Get the Buzz

Get the Buzz

From its military beginnings to earning its status as an emblem of punk, the buzz cut is the ultimate symbol of hair rebellion

the roots

The buzz cut was first introduced as a uniform military haircut in America in the late 1930s during the Second World War. U.S army recruits were required to wear their hair in a ‘high and tight’ style to prevent the spread of lice and to project an authoritative stance. When rock ‘n’ roll crooner Elvis Presley was drafted into the army in 1958 his trademark quiff hairdo was clipped into a functional buzz cut sparking a media frenzy. Throughout the 1970s the buzz cut became the symbol of punk rebellion with Sex Pistols bass guitarist Sid Vicious sporting a close-cut style and Siouxsie Sioux pairing hers with slicked up devil horns.

style icons

Throughout the 80s and 90s the buzz cut remained popular as a hairstyle to represent the anti-establishment. Sinead O’Connor allegedly shaved off her hair in defiance of record executives who wanted her to her have hair long. Grace Jones’ gender blurring short back and sides and Annie Lennox’s flame haired ‘do have both gave credence to the buzz cut as the choice of empowered women. At the tail end of the 90s the hairstyle made its comeback for men, with both David Beckham and Brad Pitt ditching the curtains in favour of a smarter, more manageable style.   


modern muses

Today’s modern muses have adopted buzz cuts as a relaxed, low maintenance style. Stars such as Nick Jonas and Robert Pattinson have both buzzed off their naturally curly tresses, while American model Amber Rose’s eye-popping bleached peroxide cut has become her trademark. Pop-star Jessie J has also adopted the bleached buzz after lopping off her long jet black locks for charity in 2013. Model of the moment Ruth Bell reached for the clippers to land the part in a McQueen campaign sparking an industry wide 'buzzed hair, don't care' revolution.

get the look

Giles’ AW16 London Fashion Week showcase saw shorn styles offsetting voluminous silhouettes while House of Holland’s SS17 menswear catwalk show payed homage to the halcyon days of 90s Manchester with models sporting gritty buzz cuts. Optimise your buzz cut with a spritz of label.m Shine Spray, £12.25, to give hair a glossy finish. Protect the scalp against UV ray by applying label.m Scalp Tonic, £10.95, enriched with antioxidants for keep hair looking and feeling healthy.   

  • Words: Rebecca Parker

  • Banner Photography: Mark Cant for TONI&GUY Magazine Issue 32