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High and Tight Haircuts | 15 Sharp Cuts & Style Guide

The high and tight is a classic military haircut that has become a staple in barbershops all over the world. Interested in this style? Good. Below, we’ve made a comprehensive guide to the high and tight haircut.

What Is the Hight and Tight Hairstyle?

Image titled Hight and Tight Haircut on a blue background

The high and tight haircut consists of skin faded sides that blend into a small portion of hair on top. At its core, it’s basically a short crew cut.

It’s called the high and tight because of the appearance it creates. The only actual hair is quite narrow, so it’s high up on the head and “tight.” It’s also similar to the buzz cut in many ways.

Generally speaking, the hair on the sides will be shaved with a #0 guard, meaning the hair will be completely shaved off. The hair on top is usually shaved with a #2, #3, or #4 guard, which leaves about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch.

Read Next: Haircut Number Meanings

15 High and Tight Haircuts We Love

There are many variations of this style, so it’s important to know the basics. With that in mind, here’s our selection of 15 high and tight haircuts to give you some inspiration.

1. Classic High and Tight

Classic High and Tight haircut

bishops.sanjosedowntown on Instagram

Here is the standard high and tight that has become a go-to barbershop cut. The sides are completely skin faded, and the top has a narrow portion of short hair.

The top is on the longer side, so you can go even shorter if you want a more military-influenced high and tight look. This one is more of a “casual traditional” look.

2. High and Tight Flattop

High and Tight Flattop haircut

taytrodd on Instagram

Another extremely common variation is the high and tight flattop. While these are, technically speaking, two different styles, they’re often used together.

So much so that many people use “high and tight” to refer to the flattop version. The result is a high and tight that’s completely flat at the top, which enhances the “high and tight” look of the hair.

3. High and Tight Skin Fade

High and tight skin fade haircut

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If you want the spirit of the high and tight in a more relaxed package, you might opt for a high skin fade. This variation isn’t as concerned with the “tight” part.

So, while the sides are still high, there’s more hair on top. However, it still channels the original high and tight quite well, so this is sort of the updated version of the classic.

4. High and Tight Crop

High and Tight Crop Haircut

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Another more casual take on the high and tight, this high crop features neatly trimmed hair with a high blended skin fade. The crop makes sure that the top is tidy, and the even fade rounds out the look. It’s a simple but effective version on the typical high and tight.

5. Modern High and Tight

Modern High and Tight Haircut

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This style brings several contemporary elements to the high and tight. The hair is longer and more relaxed, but the sides still have that traditional high fade. Unlike a classic high and tight, the sides can be a little longer here. In other words, they don’t have to be faded all the way down to the skin.

6. Gradual Fade

Gradual fade high and tight haircut

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You can also change up the fade to get a different vibe. The extreme skin fade of the original evokes the military while this gradual mid fade is more reminiscent of an undercut. It still follows the general high and tight formula, but you get a more laid-back look.

7. High Bowl Crop

High an Tight Bowl Crop Haircut

seamusokeefe_ on Instagram

Here’s a high and tight variation that takes inspiration from the updated bowl cut. It has the same bowl-like line that encircles the head, but the high faded sides are what make this haircut resemble a high and tight. The result is a “cap” of hair that has a surprising amount of texture.

8. Mini Quiff

Mini Quiff High and Tight Haircut

themailroombarber on Instagram

If you like the shortness and overall look of the high and tight but want a little more style, you might want to go with a mini quiff. By having a little more hair in the front, you can form the quiff for an incredibly clean style. It’s still extremely low maintenance, but you have a little more flexibility with how your hair can look.

9. Brushed Back High and Tight

Brushed Back High and Tight Haircut

themailroombarber on Instagram

Here’s another styling option if you go with more length on top. You can brush the hair back for a casual vibe that gives you something similar to a quiff. However, this is a little less snazzy than a quiff. Still, it’s a presentable haircut that would work well even in formal situations.

10. High and Textured

Textured high and tight hairstyle

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Since the typical high and tight is so short, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for texture. Well, you can change that with this variation that’s much longer on top, allowing for the hair’s natural texture to shine. The sides are still kept neat and high as per usual, but the difference in length on top is massive.

11. High and Tight Buzz

High and Tight Buzzcut

seamusokeeffe_ on Instagram

This interesting style combines the look of a high and tight with the evenness of a buzz cut. It’s essentially a buzz cut that’s been turned into a high and tight.

The top is buzzed to one length, and the sides receive a high fade. This is about the same length as the original high and tight, but you get a different effect since the hair isn’t as tight on top.

12. High Side Part

High and tight with side part haircut

themailroombarber on Instagram

Another versatile variation, this unique style includes a hard part for that classic side part look. Since the hair still has roughly the same dimensions as the high and tight, you get all that neatness. The hair on top is a bit longer so that it can be parted to the side, but it retains the high and tight feel.

13. High and Loose

High and tight haircut named High and Loose on a guy with an earring

cellardoorhair on Instagram

Here’s an interesting twist that allows the hair on top to grow out on the sides a bit more. The fact that the top takes up more surface area makes this what we’re calling a “high and loose.” The sides still get a high skin fade, so it’s not a huge change from the original.

14. Long Fade

Long fade high and tight haircut

bishops.sanjosedowntown on Instagram

Is the high and tight too high for you? You can always lower the fade so that it happens further down. This hairstyle features a fade that begins at the temple instead of near the hairline, creating a different effect. The fade is also curved instead of straight, which adds some motion into the cut.

15. Extra Texture

Extra texture high and tight hairstyle

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If you can’t get enough texture, try a style that’s longer on top. This cut brushes the hair forward to bring out its natural texture while keeping the sides crisp and clean. This works best with wavy, curly, coiled, or kinky hair that is naturally quite textured.

Things To Consider

The high and tight is one of the simpler men’s hairstyles, but there are a few finer points you’ll want to keep in mind before choosing this style.

Think about your hair texture.

While the classic high and tight works with just about all hair types, your specific hair texture will provide a unique result. This can be good or bad. For example, if you have fine hair, a high and tight will eliminate any limpness.

On the other hand, if you have curly hair and want to show off the texture, a high and tight isn’t the best choice because it will remove the majority of that texture.

Consider the vibe.

The high and tight is a common military haircut, so most styles will have a strong military vibe to them. This may be a positive or a negative, depending on what you’re going for. Generally, the longer you go, the less military they’ll feel.

Think about “highness” vs. “tightness.”

Some of these styles are higher than they are tight and vice versa. Each of these elements gives you something different. The “high” part is basically the classic “short on sides, long on top” formula, while the “tight” part modifies the width of the hair on top. The narrower you go, the more dramatic the style will be.

Is the High and Tight Haircut for You?

There’s a reason the high and tight has always stayed in fashion. Like the side part and crew cut, it’s one of the most popular men’s hairstyles.

And it’s not going away anytime soon. If you’re after a short, low-maintenance style that’s versatile and presentable, the high and tight may be just what you need.

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