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Flat Top Hair Cuts

Updated on August 23, 2017

The World of the Flat Top Hair Cut

From who else but, me, ClipperGuy! Have a look around this page. There is a TON of great Flat Top hair cut stuff here. Not surprised to see my later ego Buzz here at the top of the page either are you.

I love Flat Top hair cuts


They NEVER go out of style. They might rise and fall in popularity... But the hard core Flat Top guys will ALWAYS be out there flying the flag, slapping on the wax for their favorite clipper cut.

Read on and learn about this classic American hair cut.

The Flat Top

The top must be flat. That covers a lot. After that there can be a lot of variation as we will see below. The sides have a very vertical look. In some cases the sides can tip in past vertical. This is called tumblehome and ia just one variation we will share later.

Flat top hair cuts are frequently associated with men military service. Their popularity extends well beyond men in uniform. They even show up on women.

The clipper is an essential tool for creating a flat top. Some of the best classic barbers can actually cut one with a scissors, but the most popular way is with a clipper.

The flat top is all about where the sides meet the top. The flat top is all about that corner. If you cut off the corner it is hard to have a flat top.

Below we will explore different kinds of flat tops and what makes them unique… and universally AWESOME!

There are many different Flat Tops - We will explore a bunch here

  • The Classic Flat Top
  • The Military Flat Top
  • The Tumblehome Flat Top
  • The Horseshoe Flat Top
  • The 57 Chevy Flat Top
  • The lady Flat Top
  • The 80'2 High Top Box Cut Flat Top
  • The Flat Top / Mullet Combo

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The Classic Flat Top

Vertical sides and a flat top coming together at a strong corner are what make a flat top a flat top. A classic flat top would have the sides tapered to a #2 blade at the widest point of the head and a natural tapered neckline and sides. The top on a classic flat top would be long enough to provide full scalp coverage. The shortest hair at the apex (highest point) of the head would be the same #2 (1/4") as the top of the taper at the sides.

How to cut a classic Flat Top - Here is one of my videos

Awesome Flat Top demo! I have to get me one!

The Military Flat Top

The classic flat top general conforms to military hair cut specifications. Different branches of the U.S. Military have slight variations in their dress code as it relates to hair cuts.

Nothing looks better on a soldier in uniform than a crisp, clean, high and tight flat top. The biggest difference that distinguishes a flat top as military is that the military one will have the sides shorter… to the point of being skinned down to nothing. Many cutters use a straight razor and shave cream to get the sides as short as the guys want.

The Tumblehome Flat Top

Tumblehome is a naval ship building term that refers to the tipping in towards the center of the sides of a ship as you move from the waterline to the top. The term is also used in automotive and train design.

The tumblehome flat top is the look in which the sides tip in past vertical. The top corner is not a 90 degree intersection. The top is still flat and the silhouette is still strong and masculine. Many times a a shop manager I would have to take a classic flat top to a tumblehome look when called upon to fix a goofed flat top by another hair cutter.

Want to cut a Flat Top? - You need a Good clipper

Andis makes the best. have a look here

Got to get a Flattopper... - Rock some flattops with this classic falttop tool...

Get YOUR Flattopper here - Lowest prices on the web for classic Brian Drumm Flattoppers

Insist on the original Falttopper.

The Horse Shoe Flat Top

This is the shortest of the flat tops. This flat top is actually too short to comply with true military specifications.

The sides are skinned short and tip in at the top with a strong degree of tumblehome. The top is super short to the point where the top dead center apex point is skinned down to nothing, as short as the sides. This barren top is referred to as a landing strip. The landing strip is so known since the spot looks like an empty airfield carved out of the surrounding foliage where one could land a plane.

The horseshoe name comes from the fact that when this cut is complete the only hair remaining on the head is a curve of hair at the very top of the head from ear to ear across the front. When viewed from above this arc of hair resembles a horse shoe shape.

The '57 Chevy

The Flat Top with fenders

This is a classic greaser look from the late 50's. The top is flat. The sides are left longer and laid back with pomade or heavy grease or gel. The sides do not have to really blend well. The layback of the sides helps to create the squarer silhouette when viewed from the front. The wearer of a '57 Chevy would always have a comb in his back pocket and a greasy stain on his jeans from the goo on his comb.

The lady Flat Top

The flat top on a woman can be a striking and powerful look. Grace Jones wore it well. Bridjette Nielson did it justice in Rocky III. Today it remains a popular hair cut on many African American women with textured hair. On a statuesque blonde it is an instant attention getter in any crowd. Frequently the ladies will leave a bit of front fringe, some pieciness at the temples or a bit of shaggy at the neck. it is still a flat top... Just with a few softer variations for the ladies.

The 1980's High Top Box Flat Top

Arsenio Hall, at the peak of his talk show run, was the poster boy for the high top box cut on textured hair. This is a flat top with a full rear corner. The strong corner found at the sides carries all the way around through the back to the other side. This is a great hair cut with the right head and facial shape. I am just not so sure Arsenio was the guy to wear it well. He wore it. He was famous for it.

Edge 'em up - You will need a good trimmer, too

Andis leads the industry for professional and home use

The Flat Top / Mullet Combo

The most famous one if these has got to be Billy Ray Cyrus' legendary Achy Breaky Heart flat top from the early 1990s. This was quite a mullet look. It did not catch on as a mainstream hair style but was a feature element of Cyrus' look and overall persona that was so much of the cultural phenomenon that was Achy Breaky. The top was gelled and styled up like any good flat top should be. The back was extremely long. The sides at the back of the ear were not truly blended as in a traditional mullet. The extreme length of the back made this nearly impossible for even a true south of the mason Dixon line mullet cutter.

Now that you know... - ... Pick a favorite Flat Top

Which Flat Top is your favorite?

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The Flat Top - What do you think

Is the Flat Top a viable hair style today or is it just a blast from the past?

To style that top up you will need a blow dryer - Get one here

Andis makes great blow dryers.

Straight talk about Flat Tops - Please add your comments

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Clipperguy: To Clipperguy.

      I know Bessel and his wife. Don't expect pictures, he is funny that way.

      But his wife is cute like hell ! No kidding ! And she wears that flat haircut well. Always with dangling ear hangers and perfect make-up !

      She is an attention getter, alright !

      I wish my wife would get a haircut like that....

      Karel May

    • Clipperguy profile image

      Clipperguy 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Great story. Do you have pics? before and after? I would love to blog this story. Shoot me an email to discuss. TY Ivan

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I got a flat top at 40 I am a female, I really like it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My wife wears a flattop haircut. No softening, by some fringes here or there, but an old time perfectly flat top, the sides and back no more than a quarter inch.

      She wanted to get married so badly, whereas I was in no hurry.

      So I made a deal with her: get a flat top haircut and I'll marry you right away.

      We went to the barber shop that week and were married within a month!

      She is a very feminine petite woman, nothing will ever make her look like a man.

      She looks fabulous and more sexy than ever before! I take her to the ba=rber shop every two weeks to keep it nice and sharp looking.

      I love her dearly.

      Bessel Cole