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How to Slick Back Hair | Complete Step-by-Step Guide

It can be hard to find a hairstyle that looks stylish and sleek, but this simple style works for any situation. If you want to look cool and put together, you need to know how to slick back hair. Read on to learn more.


How to Slick Back Hair: A Summary

Image titled How to Slick Back Hair featuring a man in a wool overcoat with slicked back hair

Starting with clean hair, all you need to do is comb your hair along your natural part. This makes it more likely that your hair will stay slicked back all day because it won’t want to flop over the part in time. Follow these steps to get that cool, slick back look:

  1. Wash your hair
  2. Towel dry your hair
  3. Comb from the ends
  4. Let it sit
  5. Apply your product
  6. Comb straight back
  7. Use hair spray
  8. Train your hair to slick back

How to Slick Back Hair in 7 Easy Steps

You can slick back hair in seven easy steps. Make sure you have your favorite hair product and a wide-tooth comb ready to go, and you’re ready to make your hair look great.

Step 1: Wash Your Hair

The best way to style hair is if it’s clean. This means you won’t have to deal with yesterday’s product or grease. Shampoo and condition your hair as you normally do.

Read Next: How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Step 2: Towel Dry Your Hair

After your hair is clean, towel dry it. However, don’t get it completely dry because a little moisture will make it easier to style.

Step 3: Comb From the Ends

Start combing your damp hair from the ends. If you start at the root, it will pull your scalp. You can detangle at the ends and work your way up. By then, your hair will be smooth enough, and the comb won’t tug at your scalp.

Step 4: Let It Sit

When you’re done combing, don’t jump right into styling your hair. Let it sit for a few minutes while you shave, put on deodorant, or take care of other small tasks. This will give your hair a little time to air dry. As it dries, it will better stay the way you comb it.

Step 5: Apply Your Product

Different products work well to slick back hair. You might want to choose a paste or a gel, though there is also a blend of paste and gel that has a heavy hold while still keeping your hair shiny.

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Put a dime-sized portion of the product in your hand and then pat it on your hair. You don’t want to add volume to your roots, so don’t massage it in at first. Let it sit on your hair for about 15 seconds.

Once you let the product sit, you can run your hands through your hair. This should be a smooth process. If your fingers snag in your hair, run them under warm water and pat them on your hair. This will add enough moisture to help you distribute the product through all of your hair.

Step 6: Comb Straight Back

Use a wide-tooth comb to brush your hair straight back from your forehead. Your hair will follow your natural part, and it might fall to the side slightly. 

As you comb it into place, you also need to follow your part. Otherwise, with time, your hair will move from the style you try to put it in and flop over according to your part.

Step 7: Use Hair Spray

When your hair is in place, don’t touch it. If you keep touching it, the oil from your hands gets onto your hair. The oil breaks down the products that hold your hair in place and keep it shiny.

Instead, reach for the hair spray. This will keep your hair in place for hours. You can choose hair sprays that look matte or add shine. Some extra-strength holds will keep your style intact for 24 hours.

Hold the can about eight inches from your hair as you lightly cover the style with hair spray. It will dry and keep your hair in place without feeling sticky all day.

Read Next: Best Setting Spray

Step 8: Train Your Hair to Slick Back

To make slicking your hair back even easier, you can train your hair. It’s better to train longer hair, so if you can grow your hair to be four to more than six inches long, you’ll get the best results.

Comb back your damp hair and use a blow dryer focused on your hair roots to force them into position. As they dry, they’ll naturally stay combed back so you can use less product to keep the style in place.

You can also use a headband to keep your hair in place when you’re exercising or hanging out around the house. You don’t have to get one of those stylish headbands for wearing out. A simply stretchy one that holds your hair in place will be enough to train your hair.

You might need to go out but want to keep training your hair. Consider wearing a baseball cap to contain your hair while you’re in public. A cap will look more stylish than a headband. Comb your hair back and put the hat on firmly. When you take off the cap later, you’ll see that your hair stays combed back.

If you comb your hair back and blow dry it daily, even if you’re not styling your hair to go out in public, you can train your hair to hold this position. Using headbands and caps will help speed up the process. After you train your hair, it’ll be easier to slick back each morning.

Things to Consider

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Slicking back your hair is a simple process, but the style will look fantastic, whether you’re headed into the office or for a night out. Make sure you consider these tips to make the style work best for you.

  • Don’t get your hair too dry before you style it. If you need to style it between washings, you can wet it with water or use a conditioner rinse to get it damp.
  • Only style clean hair. If your hair is greasy or still has product in it, it’ll be harder to style. Having grease and product in your hair will make it flat, and the style won’t look the same.
  • Don’t use too much product. Start with a dime-sized portion in your palm and apply it with your fingers. Don’t squeeze it directly onto your hair, and don’t use more than a penny-sized amount.
  • Use a wide-tooth comb. Fine-tooth combs will pull your hair more, so while they’re effective at detangling your hair, they won’t give you the same look with slicked-back hair.
  • When you comb your hair, follow your natural part. If you try to comb against it, your hair will work its way back over time, messing up your style.
  • You can slick back your hair, whether it’s long or short, but hair that’s four to six inches long or above is best.
  • If you have thick hair, you might end up with a pompadour instead of a sleek slicked-back style. Ask your barber to thin your hair for this style.
  • For a shinier look, you can use gel. For a natural look, use matte pomade or hair wax.
  • Slicking back hair won’t damage your hair, but this style might make it more obvious if you have hair loss or a receding hairline.

So, How Do You Slick Back Hair?

Slicked back hair can look good whether your hair is long or short, curly or straight. To slick back hair, you don’t need to do a lot of work. As soon as you get out of the shower, towel dry your hair and comb it following your natural part.

You only need a dime-sized amount of hair product to help keep it combed back from your forehead. Consider adding some hair spray to keep your look strong all day long. 

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