The key to creating a successful messy bedhead look is a combination of the right haircut and a few styling tricks. A multi-layered haircut helps guys to get natural tousled volume that does not look over-styled or loaded with product. Layered cuts are effective on both straight and wavy hair. Choppy layers make styling a messy bedhead easy because the hair tends to sit up naturally when it has been cut this way. Just five minutes in the morning should be enough to get this modern classic style looking effortlessly perfect.
Multi-layered cuts, such as shag cuts, are a good basis for a messy bedhead style. Popular with men who want a little more length with an overall short style, any barber or hairstylist should be able to cut a basic version of this. Shag haircuts concentrate shorter layers around the crown but modern variations lack the distinctive longer back of the original 1970s style. Request longer layers at the front with a short back for an up-to-date look.
Feathering is a cutting technique that gives the ends volume and a wispy look, often being used to blend in layers and give a lighter-weight tousled finished to the hair. Asking for a feathered cut will keep the overall look lightweight.
A rough blow-dry should be enough to fix a choppy layered cut into shape so that it falls in a messy but contained manner. Fine hair sits in place without the need for much product, but if it is too limp and lacking bounce, use a volumizing root spray before blow-drying. Coax thicker or wavy hair into shape with matte styling putty. Warm a dab between the fingertips before applying it to the ends only, arranging pieces of hair as you smooth a little product onto the tips. This adds texture and creates a mussed up finish with light hold, rather than the classic spiky waxed look.
Washing hair daily is essential for a successful messy bedhead look. Clean hair has a natural lift and fluffiness that helps this style to work. It is also important that bedhead hair looks tactile rather than unkempt and suspiciously greasy. If you have overloaded hair with products, try applying a dry shampoo at the roots. Leave this on for a few seconds to give it time to soak up excess oil or product before brushing out. This gives an instant clean look as well as lift and texture to a flat bedhead.
Highlights and lowlights are often added to bring out layered texture, which shows up when hair is ruffled. One or two bright tones at the ends of the hair pick out the layers, while leaving the roots a natural color gives depth. This works well with layered cuts by highlighting strands and bringing out the messy structure of the haircut.
Use matte hairstyling products, such as putty, rather than classic wax or wet-look gel. While these traditional products offer hold, they are also highly visible and often give a glossy shine, which counteracts the naturally fluffed up appearance of a bedhead hairstyle.
References and ResourcesHudson's FTM Resource Guide: Men's Short Haircuts and the Barber Shop
"The Sunday Times"; Dry Shampoos Do the Dirty Work for Hair; Joanna McGarry; March 2008
Cool Men's Hair; How to Cut a Shag Haircut; December 2009