Top 12 Crew Cut Hairstyles & Trend Guide (2024)


Best Hairstyles for Men

The classic crew cut haircut is one of the timeless haircuts for men that’s simple to style. No matter your face shape, the various ways to cut and style this look make it a brilliant choice for everyday life.

The top 10 crew cut hairstyles include looks with short hair, typically characterized by a taper fade on the sides and back, with longer hair up top. The hair at the top may be faded from front to back, and a high sideburn may be preferred for a more traditional look.

We provide step-by-step guidance on how to get and customize a crew cut style perfect for your face shape. Below, we also have various short crew cut styles to help inspire you.

How to Ask for a Crew Cut

Ask for a short haircut on top between ½ and 2 inches long with tapered edges behind the ears and neck. Additionally, you can ask for a style modification to include a low, medium, or high fade for extra dimension.

  • Short sides with an optional fade taper, #0 to #2
  • Short hair in the back with a clean fade to a taper, #0 to #2
  • Gradual fade up from #2 to #4, keeping length on top
  • Hair on top may be clipped short or kept long for further styling

This cut is one of the more convenient hairstyles for men. You only need an electric clipper with guards to taper and fade the sides. The look has also become popular for the US Army, who started sporting this look in the 1930s.

The latest trend for this style may include even longer hair on top or a clean skin fade haircut from the ears to around the back. This is the perfect look to manage and change on the fly, depending on the unique style you want.

1. Classic, Number 4 Crew Cut

Jake Gyllenhaal classic crew cut
Jake Gyllenhaal with a classic number 4 crew cut. See him with more Beard Styles.

2. Crew Cut Fade

Crew Cut with High Fade
It’s a slick crew cut with a high fade haircut.

3. Crew Cut Taper

Ryan Reynolds side part crew cut with taper.
Ryan Reynolds has a perfect side part and taper haircut.

4. Crew Cut Taper Fade

Taper down with a #2 and then #1 to taper the uniform hair length. Then, the fade starts with no guard around the ear and around the back.

Textured Crew Cut with a Taper Fade
Textured crew cut and fade. See more taper fade haircuts.

5. Short Crew Cut

Justin Timberlake short crew cut style plus a beard.
Justin Timberlake’s short crew cut with a beard.

6. Military Crew Cut

Colton Haynes military crew cut
Colton Haynes’s military style crew.

7. Messy Crew Cut

Johnny Depp with a long and messy crew cut.
Johnny Depp with a messy crew cut.

8. Long Crew Cut

Zac Efron long hair crew cut.
Zac Efron – longer hair crew cut.

9. Crew Cut Spikes

Tom Hardy crew cut with fade
Tom Hardy spikey style: See all his hairstyles

10. Crew Cut Quiff

Crew cut with a quiff.
Crew cut – slightly pulled forward into a quiff.

11. Slicked Back Crew Cut

Brad Pitt Crew Cut and short mustache and chin beard
Brad Pitt’s crew is slicked back.

12. Ivy League Crew Cut

Old School Ivy League Crew Cut Look
Timeless High and Tight Ivy League Crew Cut.

Alternatively, the sides can be a uniform #2 with a longer #4 or higher to keep the length. You may decide not to buzz down the top, allowing you to create a pompadour or side parted look.

Crew Cut vs Buzz Cut

Crew cuts often get confused with a military style buzz cut or half buzz cut since the sides and back of the head are typically buzzed to a uniform length and then faded to longer hair on top.

While longer hair is allowed up top for a crew cut, buzz cuts typically reduce all hair to a uniform length that’s quite short.

Chris Evans classic crew cut
Chris Evans crew cut

This uniform haircut typically uses a guard at #1, #2, or #3, but military buzz cuts are the shortest. However, the buzz cut may not be the best look for your face shape. It shows bumps, lumps, and all the curves of your head.

Chris Evans buzz crew cut
Chris Evans’ buzz cut is shorter than the crew cut.

Buzz cuts are typically shorter than most hairstyles and may be a good option for men with thinning hair, so bald spots don’t stand out.

We show you how to get the perfect crew cut below.

How to Cut a Crew Cut?

If you have decided to go with the crew cut, you’ll need a few tools to maintain this look, but it can grow out slightly and still look stylish.

You also don’t need much to style this look in the morning, so it’s perfect for those who want to shower and run their fingers through to style.

Crew Cut with High Fade
Crew Cut with High Bald Fade

Here’s our guide to shaving and styling your hair for the crew cut look.

Tools needed to style a crew cut

  • High-quality clippers
  • Guard set with small grades from #1 to #4
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Handheld mirror (to cut back or ask a friend to help)
  • Trimming shears

Before cutting this look, see our examples above and ensure to buzz your hair accurately so you can still fade into your longer length. You may want to look at an undercut hairstyle if you cut your hair too short with clippers. However, we’ll guide you through each step so you can achieve the exact crew cut you want.

1. Start with the Sides and Back

The beginning of this look starts with your electric clippers and a guard of #1 or #2, depending on how short you want the sides and back. We suggest starting with a #2 and then going down to a #1 if you decide to fade the bottom.

Work the clippers from the bottom upwards, starting on one side underneath your ear and then moving to the other ear. Do the back last. You should stop buzzing at the mid-to-top of your ear, depending on how high you want to fade.

It’s important to cut your hair in the opposite direction of hair growth, especially if you have fine hair. If you’re not sure, just be careful as you buzz so as not to pull on your hair and cause irritation.

2. Fade Hair and Taper the Back

If you started with a #2 and buzzed the sides and back at a uniform length, then use a #1 to fade the very bottom to give this a neater look. You can also use no guard for a clean fade, but be careful not to buzz too far up.

3. Fade to Short or Long Length Hair on Top

At this point, you should study your hair and decide if you want to go with a shorter hairstyle on top or if you want to keep your hair a bit longer.

You may want to shorten the length a bit, and you can use your clippers using larger guides (purchased separately) or with barber shears.

Using a #3, lightly fade the sides and back up to the top, leaving hair longer in the back at the crown to the front.

4. Create a Smoother Fade

You can clean up your crew cut fade at this point using a guard size in between the one used for the top length and the sides/back. You may also want to use trimming shears instead. This is a difficult skill to master, so take it slow and ensure that your sides match in length.

The top is the most crucial part of this look, so as long as you have shorter sides with a longer top, you can style it using hair products like:

  • pomade
  • texturing spray
  • gel
  • beeswax

If you notice some mistakes, take the shears and trim away the line of uneven hair until smooth.


What is the crew cut haircut?

The “Crew Cut” is a simple but refined men’s hairstyle that’s timeless. It’s a short tapered hairstyle, often called the #4 Haircut, originating from college rowing teams. The short crew haircut boasts a clean look that emanates confidence and style. Working well with thin or thick hair, this haircut pairs well with fades or may be transformed easily into a brush cut.

What is a number 4 haircut?

A “Number 4 Haircut” is the easiest way to ask for this short haircut. The #4 guard is the most popular crew length and will leave 1/2 an inch of hair length. Since the crew cut is much shorter than a typical haircut a crew rowing team wears, the sides and back are kept the shortest.

How do I ask my barber for a crew cut?

To request a crew cut from your barber, specify the desired clipper settings: ask for a #1 on the sides and back and a #3 on top. This will ensure the sides are tight with slightly more length on top for styling.

What’s the difference between a crew cut and a flat top?

While both are short, a flattop stands up and is cut flat on top, creating a square shape, whereas a crew cut has varying lengths with shorter sides and back.

What’s the difference between a crew cut and a buzz cut?

The buzz cut is uniformly short across the head. In contrast, a crew cut features styled, blended sides with a longer top, creating a more distinct profile.

Is crew cut high maintenance?

The crew cut is a low-maintenance, practical hairstyle ideal for students and professionals, offering a clean and sharp appearance.

Photo of author


I'm the founder of Bald & Beards, an amateur barber and I've been obsessed with men's grooming, styles, and trends for over 20 years.