How To Slick Back Short Hair

Slick Back Short Hair

Men’s hairstyling has evolved since the 1900s. Historically, a man’s hairstyle told a lot about his personality, wealth, class, and masculinity. Now? Well, things aren’t very different but while countless hairstyles have come and gone down the years, some of them have withstood the test of time and are still very much in vogue.

Speaking of time, there is hardly a more timeless hairstyle around that the slicked-back hairstyle. It has been in style since the early 1900s and has become popular down the years as being the ‘gentleman’s hairstyle’. It was first made internationally famous by entertainment icons like Elvis Presley and James Dean and then by modern-day stylists like David Beckham and Justin Timberlake.

The slicked-back hairstyle is hugely popular today and countless guys today would love to have the classic, eye-catching Beckham look for all occasions, which brings us to the reason I wrote this post: to teach guys how to style and slick back their short hair. As expected, this hairstyle is best done by a professional, but for the ‘do it yourself’ enthusiasts who don’t fancy spending an entire afternoon at a salon, this how-to guide is for you.

You will need

  • Soap/Shampoo
  • Towel
  • Hair Pomade
  • Comb
  • Sea Salt Spray
  • Hair Conditioner
  • Hair Spray
  • Hair Dryer
  • Hair Clipper


  • Comb out your hair

Combing your hair before washing helps remove tangles, making it lighter and therefore easier to condition and style.

Man combing washed hair at hairdresser

Comb out your hair gently for 60 seconds to remove all tangles and make your hair lighter. Use a comb that reaches the root of your hair and gently comb in an upward movement. The unwanted hair, you should use best hair clippers to remove them

  • Wash your hair

Your hair is easier to style and condition when clean and damp. Hair products also work more effectively on damp hair and the slicked-back look stays in place longer when you style your hair while its damp.

Wash your hair for 8-10 minutes with a soap or shampoo and rinse thoroughly. Dry your hair with a towel, but ensure your hair remains damp.

  • Comb out your hair again!

Yes, you combed out your hair already, but combing your hair a second time is necessary to be absolutely sure there are no tangles that may prove problematic while conditioning and styling your hair.

Comb your hair gently again for another 60 seconds until you are sure there are no tangles in your hair. This will make conditioning and styling easier and quicker.  


  • Coat your hair with strong-hold pomade

Strong hold pomade is a vital part of successfully pulling off the slicked-back hairstyle. It is essential to keep your hairstyle in place until you wash it out.

Use your fingers to gently apply a generous amount of pomade evenly across your hair. An oil based pomade may give your hair that classy, shiny look, but oil is hard to wash out and may make your hair more loose than is required, so you might want to go for a pomade which oil is not listed as a main ingredient.

Gel is an alternative as it gives your hair a dryer hold and a crunchy texture that ensures your slicked-back hair remains in place all day. This is more effective on finer, lighter hairdos as gel may not be strong enough to hold thicker or heavier hair in place.

Sea-salt spray and mousse are also effective alternatives. Sea salt and mousse both give your hair a stronger texture and increase its holding power to ensure your hairdo lasts longer. While sea salt spray may give your hair a few curls, the curls can easily be removed with a comb while maintaining the stronger texture.

After applying pomade, gel or sea salt, spray or apply any hair conditioning product of your choice to give your hair some extra shine and fragrance. Once step 2 is successfully and properly completed, your hair should have a firm texture and a shiny look to boot and is ready for styling.


  • Comb your hair backwards from your forehead to your crown to form the slicked-back hairstyle.

Once your hair is fully conditioned, styling should be easy and straightforward. Make sure you use a small comb as they are more effective when styling.

Use a comb to slowly slick your hair backwards from your forehead to the crown of your head. Do this continuously until the top of your hair lies flat from front to back.

  • Comb the sides of your hair.

Depending on what kind of slicked-back hairstyle you want, this step is important. If you want the Brad Pitt style slicked-back with no parting, then you can skip this step and comb your entire hair backward. But if you want a parted slicked-back, then this step is important to create different and distinct patterns at the top and bottom of your hair.

Comb the sides of your hair starting from the right temple and run the comb toward the back of your head. Do this continuously near a mirror until you notice the slicked pattern form. Keep combing continuously toward your left temple until the sides and back of your hair are completely slicked.

  • Shape the front of your hair

Once you’ve formed the slicked pattern on your hair successfully, it’s time to add the finishing touches to the styling. This step, like the last, is for those who want a parted slicked-back hairstyle. If you want a full slicked-back with no parting, comb your entire hair backward.

Comb your hair to either side to form any pattern or shape you want. It’s all about preference as some people favor right slicks while others look better in left slicks. Make sure you had combed your hair backwards to form definitive slick patterns before doing this step to ensure your slicked-back hairstyle is visible and durable. Don’t over-comb though, as combing your hair for too long might mess with the pomade on your hair and your slicks might begin to look messy and might not last as long.


  • Blow dry your hair

You can choose to let your hair dry naturally, but using a blow dryer is slightly more effective in achieving the desired outcome which is to make your hair firm and durable.

Use a blow dryer on your hair for 15-20 seconds. Don’t dry your hair for too long so as not to dry off the pomade or the conditioner. Use 2-3 pumps of sea salt spray on your hair while drying to make your hair firm, ensuring your slicked-back hair style lasts all day.

  • Finish off with some hairspray

At this point, you are just about done. Make sure you don’t rub gel or any liquid-based conditioner on your hair once you’ve passed step 2 and only hair sprays are necessary to finish up your hair style.

Use a few pumps of hair spray evenly across your hair to give it some final polishing and voila, you look like David Beckham!


The slicked-back hairstyle is one of the classiest looks around today despite being in vogue for nearly a century. This tutorial shows guys with short hair how to make the classy look themselves without having to visit a professional.  

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