Cutting hair short is a rite of passage when entering the military and functions as part of the uniform. These short styles serve a number of purposes, including showcasing health and strength, inspiring confidence in the civilian population and protection (no one can grab on to short hair in close combat). Of course, short hair is easy to wear and maintain for the active lifestyle and challenging environments that military life entails.
The classic boot camp cut is the buzz cut. It doesn’t get any simpler than a short all-over clipper cut. A fade can be added at the sides. The high and tight, also know as the regulation haircut, is longer on top with shaved or faded sides. This works for straight hair, curly hair and black hair.
Going a little bit longer, is the popular Ivy League, a short haircut just long enough to add a part. It is still short enough to be acceptable for military life but long enough to style.
Flat tops and undercuts are also classic military haircuts. Flat tops can be really short or have some length. Undercuts can be worn with a high and tight, recon or Ivy League.
Check out these 5 types of military haircuts that work for enlisted and civilian life.
1. Induction Haircut
Shaving head is part of starting boot camp and supposed to strip recruits of their individuality and promote a team mentality. It also means there is nothing else to focus on other than training.
This cut is also sometimes call the Mighty Fine, number zero, on the floor, and the Army’s #1 haircut.
2. Buzz Cut
The length of hair marks the days in boot camp. These Navy SEALS have a long way to go.
3. Buzz + Fade
A fade makes a buzz cut more polished.
4. Buzz Cut + Line Up
If you want to keep up the buzz cut after basic training, a fade and line up adds some style.
High and Tight
5. Short + Medium Length High and Tight Haircuts
The high and tight is the next length up from the buzz. Like the name says, longer hair is up high and the sides are cut tight. This cut can be short, as seen on the solder on the left, or longer, like the thick wavy hair on the right.
6. Jarhead Haircut
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tyler L. Main
The Marine version of the high and tight is also called the jarhead.
7. High and Tight Fade
This high and tight haircut is especially tight thanks to a mid bald fade.
8. High and Tight for Black Hair
The high and tight is also a popular haircut for black men.
9. Long on Top High and Tight
High and tight haircuts can go from ultra short to almost medium length. A spiky quiff at the front keeps this clean cut.
10. Wavy High and Tight
This longer on top, short sides and back haircut is a popular choice for men with wavy or curly hair.
11. Curly High and Tight
A high and tight fade looks good with short and longer kinky curls.
12. Ivy League Haircut
The Ivy League is a short haircut with a side part. This is the longer spectrum of military haircuts.
13. High Fade Haircut
This classic side part haircut with a high fade is a great looking and low maintenance look.
14. Spiky Hair
This short cut is long enough to style in a comb over or spike up.
15. Short Comb Over Haircut + Quiff
The Ivy League is just long enough to style opposite the part and comb up into a quiff.
16. Flat Top Haircut
The flat top haircut goes in and out of style but is always associated with the military.
17. Short Flat Top
This is about as short as a flat top can be but it still has that distinctive flat deck on top.
Use a wax or pomade and pull hair straight up to style this flattop.
19. High and Tight + Undercut
The undercut is another popular military hairstyle. While long hair like the Brad Pitt Fury haircut are no longer acceptable, this high and tight also looks great.
20. Ivy League + Undercut
With a side part, this is essentially an Ivy League with undercut sides.
21. Marine Corps High and Tight
The Marine Corps high and tight has defined instead of faded sides resulting in the jarhead haircut. A narrower version would be called a recon.