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How to Get a Side Sweep Haircut

How to Get a Side Sweep Haircut

The side sweep is one of the most popular haircuts, thanks to Ryan Gosling, David Beckham and Di Caprio. Here, we show you how to pull off this stylish short cut.

Neither a side parting nor a slick back, it’s the cut of the moment. <!--more-->

Some haircuts, like the undercut or the mop-top, exude a sense of creativity in the wearer. Others indicate shiftiness — nothing makes you feel quite as uneasy as a man with a Gordon Gekko slick back.

The side sweep was first popularised by American college boys in the Fifties and more recently reinvigorated by Mad Men, it’s the latest hairdo to find itself atop the heads of the great and good.

Somewhere between a close-cropped quiff and a slick- down side parting, the style is neat without seeming formal and elegant without looking try-hard. The hair should be swept to the right, the parting relaxed and undefined and all loose hair brushed back behind the ears.

With exponents including David Beckham, Ryan Gosling and, ahem, David Cameron, it’s a cut which speaks of self-assurance and style nous. Here’s how to get it:

David Beckham (above)
As you’d expect, Beckham’s got the look spot on. The hair on top is long enough to slick back without looking greasy, and the sides are short enough to keep it looking tidy.


Leonardo DiCaprio
Super-slick and ideal for square faces, Leo’s style is longer than the others. Use minimal product to prevent this look going stringy.


Ryan Gosling
First he nails red carpet style, then he aces red carpet hair. This look has a more defined parting: achieved with a comb and a steady hand.


David Cameron
Taken straight from the scalp of Don Draper, Cameron’s look is carefully sculpted and swept back into a prime ministerial quiff.


The tools you’ll need, by Savile Row barber Brent Pankhurst

01. Horn comb by Murdock, £20
“The most important thing to remember is that this cut must be perfectly square through the sides, beautifully graduated and expertly combed.”

02. Kengo Feather by Shu Uemura, £22
“If your hair is thick, wear it much shorter (think Montgomery Clift) and control it with moulding cream. This cut doesn’t suit  curly hair.”

03. Pankhurst styling conditioner, £15
“For a slicker look, keep it longer on top. Wax will make it look stringy and gel won’t hold, so use a styling conditioner to keep it looking smooth.”

04. Quattro Titanium Freestyle by Wilkinson Sword, £7
“Have the cut cleaned up every month. Give your neck a once-over with a razor, but don’t let this style get baggy over the ears.”