Buzz cuts are an extremely popular style at the moment. The modern man tends to prioritize efficiency when it comes to grooming and it doesn’t get much more efficient than a buzz cut. However, here’s a common question I get asked; is a buzz cut professional?
To determine whether a buzz cut is professional, it’s important to consider the type and style of buzz cut you want to go for. It’s also necessary to take into account your profession and its defined dress code (if any).
Overall, buzz cuts are so versatile that they’re generally considered acceptable in most workplaces. But ultimately, each case is different.
That’s the answer in a nutshell, but it’s definitely worth delving deeper into the topic.
There are factors specific to you that you’ll need to consider before coming to your own conclusion. The aim of this article is to guide you in making that conclusion.
We’ll talk through the factors you need to think about in more detail, before going through some great examples of buzz cuts which in most circumstances would be considered “professional”.
If you were interested in trimming your own buzz cut, this article lists my favorite buzz cut trimming and grooming products of the year.
Without further ado, let’s dig into this topic.
Is A Buzz Cut Professional Or Not?
The professionalism of hairstyles, or any fashion statement for that matter, is dependent on more than one variable. Here are a couple of important factors to bear in mind.
1. The Style Of Buzz Cut
A common misconception is that a buzz cut is a specific style. In fact, a “buzz cut” refers to a wide range of styles that share some common features.
Sure, they’re all generally short and trimmed down using a hair clipper. But there’s a lot more to it.
The length, evenness and distribution of the hair can vary significantly when it comes to buzz cuts. This will all play a role in determining how professional you may or may not think the style is.
You’ve got Induction Cuts, for instance, which are the most straightforward and simple variations of the buzz cut. All of the hair is simply trimmed down to the same, equal length all over.
The length can obviously vary, from a zero grade to a Number 8 and beyond. But overall, Induction Cuts are so clinical and can have such a distinct military aesthetic that it’s hard to make them look unprofessional.
You’ve also got Burr Cuts which are similar to Induction Cuts, but the sides are very slightly shorter (by a few millimeters) than the top. The subtlety of this variation is great because having the sides tapered and tight allows the buzz cut to grow out in a more natural manner.
At the same time, it still retains the rigid, professional tidiness of an Induction Cut.
And then you’ve got Crew Cuts. A Crew Cut is defined by the hair on top being significantly longer than that of the sides which are buzzed down short. The traditional Crew Cut gets gradually longer on top as it approaches the frontal hairline. It forms a nice little pompadour.
But there are many sub-variations of Crew Cuts. For example, the “Ivy League” which is simply a long Crew Cut.
The Crew Cut range of styles allows for the most scope when it comes to experimentation and styling. This can obviously lead to a gray area when it comes to professionalism.
For example, a corporate workplace with their notoriously strict dress codes may not take kindly to a long Crew Cut with a high fade. They might prefer something a little less showy.
In summary, most buzz cuts styles you’ll come across would most likely seamlessly fit into almost any workplace. They’re versatility is quite remarkable. However, some discretion is necessary when analyzing the more attention-grabbing Crew Cut variations.
2. The Workplace
It’s no secret that certain workplaces have a stricter dress code than others. That’s a key reason why the question of whether buzz cuts are professional isn’t as simple as it may seem at first.
I’ve mentioned corporate workplaces already. They may prioritize a straightforward, smart, rigid approach in their dress code, which is why a standard Induction Cut might be more appropriate than a fancy faded cut, for instance.
But again, most buzz cuts would be fine.
The military, for instance, makes buzz cuts mandatory. This is because it’s simple, clinical, and not distracting. Trimming it all down also encourages unity among the soldiers.
It also makes sense from a safety and hygiene perspective, as protective gear is much more likely to fit properly.
For the same reason, emergency services would also be very happy with most buzz cuts, as helmets and masks are more likely to do their job.
As you can see, the more straightforward and simple buzz cuts are incredibly versatile and almost universally considered professional.
But the more bells and whistles a hairstyle has, the more likely it is to work against you in a stricter job interview.
So, you may need to think twice about buzz cuts with the more glamorous fades and lines, for instance.
The simpler the cut is, the more likely it is to be perceived as professional.
4 Great Examples Of Professional Buzz Cut Styles
Seeing it first hand is often easier than reading about it. Now that you’ve learned the theory, this is going to be so much more fruitful. Here are examples of this glorious style for your inspiration.
When looking through them, think about what we talked about earlier and decide for yourself whether you think it would be appropriate in your specific workplace.
1. Induction Cut With A Goatee
As you can see, the style doesn’t draw a whole lot of attention to itself. It’s subtle, it’s sleek, and it’s elegant.
When paired with a formal coat and an important looking phone call, boy can it look professional.
You can also see how a simple, straightforward Induction Cut doesn’t need to look bland. It can actually look very stylish when done well.
The goatee is a nice touch. Buzz cuts go very well with goatees. The hair on the chin can elongate the face which may otherwise look quite round with such short hair on the scalp.
That’s just something to bear in mind.
2. A Simple Crew Cut
I don’t want you to leave this article with the impression that Crew Cuts can’t look professional. This is far from the truth.
My point was simply that the type of Crew Cut you choose does play a role.
Remember, the simpler the style, the more likely it is to be viewed as “professional”. A simple Crew Cut can look not only professional, but also incredibly stylish.
Crew Cuts aren’t as easy to trim or maintain as Induction Cuts are. They’re not exactly DIY-friendly and will generally need some professional input. But this probably doesn’t matter to you if this is the style you’re drawn toward.
The Crew Cut in the picture above does have a fade but manages to make it look quite subtle. It does look professional, in my personal opinion. Of course, this may be up for debate and would be partially dependent on the specific workplace.
3. Buzz Cut With Stubble
“How could stubble ever look professional?” I hear you scream in disbelief.
It needs to be sculpted; trimmed to an even length with the borders well-defined. “Designer stubble” as it used to be called, can look fantastic when nurtured appropriately.
Even the military allows for stubble, as it poses no threat to safety beneath ¼ inch of length. Beyond that, however, and you start to have trouble with protective gear fitting.
So, if a discipline as strict as that of the military is happy with both buzz cuts (either the “high and tight” or the Induction Cut) as well as neatly groomed stubble, surely it can be considered “professional” enough for most workplaces?
Be careful though. It can be tempting to let stubble slip and become untidy. It’s very easy to do. But the danger here is that it can switch from an intentional looking beard to an accidental looking one.
Accidental beards are never considered professional.
4. A Gentle Low Fade
Yes, buzz cuts do go great with glasses. It adds a touch of sophistication and elegance to what may otherwise be a fairly straightforward look. But that’s not we’re talking about here.
Here, we’re focusing on the fade. A fade is the gradual increase in length of hair as you go from bottom to top. It’s typically seen at the sides and back, and has become extremely popular in recent years.
Not just with young men either – it’s hopped over into many different demographics.
The fade can be low (ending around the top of the sideburn), high (around the temples) or mid (in between the two above).
The picture above is of an Induction Cut with a low fade.
I included the picture to show how a subtle low fade can still look professional when done well. It looks neat, it looks sleek, and it looks subtle.
The borders of the frontal hairline also look well sculpted. The hair looks tidy and evenly trimmed. There is no reason why this faded style wouldn’t be considered “professional” in most workplaces.
It’s definitely one to consider.
Key Benefits Of Buzz Cuts For Professionals
We’ve talked quite a lot about how other people may perceive your buzz cut. But grooming should predominantly be about what a style can do for you.
Here are a couple of key benefits of trimming a buzz cut for the professional man.
1. It’s Comfortable And Not Distracting
This is more important in some workplaces more than others. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see whether it applies to you.
Buzz cuts are comfortable to wear. They’re great because once they’re trimmed and styled, you can pretty much leave them alone the whole day without worrying about it getting messed up or untidy.
Longer hairstyles may need a little more TLC, even at work. It can be distracting to wonder what your hair might look like, or even to skip off to the bathroom to see for yourself.
A buzz cut removes this frustration. When hair is that short, it’s hard to make it look untidy. It’s very easy to keep it looking neat.
In certain professions such as the emergency services or the military, having comfortable, tidy, and non-distracting hair is important for safety reasons as well.
2. Morning Grooming Is Quick
There isn’t a huge amount to say about this grooming fact. It’s just important to bear in mind.
To put it simply, buzz cuts generally do not take up much of your time. Once again, this is true of most Induction Cuts and Burr Cuts. But all buzz cuts are generally easy and quick to look after.
When you’re in a rush for work, what better way to start the day than with a minimal hair grooming requirement. With short, simple buzz cuts, even rolling out of bed and turning up to work would still look tidy.
Washing and drying in the morning would again be a lot more efficient with less hair. Buzz cuts lend themselves very well to a busy man’s schedule. They really don’t take up a lot of time or effort to maintain.
There you have it – a pretty detailed analysis of this broad topic. To conclude, yes, buzz cuts do often look professional.
However, there are so many different types of buzz cut available to choose from that it’s important to take each one into consideration on a case-by-case basis.
Consider this a guide to helping you do that.