The term quiff is a popular British term used to describe a lock of hair that is typically brushed up and back off the forehead. These days the term quiff is used to describe a variety of haircuts in which the hair is brushed up and off of the forehead. The traditional quiff is generally part pompadour and part flattop, but can even include an undercut. Today, the term quiff is quite vague, so rather than asking your barber for a quiff haircut, you would be better served to ask for a specific haircut that involves a quiff. These cuts include:

Quiff Haircut
Pump Up Your Style with The Quiff Haircut. Photo © Westend61.

The Pompadour

The pompadour is a longer variation of the classic taper in which the hair is brushed up and back off the forehead using pomade or wax. This style is quite popular today but was put on the map by young rebels in the 1950’s such as Elvis Pressley and James Dean. This is the most common men’s quiff-style haircut.

The Ivy League

The ivy league haircut is typically a very short clipper cut.

For the ivy league, the hair is tapered aggressively short on the sides and back. The back is buzzed high up over the crown and gradually gets longer at the front. The bangs are generally worn up in a short quiff haircut.

The Classic Taper

For the classic taper, the sides and back are tapered fairly short with scissors or clippers around the ears, and also at the nape of the neck, and gradually gets significantly longer at the top. The emphasis on the classic taper is clean blending — there should be no lines of demarcation or disconnection. For the quiff version of this haircut, the front is worn brushed up and back off the forehead. A styling product with some shine is typically used, but a matte finish product can be used for a more casual look.

The Contemporary Mens Quiff Haircut

The contemporary quiff is generally a more aggressive variation on one of the styles above. The hair on the sides and back can be faded skin-tight and even taken high up the sides and back with a disconnection between the sides and top. For all quiff styles, traditional or contemporary, the hair is brushed up and back off the forehead to create height.

To style a quiff haircut, you’ll want to start with your hair only slightly damp (towel dried). To begin, apply a light spray gel (American Crew Spray Gel works very well). Blow-dry your hair on the highest heat setting with low air flow. Use a metal or ceramic vent brush to blow the hair up and back. Aim the airflow at the back of the vent brush which will heat up the brush and provide an ironing effect. Make sure not to hold the blow dryer too close to the brush to prevent it from becoming too hot. The key here is to get the hair as tall as possible (don’t worry, we’ll bring it down a bit when we apply the final styling product).

After your hair is completely dry and as high as possible, you’ll want to apply a pomade or styling paste (I love the 18.21 Man-Made Pomade and Paste for this), working from the roots to the ends to create height. Use your fingers to manipulate the hair until you get the desired effect. For finer hair, I recommend going with a lighter product such as Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray (sea salt-infused spray which can create volume in finer hair. To keep the hair in place, finish with a good hairspray such as Bed Head Hard Head from TIGI.

The quiff can be a little work to achieve, but it can be an amazing style. Just remember, the best quiffs haircuts are more casual, so try not to go too neat with the styling.

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