The Ultimate Guide to Mid-Length Slicked Back Hair

Mid-Length Slicked Back Hair

Mid-length slicked back hair is a timeless, versatile cut suitable for those clients who want to grow their out, look ready for the office or rock a grungier look. Recently, celebrities like Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt and Connor Gallagher have all rocked longer hair, so, MB asked the experts for a rundown on the popular mid-length, slicked back style.

Creating the Look

For best results, make sure the hair has enough length, specifically at the top of the head. “You need enough length through the top section and the fringe so that the hair can be swept back and will stay back,” Murdock London Master Barber Ben Vowles explains. “Personally, I would work through a vertical layer technique, keeping the overall shape squarer.”

Simultaneously, the sides need to be kept tight and sleek to achieve the full effect of the mid-length, slicked back hair, says Lea Shaw, owner of Rural Fringe Hair Salon: “The sides need to be finely sculpted using the clipper over comb technique. This will help style an even fade from the bottom to the top.” What’s more, Director of TONI&GUY Billericay Jim Shaw, says that focusing on the sides of the hair should be continued through to blow-drying: “Start by blow-drying the sides of the hair that are closest to the head for optimum sleekness.”

The pros make sure to emphasise the importance of combing the hair back down while blow-drying as this keeps it all in place. Charles Rose, Director of Crate Cheshire, recommends using a vent brush and gel, while Jim Shaw suggests a wide tooth comb and wax. Don’t forget to finish with hairspray for a clean and smooth result.

For textured hair, Ben Vowles suggests blow drying with a textured hair cream and then diffusing in, especially for a looser finish. However, for textured hair clients who want that slicked back appearance, the products used are vital for the outcome. Jim Shaw advises: “Use a good pomade that’s water soluble. You need a strong hold, but you also don’t want the pomade to dry out your client’s curls.”


The style may be appealing to clients who don’t want a high maintenance cut since their hair should be long to replicate the look! Charles Rose adds: “Clients should find it easy to maintain at home because the longer the hair is, the easier it will sit back.” However, the look is also ideal for keeping clients coming back as different attributes of the hair can be changed up from time to time. “In your appointments with your clients, you can discuss updating the look; whether it is adding layers to create texture or adding colour to freshen it up,” Jim Shaw adds.

Also, make sure your clients are not tempted to add too many products to control their long locks as they will become greasy quickly. Lea Shaw notes that her favourite product for the style is a pomade: “A lot of good quality pomades have high hold, but no shine. This is perfect for a look like this.” Instead of washing the hair too often (more than three times a week), dry shampoos are also suitable for clients getting this style as the hair is longer and this can assist in keeping it looking fresh, while adding texture too.

Want to know how to advise your clients on their hair washing routines? Click here.

Why Will You Find More Clients Asking for This Style?

The versatility of mid-length, slicked back hair is perhaps responsible for its popularity, Ben Vowles explains: “It can look quite cool and effortless when unstyled, but it can look really smart if it needs to be. I think most clients will try this at some point as it’s a great compromise between short and long hair.” The look’s adaptability stretches further than just how it will be styled; “This look is great as it works for most face shapes,” Jim Shaw summarises.

Make sure you know which hairstyles are best for your client’s face shape.

In addition, the pros have noticed that younger clients have been embracing this style which could be due to social media exposure and new trends. Charles Rose agrees: “I think men’s fashion has changed recently which affects the hair; men’s trousers have got baggier, and men’s hair has got more dishevelled. The younger clientele are seeing their idols with longer hair on social media, as well as seeing more men tying their hair up and wearing headbands. This exposure is allowing the younger generation to be more comfortable with trying these trends out – this is how it should be!”