Side Parting

Made popular by the vintage style of Downton Abbey and Mad Men and spotted on celebrities from Gary Barlow to Ryan Gosling, a classic side part hairstyle has come back into fashion in a big way. A side part can be achieved with even only a bit of length on the top. Neat, tidy, and well-groomed, side parting hearkens back to a more polite era and can make any man look instantly dapper. Although this look went out of fashion in the 1960’s and 1970’s, it has come back with a vengeance as many men embrace the old-fashioned look. A side part is simple yet sophisticated, and is very easy to achieve either at home or in the barbershop. Hair can be slicked to one side for a more controlled and disciplined style; or it can be left looser for a more casual appearance.

Getting the Look

It doesn’t take much more than the right hair styling product and a comb to get a basic side part. To create a side part, hold the tip of a comb down towards the scalp. This should be positioned either a couple of inches to the left or right of the imaginary centre line running down your head. With the tip held down, draw the part in a straight line down the back of your head. To create a more polished side part, blow dry hair in the direction you prefer, combing hair at the same time.

Wax or pomade can be added to hair as it dries to hold it in place. Glossy pomade will give you a slick and shiny vintage look, while you can choose a moulding cream for a matte finish. When the products have been distributed evenly throughout hair, you can then comb it over far to the side of your choice, creating a neat and even part. Pull the rest of your hair in the direction of preference. This will vary depending on the length and texture of hair. Some look better with a diagonal direction to offset the side part, while others will pull hair straight back or down to the other side.

Styling Tips for Side Parting

  • The types of cuts most conducive to a side parted style are those which are cut short at the sides and longer on top. This allows you to part it on either side or even slick hair back when it’s not side parted.
  • For a 1960’s look, it’s easiest to work with hair that’s thick and left fairly long on top. Mousse can be used to create volume before blow drying hair. As you blow dry, run fingers through the hair’s length and push it to the side of the part before letting it fall back over. Wax and gloss will finish off this retro style.
  • For a more modern take on the side part, the side hair can be cut quite short to contrast with the longer hair on top. This can create a striking contrast which comes out when hair is styled in a severe side part.
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