How to Cover Up a Bad Haircut: 9 Tips

Modded featured image of a distressed man with a buzz cut

As an Amazon Associate, Modded gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Snip, snip — uh oh. Whether you went to a new barber or tried cutting your hair at home, sometimes haircuts go wrong. If you’re staring into the mirror with mortification, it’s time to take a different approach. Learning how to cover up a bad haircut is essential for fixing your appearance and looking your best. 

So, how do you cover up a bad haircut? You can get a shorter do, experiment with a fade, turn it into a design or even go with a messier look. You don’t have to wait for your hair to grow out again to look good. Let’s explore your options with this guide for men to fix a bad haircut.

1. Choose a Shorter Do

When you have a messed up haircut, you can spice it up by choosing a shorter style. This strategy removes mistakes until they’re nothing more than a memory! Shorter hairdos work well if you get a terrible haircut with longer hair. Bring a few photos to your next barbershop appointment to avoid future issues so the stylist knows what you want. With the proper guidance, your barber could turn you into George Clooney or Ryan Gosling. 

Remember that it’s always best to go to a professional unless you have an expert hairdresser living with you at home. Having a partner, sibling or roommate who can cut hair is how to deal with a bad haircut easily, but not everyone is that lucky.

2. Get a Fade

A man getting a fade at a barber
Image Source: Eye Speak

A fade can save most bad haircuts because it helps to even out unnatural layers and textures. You don’t want a taper cut in this situation because it gradually changes your hair length from the top to the bottom of your head. Instead, opt for a fade to allow the hair to get progressively shorter until it reaches your scalp. 

If your hair feels weighted and unnatural — but you don’t want a shorter cut — you can ask for a blend to remove heft and meld long hair into short hair.

Knowing the difference between a taper and a fade is crucial when communicating with your barber about your hair’s expectations. You’ll want to use the correct terminology to describe your ideal look so they know what you want.

3. Turn It Into a Design

If you’re active on social media, you probably have noticed that intricate hair designs have become trendy for males and females. If you went in for a haircut and came out with a bald spot, why not make it look intentional? Having a barber create a custom design can disguise any prior choppiness. If anyone on the streets asks you about your hair, tell them you told the barber to cut it that way.

Geometric shapes are typically the easiest to create in hair, but experienced hairstylists may give you more detail. If you have a specific look in mind, you can bring in photographs. However, some barbers may only do original designs. Stick with what the barber is best at to ensure your hair looks as good as it can be — especially if you need to groom before a job interview or another important life event. 

4. Embrace the Messy Look

It’s much easier to hide uneven texture when you embrace a messy hairstyle. Using clay or high-hold pomade, gently work the product through your hair. You should start in the back and move forward, paying special attention to your roots. Zac Efron, Ian Somerhalder and Daniel Radcliff have all sported the messy look at some point in their careers, which has popularized the style.

If you are new to messy hairstyles, try playing with different techniques daily until you find one you like. When using this style to hide a hair mistake, cover the problem areas while diverting attention to another part of your face. You can’t guarantee you’ll look like a 2000s actor or a punk band leader. Still, the messy hairstyle is worth embracing if you’re wondering how to fix a bad haircut for men. 

5. Use Products

The right hair care products can be a man’s best friend — without barking and fur shedding. Just as you can fine-tune a car to keep it in tip-top shape, you can use products to keep your hair looking its best. 

If you’re wondering how to cover up a bad haircut, the answer is simple — hair products can fix it like Bob the Builder. There’s a product to correct most common hair problems, so if your style isn’t wow-worthy, you can take matters into your own hands. 

For instance, gel, pomade, or grooming paste should be considered because they add volume to your hair. Who knows — maybe you’ll find a brand-new style you like even more. Applying hair products is what to do if you have a terrible haircut and need a quick fix without scissors.

6. Shave It All

A confident man with a shaved head and sunglasses
Image Source: allPhoto Bangkok

Think of your bad haircut as a chance at a fresh start. Shaving all of your hair off may seem drastic, but it will allow you to try a new look. Plus, if you ever use dye, your new-grown hair will have a blank slate. Shaving your head is how to cover up a bad haircut if you don’t think there’s any hope left for your current style. Did the barber mess up really badly? Grab the razor and get to work.

Out of all the tips to try, this is one of the few that you could quickly complete yourself at home with clippers and a razor. Before shaving, ensure you have the right guard to determine your thickness.

Then, maintain your scalp by applying aftershave and moisture, considering how dry your skin may get. For instance, aftershave will soothe your skin by mitigating the itches and swelling while healing cuts. 

7. Wear a Hat

A young man in a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
Image Source: Ivana Cajina

If you’re not in love with your hair, it may be best to cover it up — like with a hat. Now, you have the perfect excuse to expand your hat collection and support your favorite teams. If you want to get stylish, you can try pairing hats to match your outfits. Everyone will be so impressed with how good you look that they’ll forget to ask why you’re wearing a hat.

Hat newbies may want to start with classic baseball caps because they’re popular, widely available and look good on men of all ages. Besides, who doesn’t want to wear the same hats as Ted Williams, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays? Honor these legends and cover up your terrible haircut with old ballcaps. 

These hats are easy to wear year-round —- especially when the sun shines and you need protection — but you may want to find something nicer. While it has a reputation, fedoras are stylish enough to cover a bad haircut. Panama, porkpie and trilby hats are also worth considering if you’re contemplating how to fix a bad haircut with a hat.

8. Try Accessories

While hats are a conventional option, don’t rule out the other accessories you can put in your hair to cover up a bad haircut. For example, say your hair has bad layers you want to make less viewable. Use headbands or bobby pins to put up your hair and make the mishaps less obvious.

These ideas for fixing a bad haircut are for men with longer hair, but the short-haired guys also have hope. For instance, bandanas are practical fixes for your terrible haircut because they cover your head and are stylish. Plus, bandanas keep hair out of your face and prevent sweat from getting into your eyes. Headbands achieve the same goal and are great for athletic wear. 

9. Wait It Out

Sometimes, your only option is to practice patience and wait for your hair to grow. On average, you can expect four to six inches of growth each year.

To help your hair grow quickly, you can:

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Take care of your health.
  • Avoid styling your hair with heat.
  • Use products designed for your hair type.
  • Visit the barber for regular trims.

Ultimately, you’ll need to use common sense while waiting for your hair to grow — so avoid bleach and other harsh chemicals.

How to Cover up a Bad Haircut: Your Complete Guide

Looking in the mirror and seeing a messed-up haircut can make your day a bummer. However, it’s not the end of the world. You can use many strategies for men wondering how to deal with a bad haircut. These nine tips are excellent for covering up your lousy hairdo and regaining confidence. 

Originally posted Mar 17, 2021 – Updated Mar 6, 2024

Stay up to date with the latest by subscribing to Modded Minute.