When it comes to thinning hair, the comb over is one of the go-to hairstyles for those experiencing hair loss. Additionally, these hairstyles have also become quite fashionable with adaptations that include a fade, beard fades, slicked back looks, and more.
The comb over hairstyle is defined by its volume on top, slicking back the sides and pulling the long locks to the side or straight back. The part is the most defining aspect of the comb over style. You can part your hair on either side, combing your hair on top to the side. It was originally coined by those who used the look to “comb over” a receding hairline or bald spot.
The best comb overs will match your face shape and personal style. Below, we show you the top comb-over hairstyles and how to style each look.
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The hairstyle is designed around the part, which is typically right at the corner of your hairline on the left or right. The sides may also be tapered or faded, which is called a comb over fade haircut.
To get this look, you will need a modern comb, brush, and men’s styling hair products, such as pomade, beeswax, or gel. For bald fade looks, you may also want an electric shaver with #1 and #2 guards.
While these are all variations of the traditional comb over, you may want to start by parting your hair on the side. The hair on top is kept long with short sides. However, you may choose to keep your hair to a medium length with a shorter fade on the side. That’s what we’ll explore with a look into these styles.
1. Comb Over High Fade
What You Need: Comb, electric head shaver with #1 and #2 guards, pomade or gel to style
The high fade may also be considered an “undercut” look as it draws attention to the length of your hair on top the most. The sides typically don’t have any taper, with a clean fade that happens an inch above the top of the ear. The transition to the top is quite sharp, so there’s little room for tapering.
Typically, the brow line matches right where the transition to long hair occurs on the sides, so it draws more attention to your eyes. This look works best with locks that are not as long, but still long enough to be combed over and styled with gel so it’s pushed back from the face.
2. Comb Over Taper Fade
What You Need: Comb, electric shaver with #1 and #2 guards, pomade, mousse, or gel to style
With a hard part at the top and tapered sides, this fade is also high, typically transitioning right at the top of the ear. Hair can be longer on top, but barbers typically style these locks straight back or coiffed to the opposite side of your part.
3. Comb Over Low Fade
What You Need: Comb, electric shaver with #1 and #2 guards, pomade, mousse, or gel
Timeless with a twist, this is just like a traditional comb over, but instead of a #1 or #2 all the way around on the sides, the hair is faded with the transition occurring at or below the middle of your ear. This offers a better transition if you have a beard as well.
4. Long Comb Over
What You Need: Comb, barber shears, and electric shaver with #2 guards for sides
If you have longer pieces in front, then you can keep your length on top and taper the sides. This is a more loose comb over that typically has longer sides. You can use a blow dryer and mouse to add some more volume on top.
5. Short Comb Over
What You Need: Comb, barber shears, and electric shaver #2 guards for longer sides
For those who like a shorter look, this style works better for business professionals who want something simple and easy to style. This is a polished comb over that has a shorter length on top that can still be parted to the side and styled with gel or pomade.
6. Comb Over Bald Sides
What You Need: Comb, barber shears, electric shaver with #1 and #2 guards, and optional wax or pomade
These comb overs focus on a hard part that’s a little more towards the center than just at the corner of your hairline. This style accentuates the exact point where your hair parts, so you need to make sure it’s straight and even.
This look is also perfect if you have a growing M-shaped or Widow’s Peak hairline and want to cover a deep corner.
7. Comb Over Undercut
What You Need: Comb, electric shaver with #1 guard or no guard at all
This is a very sharp fade that has clean skin around the neck and up past the top of the ear. The skin fade is created using an electric shaver with no guard. This bold style is nearly a military cut, but it leaves the length on top at its longest length, much like an undercut.
8. Comb Over Curly Hair
What You Need: Comb, barber shears, optional electric shaver with #1 or #2 guard, curl styling cream or light styling gel
This look is best for those who have naturally curly, thick hair type. The sweeping curls can be styled over, buzz cut, faded, or slightly tapered sides.
The key to this look is to pile the curls on top with a hard part on the left or right. A little blow dry with a styling product can make your hair look naturally voluminous and unruly.
9. Comb Over Pompadour
What You Need: Comb or styling brush, blow dryer, electric shaver with #1 and #2 guards, pomade, hair spray or mousse
If you have longer pieces in the front, you can create a pompadour easily even if other parts are thinning. This look requires you to fade and taper the sides, leaving the length longer in the front to pull back and “pomp” up with mousse or hair spray.
You will use a blow-dry with a styling brush, holding your hair up and applying heat at the roots to give it volume. Run your fingers through to puff up and style the pieces accordingly.
10. Comb Over with Beard
What You Need: Comb, beard brush, barber shears, beard trimmer or electric shaver, optional styling product
We think beard looks compliment thinning hairstyles by drawing attention to a perfectly styled beard. However, facial hair can be faded up to a neat comb over with a fade. This look is accomplished by growing a slightly thick to full beard and then fading the sides up to a tapered comb over.
A hard part is created on the side and the longer lengths pulled to the side or slicked back. You can use pomade or mousse to give the hair more volume.
11. Slicked Back Comb Over
What You Need: Comb, electric shaver with #1 and #2 guards for sides, pomade, hairspray or gel to slick back
While the pompadour may also pull hair back, this look typically requires a styling product to keep hair in place, which is why it’s called the “slicked back” or “slick back.” This is a popular look that has maintained its popularity since the 1980s.
The slicked back comb over may have shorter or longer lengths with tapered or clean fade sides. Bolder looks have a higher fade that styles the long lengths straight back with a gel or pomade.
12. Deep Line Comb Over
What You Need: Experienced barber
The “deep line” or “hard part” comb over accentuates the straight part on the side by widening it slightly so it stands out even more.
Hair is typically tapered from the part so that your locks must be styled perfectly around it. This is why it’s best to see a barber to get this extremely professional and precise look.
13. Long Comb Over Undercut
What You Need: Comb, electric shaver with no guard or #1 guard, optional styling product such as wax, cream, or pomade
Like the pompadour and slick back, the undercut has very long pieces on top but with a clean neck and sides that are faded past the ear into a long taper that blends in with your top pieces.
Undercut looks typically have the longer pieces pushed straight back or slightly styled to the side. Hair looks and feels soft, making it easy to run your fingers through. We recommend using a styling cream or light wax to keep your hair in place but easily maneuverable.
14. Comb Over Faux Hawk
What You Need: Comb, electric shaver with #1 and #2 guards, wax
Faux hawks style the hair longer in the center, down to the crown of your head and possibly a little longer down the back.
The key is to use an electric shaver that cleanly removes hair from the neck, under the ear, and slightly above the ear. You can use a high fade or tapered fade, but it’s important to keep your faux hawk symmetrical.
Wax is a key element to keeping your faux hawk styled to the center, but you may not need a product if you prefer to keep it long and unruly, which is best for curly hair.
15. Comb Over Spiky Hair
What You Need: Comb, barber shears, blow dryer, mousse, gel, wax or styling cream
We strongly recommend asking a barber about this look if you’re uncomfortable with creating shorter, spiked locks in the front. These styles have longer sides that may be tapered around the ears and neck.
The part isn’t typically deep, which allows hair to be spiked with gel or styling cream in the front. The rest of the locks are swept to the side.
This look requires more volume styling on top, which is why a blow dryer with mousse can create length. Gel or wax can create the spiked lengths in the front.