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The Only Two Back-to-School Hairstyles You Need for Pandemic Living

As the end of summer slowly begins to creep in on us, so does the reality of heading back to school – or wherever else you find yourself professionally once the warm weather officially departs. Regardless, we’re heading into that inevitable time of year where you’re expected to present a more polished version of yourself, and taking care of your hair should be a top priority.

But with the pandemic far from over, and the lingering effects of quarantine style still in full force, you’re certainly not the only one that might be questioning what hairstyle to have right now. Due to endless months of lockdown fatigue and event cancellations (like fashion week), there’s been a noticeable lack of new or trendy hair looks to take inspiration from.

So, perhaps consider simply refreshing your current hair situation, whether you’ve grown it longer over the months or continued to keep it short. Taking a pared-back approach to anything style-related is – funnily enough – very much in vogue.

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What’s great about living in this era of anything-goes grooming is that there are countless hairstyles to consider. It’s just up to you to decide how much you’re willing to work and, for some, in keeping with what’s appropriate for whichever setting you find yourself in – for example, whether your educational institution or office has a strict dress code and hairstyle policy.

But considering the current moment, you can’t go wrong with these two tried and tested styles, both of which are versatile and suit all hair types, and chances are you’ve rocked at least one of these in the last 18 months. And now that barbershops and hair salons are open, you can get the look the way it was intended. Oh, and consider some options that’ll add a dash of personality if you dare. Here’s our choice of the two cuts to contemplate as you return from beachfront to the boardroom.

Buzz It Off

Pharrell rocking a buzzcut haircut.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the leading lockdown styles of choice – or more specifically, the result of closed barbershops making it the only option for many – the buzz cut has been around since long before modern-day quarantine as we know it, and can stand on its own. It’s probably the easiest style to maintain (like, ever) and it suits all hair types. In fact, you don’t even need much hair to begin with, making it perfect for those who are embracing the follicular loss that comes with aging. You’d be hard-pressed to find a school or work environment where this style isn’t acceptable. It’s breezy enough to soak up the last bit of summer sun while simultaneously readying you for back-to-school vibes by providing an equally sharp look. And the best part? With barbershops now open, you don’t have to do the hack job yourself.

Read more: How to Cut Your Hair at Home

Looking for inspiration?

Take a style cue from Jaden Smith, who’s rocked not only a platinum blond buzz cut on several occasions, but takes the look one step further by going even bolder, previously opting for buzz cuts in a hot pink and a neon green. Frank Ocean, Zayn Malik, and Evan Mock are fans, too.

Grow It Out

Man with long blonde and wavy hair at the beach.
Phillip Suddick/Getty Images

During the lockdown, there was buzzing it all off and then there was what some may consider the other end of the extreme: Letting your hair grow out. Though not as universally suitable or easy to achieve for everyone – sadly, genetics dictate whether you’re gifted with long-growing hair or not – there is some level of extra growth that can mix up and even elevate your look when done right.

What’s more essential here is how you maintain and take care of your hair as it grows. One downside is that you will go through some awkward hair phases before you reach that glorious mane we just know you can picture right now. But persevere and you’ll thank us later. And of course, now that it’s possible, we recommend working with a hairstylist to help you track your progress, advise on care and styling based on your hair type, and most importantly, be able to execute that fine balance between adequate growth versus getting a trim when needed to keep things fresh and healthy along the way. There’s no reason why, when well-kempt, a longer hairstyle can’t look refined.

Looking for inspiration?

The likes of Brad Pitt and Trevor Noah both reached hair god status while growing out their ’dos during the height of the pandemic. With proper upkeep, both stars have made major style statements with their longer locks. Now go out there and do the same.

Read more: Best Mid-Length Hairstyles for Men

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Bernd Fischer
Bernd Fischer is a freelance writer based in London covering style and grooming for The Manual. Before relocating to the…
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