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7 Ways To Stop Your Hair Standing Up When Cut Short

March 31, 2023
7 Ways To Stop Your Hair Standing Up When Cut Short

Many short hairstyles like crew cuts and faux-hawks are very popular with men thanks to how sleek and easy to maintain they are. But it can be frustrating when it won’t play ball at first. So, how do you stop your hair from standing up when cut short?

You can use stiff-hold products, tools, accessories, or treatments such as down perms to stop short hair from standing up when cut short. A different short hairstyle may also be worth considering.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about taming those stubborn hairs. 

Why Does Short Hair Stick Up?

Short hair sticks up due to the lack of weight and length. The short strands stand up without the weight of longer hair and create a spiky or frizzy appearance. Additionally, hair texture and thickness can contribute to hair standing up when cut short.

Styling techniques can also play a role.

Using the wrong product or styling tools can cause hair to become too stiff or sticky, which can lead to short hair standing up when you don’t want it to.

Let’s go through 7 solutions.

7 Ways To Stop Hair From Standing Up When Cut Short

Growing your hair out so it lays flat may be the easiest solution, but it is not for everyone; some men love it short. Consider these five strategies: 

1. Use A Stiff Hold Styling Product

If you’re OK with styling products in general, using one with a stiff hold like a gel or water-based pomade would definitely be worth trying. 

The reason these products may be more effective than a wax, oil-based pomade, or paste, for instance, is that they dry stiff. 

It may not be for everyone, but if you’re looking for a way to make short hair lie flat and stay flat, this may be a good option. 

Although hair gel may not be everyone’s favorite due to its sometimes crunchy and flaky hold, when used in moderation, it can provide just enough weight to keep short hair lying flat. 

If you have fine hair, a light gel should be more than enough to weigh your hair down. These gels will also give fine hair more texture. 

The main risk is using too much, as the shine that gel produces can sometimes reveal too much of the scalp when you’ve got short hair. 

But washing and drying the hair beforehand should reduce this risk, as there will be less grease and oil to add to the shin. 

If you’re looking for a slightly more “mature” looking hold with less chance of flaking and crunching, a water-based pomade may be a better option. 

They give you the same stiff hold and the same confidence that short hair will stay in place once you’ve applied it. 

Just like gels, water-based pomades wash out very easily as well. This is a win for men who want to ensure they get all the product out of their hair before they sleep. 

Because the hold you get with gel and water-based pomade is stiff and not pliable, you won’t be able to restyle the hair throughout the day without applying a little dampness (eg. through wet combing). 

But that’s actually often seen as a benefit in these instances. When you’ve got stubborn short hair strands that stick up and aren’t playing ball, using a product that dries stiff is often a plus. 

Men with fine, short hair may struggle with these products due to the shine showing too much scalp. But using them in moderation usually removes some of this risk. 

If you’re really struggling with this, using a hair clay may be a better option. Although it doesn’t dry stiff like a gel or water-based pomade would, it’s a heavy product with low shine and high hold. 

It should provide enough weight to keep short hair laying flat without producing too much shine. Men with thin or fine hair would also benefit from its ability to plump up the hair and make it look fuller in general. 

2. Use a Flat Iron 

Use some caution here. Excess heat can damage hair, so moderate-frequency straightening is usually a safer way to go. 

But sometimes, all you need to make standing hairs lay down is the addition of a little heat. If your hair has enough length to close a flat iron around it, you can use one to make that hair lay flat. 

The controlled heat of a flat iron will force your short hair to lie down instead of sticking up.

To use a flat iron correctly on short hairs standing up, wait until you have washed your hair and let it air dry. 

Once your hair is completely dry, use a heat-protectant spray. Close the flat iron around the stubborn hair and slowly pull it down. 

It is also a good idea to finish with hairspray just to make sure your hair stays down, but this step is optional. Never attempt this technique with a hairdryer, as it is more likely to make your hair frizzy and even harder to work with. 

3. Lay It Flay With Accessories 

This may not sound ideal, but the pressure from headwear like hats after wearing them for 20-30 minutes may be a great way to keep your hair flat for extended periods of time. 

If you aren’t in a hurry, you might be able to force any short hairs standing up to lay down by wearing one for a short period before heading out. 

Hats like beanies or baseball caps will cover most of your head, but be mindful of how often and how long you wear one. 

Not for too long and not too tight – traction is never good for hair. 

You might also be able to use bandanas or headbands to cover stubborn standing hairs or force them to lie down for a while. 

A bit of pressure (but not too much) can go a long way. 

Once you’ve removed it, you may find it’s more likely to lay flat, especially after applying some styling product (gel, pomade, or clay) afterward. 

Related Reading:

How To Flatten Puffy Side Hair That Sticks Out

How To Flatten Hair The Hair On Top

How To Get Rid Of Puffy Hair

4. Get a Down Perm Treatment  

If you do not want to fight with your hair daily to make it flat, you can get it chemically treated. Look into barbershops or salons where you can get a down perm. 

Although some DIY products could do the job for you, it’s usually best to get it done professionally at first – at least for the first couple of tries. 

You want to ensure it’s being done properly and safely by someone who knows what they’re doing – chemical treatments shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

This treatment will affect your hair similarly to using a flat iron. The perm will force the hair to lay down instead of standing up, and it is less temporary than using a flat iron. This treatment is also doable on hair that is too short to flat iron. 

For this method, you will need to have the treatment done every time you get a haircut. It can be a little expensive, but some men prefer it to devote extra time and effort to the other techniques listed here. 

5. Get a Different Short Haircut  

Finally, trying a different short haircut might be enough to get your hair to stop standing up and make it lay flat. If your hairstyle has many layers, and it is thick, this could be why it wants to stand up. 

Discuss your options with your barber, who may have suggestions for styles you have not considered. 

They’ll be able to analyze how your hair prefers to naturally fall and use that to your advantage. For instance, they may find that a side part or side-swept style may work better for you than a crew cut when it comes to stopping short hair from standing up. 

It’s worth a discussion with your barber or stylist – once you find one that works for you, it can be something you come back to repeatedly. 

6. A Smoothening Pre-Styler

Smoothening pre-stylers are an effective way to stop hair from standing up when cut short. It preps the hair for styling and provides a smooth base for the styling product you apply afterward.

It’s typically applied to damp hair before low-drying or styling. It can help smooth out any bumps or kinks in the hair, producing a sleeker, more polished, and flatter look.

They’re also great for protecting hair from heat damage and making the hair more manageable in general.

It’s a simple addition to a grooming routine but can lead to pretty far-reaching effects.

7. Blow Dry Downward With A Brush

Blow drying short hair with a round brush is an effective way to smooth out the hair and prevent it from standing up when cut short. The brush pulls the hair downward, leading to a flatter and less spiky overall appearance.

Start by washing the hair and towel-drying it until it’s damp. Then, section your hair and use a round brush to pull each section downwards while blow-drying.

Use a low heat setting and avoid bringing the nozzle too close to the hair.

Overall, this smooths the hair and prevents it from standing up.


It’s unlikely that all of these will work for you. But there’s a good chance that at least one of them will. 

If you find any of them interesting, give it a go, and you may be pleasantly surprised.