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Last year witnessed the rise of “blokecore,” a fashion style that embraced the influence of soccer (or “football”), popularized, like everything else these days, by Gen-Z on TikTok. This was no surprise really, whenever a World Cup year rolls around, the fashion and soccer worlds always tend to merge closer together. Characterized by vintage football jerseys, baggy or straight leg jeans, and Adidas trainers, this trend essentially emulated the average “bloke” gearing up for a pub visit on game day. The trend continues to thrive in 2023, as evident from the soaring sales of classics like Adidas Samba and Gazelle sneakers, but a new phenomenon within soccer culture has taken center field: soccer hair.
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Unlike American football and lacrosse with their helmets, or baseball with its caps, soccer players grace the field bareheaded, turning the pitch into a bounty of hair inspiration. From Kane’s classic cuts to Neymar’s audacious flairs, Beckham’s versatility to Bales’ rebellious styles, soccer stars have transcended their status as mere athletic icons and emerged as the ultimate trendsetters in the realm of hairstyling.
Abroad, hair trends like these are already commonplace.. For devoted footballers, emulating the hairstyles of their idols has long been a rite of passage. This year has witnessed a remarkable surge in participation across America, with enthusiasts flocking to salons and barbershops, eager to replicate the cuts of their favorite players.
Not all soccer stars have looks worth emulating though. Those seeking a classic soccer-inspired head, turn to players like Jack Grealish or Harry Kane. Grealish needs no introduction to avid followers of soccer hair. His slicked-back undercut, with the top left longer for a modern twist, embodies a long-standing classic hairstyle of soccer stars. A medium-hold styling product like Patricks’ M2 Matte Finish, will be key to create the style that Grealish is always sporting.
To achieve Harry Kane’s swept-back appearance, New England-based hairstylist Michaela Lindsey suggests asking for a simple scissor cut, natural and short at the back and sides with more length at the top to allow for a graceful sweep of the hair. A styling paste like Kevin Murphy’s FREE.HOLD will be helpful to mimic Kane’s slicked back style.
On a more follicularly daring scale, Gareth Bale and Neymar serve as an inspiration. Bale, renowned for his fearless (reckless?) approach to hairstyles, has become iconic within the soccer stock. His signature man bun, although requiring sufficient length to begin with—shoulders or longer—has influenced countless fans worldwide. Lindsey suggests getting regular trims to keep your hair looking healthy before going in for the undercut, starting at the base of the neck and stopping just above the ears, finishing at the temples. Apply hair cream like Billy Jealousy’s Headlock Molding Cream before sweeping the locks into a bun, for a longer hold.
Hailing from Brazil, Neymar possesses both jaw-dropping skills, and awe-inspiring manes, with the “Neymar Mohawk” being the player’s most famous look. By cutting the hair on the sides of his head very short, but not shaving it completely, he allows his remaining hair to stand up about two inches long—the perfect way to make an edgy statement. To emulate his style even further, mimic his blonde look by bleaching your own strands, just be sure to use a purple shampoo like Shimmer Lights to avoid brassiness.
It would be remiss not to count the iconic figures who have left their mark on the pitch, but also on heads worldwide—Beckham, Ronaldo, Messi. These players have inspired hairstyles for decades, and continue to serve as a source of inspiration today. Beckham’s chameleon-like approach to hair has made him a trailblazer, effortlessly transitioning from a clean-cut gentleman to rugged trendsetter. Messi has showcased a range of hairstyles, from beach blonde locks to relaxed side-swept styles, reflecting a laid-back aesthetic. Ronaldo’s ever-evolving hairstyles, from slicked-back to meticulously sculpted faux hawk, have always exuded confidence and charm.
As 2023 progresses, we expect to see the soccer hair trend going strong. Stay ahead of the game and bring a photo of your favorite player to your next cut.
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