May 17, 2022
By: Brian Levandowski
The comb over has gotten a bad rap over the years, considered by many as a trick to hide a thinning scalp or a characteristic foible of a certain former U.S. president. But recently, fuelled by a '60s-inspired revival in classic men’s style (à la Mad Men), as well as celebs like Justin Timberlake and Cristiano Ronaldo sporting bold parts, the comb over—including its modern cousin the comb over taper—has reclaimed a top spot in trendy men’s hairstyles.
To better understand the comb over, forget what you think a comb over is and focus on what we’re about to show you. The comb over taper has been reinvented into a sleek, modern men’s hairstyle that flatters a variety of looks. And the best part? There are several distinct variations that allow you to tailor it to your own style and preference.
We sat down with two experts in all things hair—barber Hung Q. Nguyen and celebrity hairstylist Kristan Serafino—to unpack the various versions of the comb over taper and to find out how you can get the look at home.
MEET THE EXPERT
- Hung Q. Nguyen is the regional barber manager at Fellow Barber in New York City.
- Kristan Serafino is a celebrity hairstylist and men’s grooming authority. Her clients include Ryan Reynolds and Shawn Mendes.
What Exactly Is a Comb Over?
The comb over, also called a side part, is a haircut where the back and sides are cut short and the hair on top is longer and parted to one side. Where it gets interesting is the placement of the fade on the sides, which, Nguyen explains, depends on both the client’s preference as well as what best complements their head shape. The same goes for the part: Whether you part from the left or the right comes down to your hair growth pattern.
“The comb over is a timeless haircut that has not and will not go out of style,” Nguyen says. “There are many variations that will either make it edgier (fit for a night out on the town), or more conservative fit for a day at the office.” He also points out that the comb over fade is a practical option for guys who may be self-conscious about their hairline, as the recession actually lends itself to the natural flow of the haircut.