Slicked Back Hair: Timeless Style, Modern Edge

Slicked back hair – it’s the style that never goes out of fashion. From the dapper gents of the 1920s to today’s red carpet icons, this timeless ‘do has been turning heads for decades. But what is it about slicked back hair that makes it so damn cool?

Is it the way it oozes confidence and sophistication? The fact that it works for any hair type, from fine and straight to thick and wavy? Or maybe it’s because slicked back hair is like the leather jacket of hairstyles – effortlessly cool, with just the right amount of edge.

Well, I’m here to let you in on a little secret: rocking slicked back hair isn’t just for the Hollywood elite. With the right products, techniques, and a dash of swagger, anyone can pull off this classic look. So, whether you’re suiting up for a big meeting or just want to add some extra polish to your everyday style, it’s time to grab your comb and some pomade. Let’s dive into the world of slicked back hair.

Table Of Contents:

What Is Slicked-Back Hair?

Slicked-back hair is a classic, timeless look that’s been around for decades. It’s a sleek, polished style that never goes out of fashion.

History of the Slicked-Back Hairstyle

The slicked-back hairstyle has been a popular choice for men since the early 20th century. It really took off in the 1920s and 1930s, especially among Hollywood actors and gangsters who loved that smooth, put-together vibe. Over the years, the style has evolved but it’s still a go-to for anyone wanting a sophisticated, versatile look. Whether you’re going for a classic slick or adding a contemporary twist, this hairstyle is always on-trend.

Celebrities Who Rock the Slicked-Back Look

From old-school Hollywood icons to modern-day heartthrobs, countless celebrities have embraced the slicked-back hairstyle. Think Cary Grant, Clark Gable, David Beckham, Leonardo DiCaprio… the list goes on. Even women like Margot Robbie have gotten in on the action, proving that this look works for any hair length or texture. These stars show us how to adapt the style for red carpet glam or casual cool.

How to Style Slicked-Back Hair

Ready to try out the slicked-back look for yourself? Here’s a step-by-step guide to nailing this hairstyle at home.

Preparing Your Hair

Start with freshly washed, towel-dried hair. If your hair is on the thicker side, apply a small amount of hair oil or serum to tame any frizz and add shine. Use a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle, working from the ends up to the roots. This will prevent breakage and keep your hair looking healthy.

Applying Product

The key to the perfect slicked-back hairstyle is using the right product. For fine or thin hair, a lightweight gel or pomade will give you hold without weighing your hair down. If you’ve got thicker hair, opt for a stronger hold product like wax or clay. Work a small amount evenly through your damp hair, focusing on the roots.

Blow Drying and Styling

Now it’s time to break out the blow dryer. On a medium to high heat setting, direct your hair backwards as you dry. Use a vented brush or round brush to smooth your hair and create that sleek, polished finish. For extra volume at the roots, use the brush to lift your hair slightly as you dry. Once your hair is completely dry, grab a fine-tooth comb and style your hair into place. Create a neat, slicked-back look by combing your hair straight back from your forehead.

Finishing Touches

To lock in your style and tame any flyaways, finish with a light mist of hairspray. For a high-shine look, you can also apply a small amount of serum or pomade to the ends of your hair. And there you have it – the perfect slicked-back hairstyle. With a little practice and the right products, you’ll be rocking this classic look in no time.

Best Products for Slicked-Back Hair

Having the right tools makes all the difference when you’re attempting a slicked-back style. Here are some of the best products to help you achieve that sleek, polished look.


Hair gels are a popular choice for slicked-back hairstyles because they provide strong hold and a wet, glossy finish. Look for a gel with a medium to strong hold, depending on your hair type. Some of my favorite gels for this look are the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Clean Gel and the American Crew Firm Hold Styling Gel. They give you that classic slick without making your hair feel crunchy or stiff.


Pomades are another great option for creating slicked-back styles. They offer a more pliable hold and a subtle shine, so your hair still has some movement. If you prefer a natural finish, go for a water-based pomade like the Suavecito Pomade Original Hold. For a stronger hold and higher shine, try an oil-based pomade like the Layrite Original Pomade.


If you’ve got dry or coarse hair, styling creams are a great way to get that slicked-back look without any stiffness or crunch. They provide moisture and control while still giving you a natural, matte finish. I’m a big fan of the Bumble and Bumble Grooming Creme and the Aveda Men Pure-Formance Grooming Cream. They make styling a breeze and leave your hair looking healthy and touchable.


No slicked-back hairstyle is complete without a good hairspray to lock everything in place. The key is finding one that provides strong, long-lasting hold without making your hair feel sticky or stiff. My go-to hairsprays for this look are the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray and the Tresemmé TRES Two Extra Hold Hair Spray. A light mist is all you need to keep your style in check from morning to night.

Key Takeaway: 

Slicked-back hair is a timeless, versatile style that anyone can rock. With the right products and techniques, you can easily achieve this sleek look at home. Whether you’re going for classic glamour or modern edge, slicked-back hair adds sophistication to any outfit.

Slicked-Back Hairstyles for Different Hair Types

Slicked-back hair isn’t just for guys with straight, fine locks. Trust me, I’ve seen this classic style work on a range of hair types and lengths.

Short Hair

Got short hair? No problem. Achieving a slicked-back look is a breeze. Just apply a small amount of gel or pomade to damp hair, use a comb to distribute the product evenly, and direct the hair backwards. A blow dryer on low heat can help set the style, then finish with a light mist of hairspray for added hold.

Medium-Length Hair

Medium-length hair opens up even more possibilities for slicked-back styles. You can go for the classic, fully slicked-back look or mix it up with some volume at the roots. Pomade or cream will be your best friend here. Use a round brush while blow-drying to add body and movement.

Long Hair

Long hair and slicked-back styles? A match made in heaven. The key is to apply a generous amount of gel or pomade to damp hair, using a comb to distribute it from root to tip. Blow dry and brush the hair back for a sleek, polished finish. Don’t forget the strong-hold hairspray to keep everything in place.

Curly and Wavy Hair

Curly and wavy-haired folks, listen up. You too can rock a slicked-back hairstyle. The secret? Finding a product that provides control without weighing down your natural texture. A strong-hold gel or matte pomade can help tame curls and waves, letting you create a sleek, slicked-back look. Bonus points if you have black hair – the contrast of textures is stunning.

Thinning Hair

Thinning hair, meet your new best friend: the slicked-back style. By using a lightweight, volumizing product like mousse or thickening spray before styling, you can create the illusion of fuller, thicker hair. A small amount of pomade or wax, applied with your fingers, can help distribute the product evenly and create a slicked-back look that helps conceal any sparse areas.

Tips for Maintaining Slicked-Back Hair

So, you’ve mastered the slicked-back hairstyle. Congrats. Now, let’s talk about keeping that sleek, polished look going strong.

Regular Trims

First up, regular trims. I know, I know – it’s tempting to skip those appointments. But trust me, keeping your hair trimmed every 4-6 weeks will work wonders for maintaining the shape of your slicked-back style. No split ends or straggly bits here, thank you very much.

Deep Conditioning

Next, let’s talk deep conditioning. Slicked-back styles can be tough on your hair, what with all the heat styling and product use. To keep your locks healthy and hydrated, treat them to a deep conditioning hair mask once a week. Look for masks packed with nourishing ingredients like argan oil, shea butter, and keratin. Your hair will thank you.

Protecting Your Hair

Heat styling is often a necessary evil when it comes to slicked-back styles. But that doesn’t mean you can’t protect your hair from damage. Always, always, always use a heat protectant spray before breaking out the blow dryer or flat iron. This will help shield your strands from the harsh effects of heat styling.

Touching Up Throughout the Day

Let’s be real – even the most perfectly styled slicked-back hair can fall victim to flyaways and frizz as the day goes on. The solution? Keep a small comb and a travel-sized container of your go-to styling product on hand for touch-ups. A quick comb-through and a dab of product can revive your style in seconds. And don’t be afraid to use your fingers to smooth down any rogue hairs – sometimes, a hands-on approach is all you need.

Key Takeaway: 

Slicked-back hair suits everyone, no matter your hair type or length. Use the right products and techniques for a polished look that lasts all day. Don’t forget regular trims and deep conditioning to keep your hair healthy and sleek.


So there you have it – the lowdown on slicked back hair. We’ve covered everything from the style’s rich history to the best products and techniques for achieving that perfect, polished look.

Remember, the key to nailing slicked back hair is all in the prep work. Start with damp, towel-dried hair, apply your product evenly, and use a comb or brush to distribute it from root to tip. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different products and styling methods until you find what works best for your hair type and desired level of hold.

But above all else, wear your slicked back hair with confidence. Because when you step out into the world with that sleek, shiny ‘do, you’re not just rocking a hairstyle – you’re channeling decades of effortless cool. So go ahead, slick it back, and let your style do the talking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *