair
Tousled, layered long bobs (which are medium-length bobs) are low in maintenance but high in chicness. All you need is a bit of texturizing spray or powder, and you are good to go.
#23: Chin-Length Messy Bob
Nothing is hotter than short messy hairstyles! Take a page from your favorite celebs and try a messy, cute, chin-length bob. Simply curl your hair with a straightener, leaving the ends untouched, then fluff up the hair and break up the curls with your fingers.
#24: Ponytail with a Twist
Messy hair is the right texture for a modern casual ponytail. This one is made a bit more grown up with a twisted piece held in place with a hairpin, effectively concealing the hair elastic. If your hair is highlighted or layered, then you can make it look even more fun.
#25: Messy Low Chignon
A low, undone side bun is messy hair at its finest. This look is about as classic as they come and looks amazing with everything from a formal gown to a sleek pant suit.
#26: Side Fishtail
Messy hairstyles are fun to wear, and best of all, they don’t take a huge amount of effort. This laid back fishtail braid is made more beautiful by being faded out of a top twist and styled to the side.
#27: Braids and Twists Combined
The epitome of cute and messy styles comes in the form of combined hair elements. For this look, a French braid is paired with twists and a messy low pony. One total fashion perk for women with long hair? Being able to dress hair up in a bunch of different ways, but sometimes not having to settle on a single style at once.
#28: Long Haired Loveliness
You don’t need to try too hard to look beautiful if you already have long hair. This sexy hair look is the epitome of lazy hairstyles. Messy hair is made gorgeous simply by pulling the top layer into a half up bun. Messy buns are ever popular and work well in a variety of hair types.
#29: Curly and Messy Ponytail
When it comes to quick hair styling, go for styles that aren’t too difficult and bank them into your memory. While there are some days when you will need to dress up your tresses, too many of us forget about the beauty that comes from messy waves and sloppy straightness.
#30: Fauxhawk Ponytail
By adulthood, we’ve all conquered the ponytail. But when you need a messy ponytail that really takes the cake, check out this idea with its twists and volume. If you have long hair and are seeking a change, try this Mohawk-inspired style on for size.
#31: Simple and Tasteful
While it won’t work on all hair types, a brushed back messy bun for long hair really looks beautiful. Make a low loose knot leaving some extra strands from the top layer of your hair to cover its base. Bring those strands to the centre and pin in place to cover the elastic, securing your knot. Don’t worry if some strands break free – that’s the whole point of messy hair life.
#32: Formal Style
This low, formal updo hairstyle includes some choppy layers that frame the face. A hair embellishment like the pearl headband shown in the photo will bring a touch of glamour to hair that honestly doesn’t take a whole lot of effort.
#33: Imperfect Low Bun
This bun looks like it was done with your little daughter’s hands. Messy hairstyles are best when they are versatile, and you can definitely wear this one to either a formal or casual occasion.
#34: Spiky yet Feminine
This style can be worn as a long layered bob brushed back if you have shorter hair or as a low loose updo for long locks. Two toned hair looks amazing in this style, and so does the chunky fishtail, messily incorporated into the side.
#35: Thin Hair Beauty
Fine, straight hair can often wage war against messy hairstyles. In fact, it often achieves a messy look naturally, but not in the styles you’ll like. If you have thin hair, try securing it in this French braid-inspired updo that still leaves room for flyaways down the back and sides.
#36: Shoulder Length Sass
Medium messy hairstyles sometimes don’t even involve any twist, braid or curl. Get a choppy layered cut and wear your hair “as it is” to achieve this lazy hairstyle that’s gorgeous and super simple.
#37: Fishtail Half Updo
This half up half down style with a fishtail headband is suitable for all hair types. Not so great at fishtail braids? They can certainly be tricky, but fortunately for this hairdo, messy is welcome.
#38: Fauxhawk Knots
A single knot might look a bit too casual and even banal these days, but two knots are a whole new story. Pull your shoulder length hair into two large knots at the back of the head for this easy updo that is inspired by the more formal top knot.
Getting every hair in its place can be pretty boring especially when you strive to avoid morning rush. Thanks God, nonchalant chic is not going to be out of fashion in the near future, so why not to incorporate a few of these great messy styles into your chic spring and summer looks?
Requirements for Messy Medium Hair
• Hair should be shorter on the sides (a #1 or #1-1/2 clipper length), with a medium high fade before the top of the head.
• The length of hair up top should be shorter in the back (2 or 3 inches) and get longer toward the hairline in the front.
• Bangs at the forehead should be cut evenly across, and usually long enough so that they fall just above the eyebrow.
• The barber or stylist should work in lots of texture here using point cutting techniques—the more weight that’s taken out of the hair, the more movement the cut will have.
How to Style Messy Medium Hair
1. Start with clean, towel-dried hair.
2. Use a blow dryer on a high-heat setting to achieve the shape you want.
3. Take a small amount of high-hold pomade or clay and work it into the back of the hair, moving forward (target the roots of the hair for maximum control). You want it to look a little disheveled—and not too precious—when you’re finished.
More Men’s Hair Styling Tips
• Be sure to pick a hairstyle that matches your face shape.
• Learn how to properly apply hair product.
• Different stylers—like wax, paste, pomade, or cream—do different things. See where they fall on the Hold vs. Shine hair-styling matrix.
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