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Crew Cuts And Receding Hairlines: The Complete Guide

August 2, 2023
Crew Cuts And Receding Hairlines: The Complete Guide

It may be natural, but it’s no secret that certain styles just look better than others while going through the graceful process of balding. Crew cuts just happen to be one of them. 

You’re about to learn everything you need to know about crew cuts and receding hairlines. 

Why it works, what specific styles you can try out, and more. 

Let’s get to it.

Why Is A Crew Cut Good For Receding Hairlines? 

Crew cuts work so well for receding hairlines because of the contrast between the short, high, faded sides and the longer, scissor-cut hair on top. It often makes the receding hairline less obvious and also makes the hair on top appear thicker in comparison to the sides.

A classic crew cut consists of short, scissor-cut hair on top with even shorter, clipped hair at the sides. 

crew cut with glasses
Not much recession, but as you can see – the high sides and scissor cut hair on top provides great contrast

Image From Shutterstock

The sides are usually “faded”, meaning that they gradually increase in length from the bottom to the top. The seamless blending of lengths is what leads to the typical, “faded” appearance.  

The sides then gradually blend into the hair on top. With crew cuts, the way in which the hair on top is cut is crucially important. 

It’s tapered (i.e “graduates”) from front to back. In other words, the hair at the front is a little longer than the hair further back. This forms a small quiff or “pomp” at the front. 

But given the naturally curved shape of the head, this leads to the hair looking pretty much horizontal from a side profile. 

This is all great – but why is it important when it comes to receding hairlines and thinning hair? 

Let me break that down right now. 

The sides are short and the top is longer. Put simply, this leads to the thinning hair on top looking less thin in comparison. 

The sides are clipped short and brought up pretty high. This almost absorbs receding hairlines as the receding temples sort of merge with the buzzed down sides. The shorter the fade, the better the effect. Skin fades work best. 

For more information on crew cuts, check out this article

I’ve also written an article on why buzz cuts are good for receding hairlines as well if you wanted to compare. 

Now, let’s look at some fantastic crew cut styles. 

Great Crew Cut Styles For Receding Hairlines

Use these as a source of inspiration. 

Some of the men in the photos may not have good going receding hairlines, but the styles themselves would work well for receding hairlines for the reasons I outlined earlier. 

Short Crew Cut 

Short crew cuts work great for receding hairlines because they can make thinning hair appear less obvious. The scissor-cut hair on top will also still be long enough to provide some coverage of receding temples. 

example of a crew cut
Image From Deposit Photos

It’ll also be just about long enough to style. You won’t be able to do much with it, but a small quiff would probably be possible. 

Having these options is great for men with thinning hair on top. 

Although buzz cuts work great for thinning hair as well, having the hair short but not that short (like with a crew cut) has its benefits. 

Being able to style and texture the hair on top, even just a little, can make thin patches on top look less obvious. 

Messy Crew Cut

The longer the hair on top, the more “mess” you’ll be able to create with it. 

Image From Shutterstock

Don’t get me wrong – you won’t be able to get it that messy. Crew cuts are a short hairstyle. In fact, they’re generally considered to be a variation of the buzz cut. 

Short and relatively even haircuts like the crew cut are tough to build mess with because they simply aren’t long enough. 

If you are able to create a lot of mess and texture with your “crew cut”, it probably isn’t a crew cut, to begin with. 

But as you can see from the picture above, you can create a small amount of mess if you’ve got enough length on top to do so. 

Building a little bit of mess and texture is a good way to make thin hair appear a little thicker.

Crew Cut Fade

Although most crew cuts have faded sides, some fades will obviously be more noticeable and prominent than others. 

olive green shirt with white jeans
Image From DepositPhotos

In general, the higher up the fade is, and the shorter the fade is, the more obvious it’ll be. 

High fades are where the fade reaches around the level of the temple. In other words, the transition from the shortest length of the fade into longer lengths occurs high up the sides. 

This works great for receding hairlines because the fade is so high up that the receding temples look like they’re simply a part of the fade. 

It won’t completely hide receding temples, but it’ll make them look less noticeable because of this effect. 

Stylish Crew Cut 

This could either be called a crew cut with a high fade, or an undercut because of the sharp transition from the sides to the top. 

high crew cut example
Image From 123RF

Either way, it’s another great example of how having slightly longer hair on top combined with very short clipped down sides brought up high can work so well. 

It’s also incredibly easy to maintain. 

The hair is so short that minimal styling will be required. But it is long enough to style – that’s the beauty of it. 

Choosing The Right Crew Cut For A Receding Hairline

When choosing a crew cut for a receding hairline, you’ll need to consider how short you want the top to be, as well as what sort of fade you want at the sides. 

Remember, the top will be scissor-cut and taper gradually from front to back. You’ll need to let the barber know how much length to take off from the top. 

In general, when you’ve got thinning hair and a receding hairline, the shorter the better. It doesn’t need to be quite as short as a buzz cut, but having the hair shorter will generally make thin patches appear less obvious. 

In addition, it can make receding hairlines less obvious because there’s simply less contrast as you move from the forehead up to the forelock (hair above the forehead). 

The shorter the hair, the more pronounced this effect. 

It can be a frightening prospect – cutting the hair down very short in order to make thinning hair and receding hairlines less obvious. 

But a lot of men do find that it helps. It’s worth trying, even just once. 

Once you’ve figured out how short you want to go with it, you’ll need to let the barber know what you want to do with the sides. 

The sides will be faded – they’ll gradually increase in length from the bottom to the top. 

When deciding how short you want to go with it, consider your face shape. If you’ve got a rounder face shape, consider going very short at the sides as it’ll remove fullness and have a narrowing effect on the face and jawline. 

As I mentioned earlier, high fades that reach around the level of the temples are also useful because they make receding hairlines look less obvious, especially from a side profile. 

Overall, a high and very short fade (e.g high skin fade) would be the most useful for a receding hairline. 

If you aren’t sure what type of crew cut you want, it’s always worth asking your barber for some more specific suggestions. 

A good barber will be proactive in letting you know what they think would work well for you and your receding hairline. 

Crew Cuts, Receding Hairlines, And Beards

A crew cut with a receding hairline will often work well with a beard. 

The reason for this is that short hairstyles such as crew cuts can sometimes make a face look rounder or shorter than you may like. 

This is especially true when the hair on top is pretty thin, to begin with. 

The reason for this is that you won’t be able to do much with the hair on top. You can’t use it to add any real height with. 

Sure, with crew cuts you’ve got a bit of hair to work with. You could form a short quiff with it but not much else. 

You’ll probably still find that trimming your hair this short still makes it look rounder or shorter than it did before. 

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing by any means, but it may not have been what you were expecting. 

Growing a beard could be a relatively simple solution to this problem. 

The reason for this is that you can compensate for the lack of height on top of your head by elongating the face using a beard. 

The longer the beard, the more obvious this effect. 

In addition, a beard can be used to add definition to the jawline as well. 

If you’ve ever been tempted by the prospect of growing a beard, this could be the chance to do it. 

They compliment short hairstyles (like crew cuts) and receding hairlines/thinning hair very well. 


There you have it. Hopefully, everything you wanted to know about crew cuts and receding hairlines. 

Use this as a guide. You now know why it works, what styles you can go for, and more.